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University of Cincinnati 2013 Faculty Award Winners

Emerging Entrepreneurial Achievement Award

Amit Bhattacharya
Professor, Environmental Health
College of Medicine

Amit Bhattacharya, PhD, is doing something about the staggering price of health care in the United States: He played a key role in developing a tool that could make a serious dent in the $20 billion in annual direct costs associated with osteoporosis, a disease that thins and weakens the bones to the point that they become fragile and break easily.

Bhattacharya, a professor in the department of environmental health’s division of environmental and occupational hygiene, teamed with Nelson Watts, MD, a UC College of Medicine faculty member until January 2012, to develop a technology called Bone Shock Absorbance, which uses small devices called accelerometers attached to the patient’s body to measure how energy from a heel strike is absorbed and dissipated through the musculoskeletal system.

This painless, non-invasive 10-minute test represents an advance over the current “gold standard” of predicting osteoporosis by using bone mineral density measured with X-ray technology, which is done while the patient is at rest and leads to inappropriate or insufficient treatments. Bhattacharya and Watts licensed the technology from UC and formed the company OsteoDynamics, Inc. with the goal of commercializing it. Toward that end, the company has secured more than $550,000 in financial support through grants and equity investments.

In November 2012, Bhattacharya was awarded a $40,000 grant through the UC Provost’s Pilot Research Program, one of four programs of the College of Medicine’s $1 million Discovery Acceleration Initiative. This award will help test technical and scientific enhancements of the technology.

George Rieveschl Jr. Award for Distinguished Scientific Research

George Deepe
Professor, Infectious Disease
College of Medicine

UC is known for excellence in research, and Dr. George Deepe has played a part in that reputation with his contributions to infectious diseases research. For over 30 years as a faculty member at UC, Deepe, who also served for 15 years as chief of the division of infectious diseases, has been a leading researcher and a world-recognized expert in the study of Histoplasma capsulatum, a pathogenic fungus that causes infection, particularly in the Ohio River Valley.

Deepe has received consistent federal and private funding for his research and has been recognized by national health organizations for his work and dedication, including the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ MERIT and Research Career Development awards. In addition to his outstanding research portfolio, Deepe is heavily involved in mentoring graduate students and currently serves as associate director of the UC Medical Scientist Training Program.

He excels in research, education and clinical care but is known among his colleagues and mentees as being a fun, intelligent and caring person — someone you can always come to with a problem. One of his nominators said it well: “George is well known in our academic community for his great sense of humor, deep literary background, unstinting loyalty and enormous generosity of spirit.”

Faculty Award for Exemplary Contributions in Service to the University

Marla I. Hall
Associate Professor, Psychology
McMicken College of Arts & Sciences

Marla Hall, PhD, takes service seriously, and her list of achievements proves that. For instance, as chair of the UC Faculty and Faculty Senate from 2008-10, Hall served on a range of university-wide committees, including the President’s Cabinet, the Diversity Council, and the Provostal Search Committee that originally brought President Santa Ono to the university. In addition, she was instrumental to the work of semester conversion and in assisting with oversight of the most recent university accreditation review.

As the founding interim director of the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, Hall was the defining architect, laying the foundation for UC’s ongoing support efforts enabling students to seek world-renowned and highly competitive scholarships and fellowships. Tellingly, when she transitioned out of that role to return to teaching, students continued to reach out to her for help in applying for prestigious awards.

In one case, a student working under a tight timeframe and from a great distance while studying abroad in Brazil, asked Hall for her assistance and even though it was no longer her responsibility, she gave generously of her time in guiding his application. She explains why: “To help students, especially those who struggle in some way or those striving to reach ever further, is a privilege. One person, each faculty member, can make a difference for our students and for the university.”

It is most fitting that Hall is the recipient of the 2013 Faculty Award for Exemplary Contributions in University Service. After all, in 2004 as a member of the Faculty Senate Human Relations Committee, she originated the idea for the award as a way to thank those faculty who, year after year, work passionately in serving the university.

Established Entrepreneurial Achievement Award

Jason Heikenfeld
Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering
College of Engineering & Applied Science

Dr. Jason Heikenfeld’s groundbreaking research and developments in the field of electrofluidics has garnered global acclaim. His zest for the multiple leadership roles he plays in supporting faculty and student endeavors at the University of Cincinnati is ever present and brightly shines through his teaching and research collaborations.

Heikenfeld is an internationally known expert and leader in display devices and electrowetting technology with his achievements reaching far beyond the realm of academia. His projects have corporate ties with U.S., European and Asian display companies, and he is the co-founder of his start-up venture, Gamma Dynamics.

