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University of Cincinnati 2012 Faculty Award Winners

Distinguished Teaching Professor

►Marc M. Cahay
Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering
College of Engineering and Applied Science

By Thomas Curtis

Marc Cahay, PhD, is a dedicated and highly professional pedagogue who demonstrates that excellent teaching takes place not only in the classroom, but also in a variety of other venues. 

His engaging teaching method uses timely quizzes to gauge the students' grasp of materials on a continuous basis, and he often begins classes with a series of four problems that students work out on the board. He has graduated 25 Master's and eight PhD students and served on the thesis committees of 108 students, contributing directly and indirectly to the learning of many undergraduate and graduate students worldwide.

Co-author of Introduction to Spintronics – a textbook and software package explaining the quantum mechanics concept of spin in solid-state systems, Cahay has had significant influence on his peers and researchers in industry, academia, and government labs. He has published 124 papers in archival journals.

He was elected a fellow of the UC Graduate School (2001), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (2007) and the Electrochemical Society (2007). He has consistently received teaching awards for excellence, including the Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Professor of the Year Award (2002 and 2009) from his department, and most recently, the Master Educator Award (2009) from the College of Engineering and Applied Science.


Distinguished Research Professor

►Joseph A. Caruso
Professor, Chemistry
McMicken College of Arts & Sciences

By Tom Robinette

For someone whose research deals with tiny molecules, Joseph Caruso, PhD, has produced huge results – in both scope and quantity. A longtime chemistry professor, Caruso has an international reputation as a leading scientist in atomic spectroscopy. He's also considered a pioneer in the new science of metallomics.

As groundbreaking as his research has been, the prolific nature of his work is equally impressive. He has been published more than 400 times, and ISI Web of Science shows more than 9,200 citations attributed to his work as of September 2011. He has traveled the world to give more than 350 invited lectures.

Numerous accolades have accompanied his career. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society, the Society for Applied Spectroscopy and the Royal Society of Chemistry. He was presented  with UC's Rieveschl Award for Distinguished Scientific Research in 2007.

Beyond his work in the lab, Caruso has established himself as a respected administrator, having served as head of the chemistry department and dean of the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences. As one colleague put it, he has shown that scientific merit and leadership can be perfectly combined with a charming and helpful character.


George Rieveschl Jr. Award for Creative and/or Scholarly Works

►Bonnie S. Fisher
Professor, Criminal Justice
College of  Education, Criminal Justice & Services

By M.B. Reilly

Professor of Criminal Justice Bonnie Fisher's research is not about justice. It is justice.

She is purpose driven in conducting national and international research on violence against women, from domestic violence to sexual assault. Measuring such crimes is inordinately difficult, but Dr. Fisher's commitment to careful measurement and quantitative rigor has produced the most respected estimates on the extent, nature and causes of these crimes. In fact, her data sets are considered major achievements in the field of criminology.  

A scholar of true consequence, she is the author of over 150 highly cited, even award-winning research publications and regularly contributes her services to the Department of Justice, the Centers for Disease Control and the National Academy of Sciences.

Medical practitioners, social workers and psychologists use her work to screen for domestic violence and sexual assault. Educators use her work to develop crime- and violence-prevention and intervention programs. Fisher is, in fact, the foremost national scholar on the topic of campus crime, and her work has served as the foundation for crime-prevention programs implemented on college campuses today.

At UC, she assumed a leadership role in developing a major specialization in crime prevention. This specialization uses science to develop practical strategies for reducing victimization opportunities, including workplace violence, crimes against the elderly, cybercrimes and more.


Emerging Entrepreneurial Achievement Award

►W. Keith Jones
Professor, Pharmacology & Cell Biophysics
College of Medicine

By Katie Pence

Keith Jones, PhD, professor and vice chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Cell Biophysics, decided to become a scientist at age 8.