Heikenfeld’s enthusiastic commitment to his field has led to an incredible record of funded research resulting in his ranking in the top five of UC faculty members for recent invention disclosures, patents filed and nondisclosure agreements with industry. The UC Novel Devices Laboratory has flourished under his direction, gaining substantial media attention for its innovation and breakthrough applications.

A colleague of Heikenfeld describes him as “…a rising leader in the field, whose impact will sustain and grow exponentially.”  His exemplary contributions to science are influencing research and developments of e-devices and promises to continue for many years to come.

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

Douglas Knehans
Norman Dinerstein Professor of Composition Scholar
College-Conservatory of Music

Composer Douglas Knehans, DMS, has been recognized for both the quality and the quantity of his artistic output. With a career that spans over three decades, Knehans writes music for a variety of media: from orchestra and opera to electronic, dance and vocal music. His compositions have been described as “wildly inventive” by the Miami Herald, “…exciting..” and “…beautiful..” by the Washington Post and “…effective…incisive… and hauntingly beautiful…” by Fanfare Magazine.

“Douglas is an extraordinarily accomplished and prolific composer,” says CCM Professor of Composition Joel Hoffman. “[He] has put together a catalog of work over the years that is remarkable in its breadth of media, its aesthetic reach and – most importantly – its consistent high quality.”

Recently, Knehans was honored as a special guest of the Premieres of the Season Festival in Kiev, Ukraine, where the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine presented the world premiere of his orchestral work ripple. This work has also been recorded for worldwide release on ERM Media’s “Masterworks of the New Era” series, distributed by the esteemed classical musical label Naxos.

“His music reveals the story of a composer who is not caught in his own good habits but keeps searching and changing,” observes Yinam Leef, Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance President and Professor of Composition. “It is therefore no surprise that this creative activity spreads over three continents. His music is regularly performed in the U.S., Australia and Europe and his recent composition prizes span from Oregon, U.S. to Athens, Greece.”

Innovative Uses of Technology in Teaching Award

Karen M. Lankisch
Professor, Business/Health Information Technology Business Division
UC Clermont College

Karen Lankisch, PhD, RHIA, is determined to unleash the power of technology as a teaching tool. Leveraging her research interests in emerging technology, online course design, and constructivist approaches to adult education, she developed the new Health Information Systems (HIS) program and Medical Terminology for Health Professions course.

Both are offered exclusively online to students nationwide across multiple majors. In her courses, Lankisch employs several technology tools, software, and web-based resources to teach the topic at hand. She deploys multiple technologies to present the core information for each course, enabling students to access the materials via the method that best suits their learning style. Likewise, she accepts assignments through several means, allowing class participants to use the software and tools that best suit their level of technological savvy.

Because online learning technologies are constantly evolving, Lankisch never teaches an online class the same way twice; preferring instead to evaluate her students’ experiences and feedback as the basis for selecting new tools that better deliver the materials. It is her goal to ensure that technology serves only as a teaching tool, while simultaneously helping each student feel connected both to instructor and to cyber classmates.

She shares her knowledge and expertise in online education as a support faculty member for the Instructional Design Technology Graduate Programs, and as an external mentor in UC’s New Faculty Institute initiative. Quality Matters certified, Lankisch has co-authored two textbooks, and presents locally, regionally, and nationally on integrating technology in the classroom.

Mrs. A.B. “Dolly” Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching

bruce d. mcclung
Associate Professor, Musicology
College-Conservatory of Music

In the hands of bruce d. mcclung, PhD, a classroom experience is not just educational. It’s transformational.
A well-known and frequently published authority on American music, musical theatre, mass entertainment and manuscript studies, he is equally well regarded as a teacher and mentor. Described by students and colleagues alike as a “virtuoso” of the classroom, mcclung (who signs his name in lowercase) uses all of his courses as an opportunity to lay the groundwork for life-long learning. In the words of one former student, “In all of his classes he not only teaches, but he also teaches how to teach and learn.”
The 2009 recipient of the UC Graduate School’s Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring Award, mcclung’s teaching style is defined by empathy and engagement. He is known to circulate information cards to his students on the first day of class, requesting that they share information about themselves and what they expect to learn before a syllabus is ever distributed. He allows his students’ responses to guide him as he plans activities and establishes learning objectives. “Providing a solid, yet flexible, framework reveals to students that I value their ideas and promote a classroom environment of discovery,” he explains.
The discoveries promoted in mcclung’s classroom extend well beyond musicology, encompassing critical thinking skills, learning strategies and even neurological theories. mcclung encourages his students to take responsibility for their learning and provides them with the tools necessary to make the most of their time in the classroom.
“It is absolutely impossible for me to do anything that includes writing,” another former student observes, “and not think about Dr. mcclung and the level of excellence he impressed upon me.”