No one in his family had ever been to college, and his father, a high school graduate, had to work from age 12 to support the family after Jones' grandfather died. Jones' father worked for the railroad and brought home books from damaged shipments, many of which were science books. Jones pored over them, finding them fascinating. This fueled the fire for his love of science, and he "never looked back."

Jones received his doctorate degree in biological sciences and genetics from the University of Kentucky in 1987 and underwent postdoctoral training at UCLA and the University of Cincinnati. He then started his independently-funded research career at the University of Louisville, returning to UC as a faculty member in 2000.

Jones' research focuses on the molecular basis of cardiac cell death. Recently, his team discovered that pathways, stimulated by activation of pain receptors in a region of the abdominal skin, are able to mediate protection against cell death during heart attack. This discovery has led to clinical trials and could help patients within the next several years.

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Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching

►Kenneth R. King
Associate Professor-Educator, Psychology
McMicken College of Arts & Sciences

By Tom Robinette

It’s safe to say Kenneth King has a thing for brains. As associate professor educator of psychology, among the many classes he teaches are “Brain Development,” “Broken Brains” and “Brain on Drugs.” An expert in psychobiology and neuroscience, he teaches students at undergraduate and graduate levels, and employs a variety of formats – even pioneering online instruction at the University of Cincinnati more than a decade ago.

King had a productive career in the health care industry and taught at three colleges before joining UC in 1999. He is a frequent speaker to Learning Communities and freshmen exploratory groups. His honors include a university diversity award in 2005 and the 2011 “Best Faculty Advisor” award for his efforts with Psych Club.

So it’s obvious he has the mind to be an excellent teacher – but he also has the heart. He’s renowned among his students for his engaging lectures and picking just the right spots for one of his “famous stories.” He will adapt to the ability of his students, believing, as one student put it, that anyone sufficiently motivated is sufficiently capable. He’s especially well-regarded for his willingness to offer counsel outside the classroom, on scholarly matters and life in general.


Faculty Award for Exemplary Contributions in University Service

►Adrianne J. Lane
Executive Director, Undergraduate Programs
Professor, College of Nursing

By Angela Koenig

Where does the time go? It's not a question that anyone who knows UC College of Nursing Professor Adrianne J. Lane, EdD, would have difficulty answering. "One might truly wonder whether she has managed to clone herself," a colleague says of Lane receiving the 2012 Faculty Award for Exemplary Contributions in Service to the University of Cincinnati. But there is only one Lane and the honor is hers--and hers alone.

One of the most active faculty members at UC, Lane's outreach stretches far and wide: She is the executive director of undergraduate education at the College of Nursing, teaches post master's courses in nurse education and health policy and serves on the UC Faculty Senate Cabinet and represents the senate on numerous university committees including the Academic Coordinating Committee and the Semester Conversion Steering Committee. She is also the director of a nurse-managed free clinic in Southeastern Indiana, which she co-founded in 2004, and continues to provide patient care there as well.

Add to Lane's schedule the time to conduct research and write numerous published academic works in her nearly 20 years at UC and … hmm, you just might think she's able to be in two places at once! 

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Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award

►Drew C. McAvoy
Adjunct Associate Professor, Environmental Engineering
College of Engineering & Applied Science

By Thomas Curtis

Described by numerous environmental engineering students as a passionate educator whose experience in industry informs his teaching, adjunct associate professor Drew McAvoy is highly regarded as both an excellent instructor and career adviser who is readily accessible outside class.

His breadth of knowledge and flexibility in teaching methods are strong traits which enable him to develop interactive communication so effective that one class participant characterized it as " . . . his genuine ability to understand if and how much we are actually absorbing in his class." McAvoy's highly successful interactive skills derive from his concern for the intellectual growth of his students.

Having worked for over 20 years in environmental science at Procter & Gamble, McAvoy is regarded as a demanding yet fair instructor who challenges his students to give their best. Students cite his communication abilitypresenting complex subjects in a manner that is easily understood through a rich mix of theory, fundamentals and practical aspectsas an exceptional trait that sets him apart.

Commenting on McAvoy's ability to interest others in course material, one student said, "I think the biggest identifier for how well he conducted class was that many days we ran over our allotted time and everyone would stay to finish the discussion."


Mrs. A.B. "Dolly" Cohen Awards for Excellence in Teaching

►Laura R. Micciche
Associate Professor, Composition & Rhetoric; Director, Composition
McMicken College of Arts & Sciences

By Tom Robinette

As a professor of writing, you must be a master of words. Here are a few such descriptors that students and faculty have used to characterize Laura Micciche: approachable, engaging and innovative; inspirational, exemplary and amazing.

In her role as director of the composition program, Micciche oversees approximately 3,500 students in more than 150 sections per quarter. She developed the "Critical Writing in English Studies" course, which is among the most popular graduate-level offerings, and contributed to the English and comparative literature department's new undergraduate major track in rhetoric and professional writing.

With students representing a sweeping spectrum of writing interests – poetry, fiction, composition, rhetoric, critical theory and beyond – Micciche designs courses that have broad appeal. Since joining the UC faculty in 2004, she has created four undergraduate courses, seven graduate courses and three independent studies.

Another word to describe Micciche not to be overlooked: compassionate. A former student described how Micciche's guidance helped her overcome panic-inducing writer's block. It is one of many examples of how Micciche demonstrates that good teaching should be more than just achievement-centered – it extends beyond the classroom to nurture students wherever they are along the academic path.


Innovative Uses of Technology in Teaching Award

►Instructional Technology Team
Winkle College of Pharmacy

By Angela Koenig

The tech guru of the 21st century, Steve Jobs, once said, "Great things in business are never done by one person, they are done by a team of people." It's a message that rings true in many endeavors, but it's one that is particularly applicable to the tech-minded team of four individuals from the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy who are receiving the 2012 "Innovative Uses of Technology" award: Interim Dean William Fant, PharmD; Bethanne Brown, PharmD, associate professor;  Shauna Buring, PharmD, interim assistant dean for academic affairs; and Peggy Barsan, registered pharmacist, adjunct assistant professor.

In 2011, through the installation of iPads and video equipment into the Pharmacy Practice Skills Development Lab, the team launched an entirely new way of giving immediate feedback to the approximately 200 PharmD and graduate students who rotate through the lab. In the past, students' lab evaluations were done by faculty the age-old way, by taking notes using pen and paper. But now, with iPads in hand, pharmacy faculty can evaluate a student's performance in real time via touch pad. Upon completion of the evaluation, students can log in to the program and see how they performed (video of the interaction is provided), and get immediate feedback.  

The team created and designed the evaluation tools for use in two lab modules: Dispensing Counseling, where students practice in a community pharmacy setting how to talk to patients, and Sterile Compounding, an institutional setting where students learn how to compound products for IV use.

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Outstanding Adjunct Award

►Rebecca Rebitski
Clinical Laboratory Instructor, Rehabilitation Sciences
College of Allied Health Sciences

By Katy Cosse

With decades of experience in the practice of physical therapy, Rebecca Rebitski, MEd, oversees the clinical evaluation of UC's doctorate of physical therapy students, guiding them through the curriculum and deepening their understanding of the material and its practice.

Rebecca "Becky" Rebitski worked 30 years as a physical therapist before finding her way to UC. Now she says that she belongs here with the students in the College of Allied Health Sciences' doctorate of physical therapy program.

As an adjunct clinical laboratory instructor, Rebitski works with students to translate their classroom learning to patient practice. She instructs them in performing physical assessments, details tips for specific interventions and evaluates their performance in one-on-one "skill checks."
These skills are what students will apply when working as therapists, and Rebitski says it is her goal to make them "excellent" at what they do.