George Barbour Award for Good Faculty-Student Relations

Annu Prabhakar
Associate Professor, Information Technology
College of Education, Criminal Justice & Human Services

Annu Prabhakar joined UC’s faculty in 2000 and is currently an associate professor of information technology in the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services. At UC, her initiatives have contributed to student success in and out of the classroom.

In 2002, she founded Women in IT (WIT), a student group to promote opportunities for women in the IT program. In 2005, she started the Information Technology Learning Center (ITLC) to offer tutoring assistance to IT students.  Additionally, she led the establishment of the Learning Community for Information Technology students to improve their freshmen year experience at UC.

She has been involved in multiple initiatives through the honors program that have resulted in leadership development and employment opportunities for her students. In 2012, she established the Sarah Marie Pullen Scholarship in memory of IT alumnus Sarah Pullen. She currently serves on UC’s President’s Bicentennial Commission and the Proudly Cincinnati Faculty/Staff Campaign committee.

Distinguished Teaching Professor

Miguel A. Roig-Francolí
Professor, Music Theory & Composition
College-Conservatory of Music

Miguel A. Roig-Francolí, PhD, is widely recognized as one of the leading music theory pedagogues in the United States. He is equally renowned for his ability to make this sometimes-difficult topic approachable.

“Professor Roig-Francolí possesses the humanizing and powerful ability to extend the deepest respect to each of his students. The effects are transformative,” remarks one former student. “His classroom is alive. And not with cell phone or computer-powered distraction, but with this dynamic kind of learning.”

Known for his trademark enthusiasm and passion for the subject, coupled with a keen focus on each student’s comprehension, Roig-Francolí’s teaching career has spanned over 25 years.  

“He is one of those rare individuals not self-aggrandized by his considerable accomplishments but consumed, rather, with sincere concern for learners and the obligation of teachers to create sensitive and intellectually honest learning environments,” suggests Timothy A. Smith, professor of music theory at Northern Arizona University.

Roig-Francolí’s influence extends well beyond his own classroom, though. He has cemented his reputation in the field of music theory pedagogy by authoring two textbooks and an anthology published by McGraw-Hill: Harmony in Context (second edition; 2011), Understanding Post-Tonal Music (2007; Chinese translation published by People’s Music Publishing House, Beijing, 2012), and Anthology of Post-Tonal Music (2007). These texts are used in over 100 colleges and universities in the United States, Canada and China.

Holding a double appointment in CCM’s departments of Music Theory and Composition, Dr. Roig-Francolí is the previous recipient of UC’s Mrs. A.B. “Dolly” Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching (2007) and the George Rieveschl Jr. Award for Creative and/or Scholarly Works (2009).

Faculty Award for Exemplary Contributions in Service to the University

Catharine B. “Sunny” Saelinger
Professor, Molecular Genetics
College of Medicine

Whoever first said, “If you want to get something done, ask a busy person to do it” was probably thinking of Catharine “Sunny” Saelinger, PhD. In addition to her duties as a professor in the department of molecular genetics, biochemistry and microbiology, she has served on countless committees during her almost four decades as a member of the UC faculty.

Nominator and colleague Richard Thompson, PhD, estimates that she has served tens of thousands of committee hours in that time. In the past year alone, she has served on more than 20 committees and task forces, chairing seven. Nominators unfailingly cited her 12 years of service on the College of Medicine Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Committee, chairing it for 10 of those years (she was repeatedly asked to extend her term). During that time, nominator Lynda Price said, she helped transform the committee into a body of colleagues committed to providing fair and balanced evaluations of all College of Medicine faculty at each career stage.

She also served on the task force charged with constructing the College of Medicine’s innovative new curriculum, which integrates hands-on clinical training in the first year, and played an active role in the college’s accreditation self-study. “Sunny’s dedication is truly amazing,” said nominator Sandra Degen, PhD, interim chair of the department of molecular genetics, biochemistry and microbiology. “I know of no one else who is such an outstanding citizen and ambassador for the University of Cincinnati and its faculty.”

Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award

Joel I. Shulman
Adjunct Professor, Department of Chemistry
McMicken College of Arts & Sciences

Before coming to UC in 2002, Joel Shulman, PhD, adjunct professor of chemistry, had a successful career with The Procter & Gamble Company where he was involved in projects like P&G’s first 2-in-1 shampoo, better antioxidants for foods, and biodegradable insecticides. That industry experience allowed him to develop a distinctive course that has distinguished UC’s  Department of Chemistry from virtually all others in the country – an applied course that serves as a national model, presented by the American Chemical Society (ACS) as a conference workshop and at universities coast to coast, like Purdue University, Indiana University, Ohio State University, University of Michigan and Princeton University.