Since joining UC in 2007, Rebitski's knowledge has already contributed to the department: Her insights have shaped student assessments and led to a greater integration of clinical simulations into the framework of several courses. She is a link to the real world of physical therapy from the classroom, always ready with an example from her clinical career to illustrate an abstract concept.
In an intense academic program, Rebitski serves several roles: that of teacher, mentor and "den mother." But most of all, say her students, Rebitski represents the kind of physical therapist they all hope to become.

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Rieveschl Award for Distinguished Scientific Research

►Arnold Schwartz
Distinguished University Professor and Director, Institute of Molecular Pharmacology and Biophysics
College of Medicine

By Keith Herrell

As a veteran actor (stage name Arnie Shayne), Schwartz would be a natural in the role of the beleaguered baseball manager in "Damn Yankees" belting out "You Gotta Have Heart." In real life, Schwartz's contributions to the understanding of the human heart far exceed the inspirational. The focus of his half-century of research, 35 years of it spent at UC, has been the heart--how it works, what goes wrong in heart failure and how an understanding of those mechanisms can lead to the development of new drugs.

Schwartz learned from the greats--including Nobel laureates Robert Furchgott and Jens Christian Skou and pioneering surgeon Michael DeBakey--and applied those lessons to his research. He was the first to clone and characterize a human heart channel and identify the sites for the receptors of digitalis and related drugs. His work on digitalis' mechanism of action led to the development of calcium channel blockers that are widely used to treat heart failure and hypertension.

In addition to his research, Schwartz has nurtured hundreds of graduate and medical students and young faculty. He is principal investigator for what has become, at 34 years, the longest-running continuing training grant supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

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George Barbour Award For Good Faculty-Student Relations

►Ric W. Sweeney
Assistant Professor-Educator, Marketing
Carl H. Lindner College of Business

By Judy Ashton

As part of his creative teaching style, Ric Sweeney relies heavily on anecdotes and reinforces marketing principles with real-world examples. So it's not unusual for Sweeney to snap a photo of a billboard, even if it means pulling over out of traffic to do so, to make a point about advertising.

Known for his engaging lectures and support as a mentor, Sweeney has shaped the lives of thousands of undergraduate students in the Carl H. Lindner College of Business over the past eight years – repeatedly earning top honors from the college for his teaching as well.

With his open-door policy, quick feedback and heart-felt consideration for putting students first, Sweeney makes it a priority to learn names – about 700 each term – and encourages students to get involved.

He supports and motivates students outside the classroom, too, by serving as faculty advisor to a large number of student organizations, including the UC Collegiate Chapter of the American Marketing Association, Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, Student Government Senate and Cabinet, and more. As a testament to his leadership, his students win awards and case competitions and land great jobs.

Many of his students remain in touch long after graduation. They continue to turn to him for career advice. In turn, he continues to inspire.


Faculty Award for Exemplary Contributions in Service to the University

►B.J. Zirger
Associate Dean, Online Education
Carl H. Lindner College of Business

By Judy Ashton

A thought leader in instructional technology, B.J. Zirger uses her extensive knowledge of business and technology to impact curriculum and advance countless initiatives across the university.

Commended for her innovative leadership and collaborative style, she works as a co-chair of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Academic Information Technology, serving in an instrumental role shaping UC's instructional technology needs as a way to transform teaching, learning and research.

No matter which academic frontier she tackles, Zirger has the ability to unite a team, create focus and move members forward to a desired outcome. Her contributions to several instructional technology endeavors (UC Forward, Live Well Collaborative, UC|21 Anytime Anywhere and the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning) have catapulted 21st century learning at UC.

"This recognition is well deserved," says Lindner College of Business Dean David M. Szymanski. "B.J. Zirger has willingly contributed her time, energy and expertise to making the University of Cincinnati and our college great. I am confident she will continue to expand her roles to further make a significant and long-lasting impact on our programs and our students."

Those who serve on committees with Zirger arrive at the same conclusion: She is dedicated and enterprising and truly makes UC a better place every single day.