Shulman’s “Life After Graduate School” course for doctoral students, co-taught in partnership with Anna Gudmundsdottir, professor of chemistry, is what one student described as “a realistic career toolkit” for academic, industry and government settings. The course reviews expectations and needed skills for each, including - for example - industry’s emphasis on the ability to persuasively communicate with non-experts. “I tell students that getting a PhD means you’re trained like a ‘T.’ You have breadth and depth like the letter ‘T.’ Academics will really value the depth, and industry values that breadth very highly,” explained Shulman.

Recalled one alumnus, “Lots of graduate students have a feeling they will be walking down a blind alley after graduating. He proactively realized this situation and designed the coursework…that helped bring clarity…on vast opportunities.”

Shulman, an ACS Fellow, teaches classes from entry level to doctoral, and he also works closely with the Department of Chemistry’s Industrial Associates Program, integrating Cincinnati’s professional community with the department to provide internships and co-ops to students at all levels, along with graduate stipend support.

Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award

Gregory L. Sizemore
Adjunct Professor, Construction Management
College of Engineering & Applied Science

As a UC faculty member for 18 years, Professor Gregory L. Sizemore, JD, has profoundly impacted the lives of hundreds of students. His enthusiasm, professional experience and commitment to education provide his students with invaluable knowledge, leadership experience and industry connectivity. He calls his teaching philosophy “engaged learning.” To him, that means taking academic information and turning it into useful knowledge and understanding in the context of the construction management profession.  He also serves as a pre-law advisor for College of Engineering and Applied Science students who aspire to law school and, on a personal basis, has officiated at several student weddings.

Professor Sizemore developed and sponsored the Construction Management/Architectural Engineering Technology (CM/AET) Leadership Conference in 2006, bringing together engineering and construction students from around the region. Additionally, he founded and gave the lead gift for CM/AET Senior Class Scholarship Fund, a result of the “leaders as givers” segment of his Leadership Development class. That fund, which now totals over $32,000, is funded primarily by current students and recent alumni. He continues to work closely with CEAS and the UC Foundation to develop funds for scholarships that promote education in construction management and architectural engineering.

Sizemore continues to gain recognition for his outstanding contributions to UC’s goals of placing students at the center and achieving excellence in teaching effectiveness and student learning.

Distinguished Research Professor

Andrew J. Steckl
Professor, Electrical Engineering
College of Engineering & Applied Science

Dr. Andrew Steckl’s novel methodologies within the field of electrical engineering quickly gained international recognition early in his career. His early research focused on the growth and fabrication of high-power and high-frequency silicon carbide electronic devices.

Currently, Steckl serves as a passionate educator, researcher, advisor and collaborator, working on projects across several disciplines at UC. He’s a consistent trailblazer in three major areas of research: organic and biopolymeric (DNA) materials for photonic and electronic devices;  electrofluidics to produce novel materials and devices (electrospinning of nanofibers, electrowetting transistors, biochips and displays);  and rare-earth light-emitting elements that hold potential for use in devices such as flat-panel displays and lasers.

Steckl is the founder of the Center of Integrated Electronics, the UC Nanoelectronics Laboratory, and Extreme Photonix LLC, a company he started with his former student Jason Heikenfeld, PhD, who is now a colleague in the School of Electrical and Computing Engineering and an entrepreneur in his own right.

Mrs. A.B. Dolly Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching

Eric Warm
Professor, Internal Medicine
College of Medicine

First, Eric Warm, MD, learned from educators at the University of Cincinnati. Now — and for more than 15 years — he’s been serving as one, teaching students and residents at the UC College of Medicine to be competent, outstanding physicians.

Warm, a 1989 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UC and a 1993 Alpha Omega Alpha graduate of the College of Medicine, has a true passion for teaching and is using innovative approaches to ensure that medical trainees are engaged and that educational programs at UC are ahead of the curve. He was recently named Richard W. and Sue P. Vilter Chair in Internal Medicine for his teaching expertise and leadership abilities.

Warm has consistently been recognized — by national medical organizations, UC leadership and his own students — for his teaching programs and style, including being honored with the Silver Apple Teaching Award in 2009 and a Society of General Internal Medicine Clinical Practice Innovation Award in 2010. He is also a consummate physician and was named a “Top Doctor” in Cincinnati Magazine for 2012 and 2013. Additionally, Warm brought UC the distinction of being one of only 21 training programs in the nation included in the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education Educational Innovations Project, transforming the way students and residents are educated. His talents are noticed and appreciated by the UC community. As Dr. Gregory Rouan, a Gordon & Helen Hughes Taylor Chair of Internal Medicine, said, “The University of Cincinnati is fortunate to have individuals like Eric who are passionately committed to education.”

— posted April ’13