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University of Cincinnati 2014 Faculty Award Winners

George Rieveschl Jr. Award for Distinguished Scientific Research

Bruce S. Ault
Professor, Chemistry
McMicken College of Arts & Sciences

Bruce Ault, PhD, is earning his fourth all-university faculty award in his 38-year career here.

Today, Ault, who is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), adds the prestigious Rieveschl Award to his previously earned George Barbour Award for Good Faculty-Student Relations (1995), Faculty Award for Exemplary Contributions in Service to the University (2006) and Distinguished Teaching Professor (2009). 

These previous awards speak of Ault’s high-caliber teaching and service on campus, while this year’s Rieveschl award speaks to his national and international standing within the area known as matrix isolation spectroscopy, a field where he is ranked third in the world in terms of number of publications. His 227 refereed publications, often highly cited, are found within flagship journals and a global database devoted to matrix isolation spectroscopy.

Matrix isolation spectroscopy refers to a way of “freeze framing” chemical reactions. Any step in a reaction may exist for only a fraction of a second. So, in order to isolate and understand what’s really happening within a reaction’s timeline, it’s necessary to literally freeze any part of that reaction – at 0 degrees Kelvin (equal to minus 459 degrees Fahrenheit).

The research is vital to understanding many natural processes (like those associated with ground-level ozone) as well as directing or controlling reactions in order to improve products (like solar panels). 

Because of Ault’s recognized contributions to the field (including identification of elusive elements formed as part of photochemical reactions involving ozone), his work has been continuously funded by the National Science Foundation for the past 35 years.

Distinguished Research Professor

Carlton Brett
Professor, Geology
McMicken College of Arts & Sciences

When asked where his lab is, Carlton E. Brett, PhD, simply points out his window. Throughout his career, he has been fortunate to work in areas of the country with significant geologic features to examine as part of his research. He’s inspired colleagues and students with his passion for researching and teaching a range of subjects – including stratigraphy, paleoecology and the paleobiology and evolution of ancient invertebrate animals, such as trilobites.

One colleague summed it up best when he described Carl’s research contributions as being “so extensive and so diverse, any two paleontologists would have different ideas about his greatest influence.” Another colleague praised Brett’s “knack of discovery and ability to extract remarkable truths from what he observes, truths that elude others.”

In addition to his extraordinary research, Brett is also the director of undergraduate studies for the geology department. While this additional service to his department might slow others down, it has only enhanced Brett’s scholarship and productivity. Not only has he continued to publish, but his students have published many papers as well.

Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Member Award

Erwin F. Erhardt III
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Economics
Lindner College of Business

Erwin Erhardt is a voracious reader. The New York Times, The Economist, and The Wall Street Journal are among his top sources for information.

“There’s a power shift going on,” he says of the Middle East region. “Particularly in Libya, Egypt and Syria. When these countries become unstable, there are worldwide political and economic ramifications.”

He can’t wait to discuss uprisings and situations of political unrest in his Economic Development course, one of three economics classes he teaches as an adjunct assistant professor at the Carl H. Lindner College of Business.

“I love teaching economic development,” he says. “A lot of major turning points in history have been based on economic turmoil and economic change.”

Erhardt has a knack for making economics come alive. Fellow faculty and students alike have high praise for the dedication he brings to Lindner’s economics department.

“Erwin is a passionate teacher who cares deeply for his students,” says Nick Williams, chair of Lindner’s economics department.

Erhardt deserves much of the credit for arousing student interest in economics, says Debashis Pal, the David Sinton Professor of Economics at Lindner.

“Over the years, most of our economics majors came from Dr. Erhardt’s introductory economics classes,” Pal says.

Sally Amkoa, BA ’14, is among them. An international student from Nairobi, Kenya, she took his Micro and Macro Economics courses, noting that he was interesting and engaging and offered an opportunity to share opinions.  “After that I was convinced that I wanted to become an economist," she noted.

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

Lawrence M. Gales
Associate Professor, Management
Lindner College of Business

Larry Gales, PhD, has been to nearly 20 countries on four continents and has filled up two passports since taking on the role of Academic Director of International Programs at the Carl H. Lindner College of Business in 1997.

To Gales, traveling to foreign countries is not so much about where he’s been or how many times, but about the joy of exposing students to new cultures. “Seeing their reactions when we go to another country, especially China, is so personally rewarding because it’s so different than what they are used to,” Gales says.

Gales, associate professor of management at Lindner, oversees the college’s study abroad programs and manages relationships with Lindner’s 21 global partner schools that host student and faculty exchanges.

Throughout his 26 years at Lindner, Gales has significantly impacted the school in a positive way. He is known for classroom innovation. He introduced ethics into core management courses, initiated the idea of intensive Blast classes, required all international business majors to partake in study abroad experiences and helped reshape the MBA curriculum into one that includes a study abroad component.

Because Gales believes in helping every student have a study abroad experience, he began a Virtual Teams class that works with Lindner’s longstanding global partner school in Linz, Austria. Through technology, the two classes team up on a virtual project for a one-of-a-kind global learning experience.

As the overseer of as many as 12 study abroad trips each year, Gales says he dreams of expanding programs in India and adding Africa and new South American locations to his agenda.

Gales consistently receives high praise from students who either sat in his class or traveled abroad with him. His leadership, they say, made for a better educational experience.

George Rieveschl Jr. Award for Creative and Scholarly Works

John E. Hancock
Professor of Architecture
College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning

John Hancock’s talents of scholarship and creativity have led to titles beyond professor and researcher, to storyteller, producer, graphic designer and artistic director. His work brings an ancient part of Ohio’s history alive to everyone from researchers to history buffs, tourists and schoolchildren.

Hancock’s multifaceted EarthWorks project visualizes the ancient Native American mound building cultures of the Ohio Valley and has achieved national and international acclaim for its technical wizardry as well as its fusion of history, architecture and anthropology.

Initially drawn to Greek architecture – exploring computer modeling of archaeological sites – little did he know that he would turn up a hidden treasure trove of research in his own backyard. “I had no idea, until a graduate student mentioned that he wanted to do his thesis on the ancient earthworks of Ohio, and I said, ‘The what?’”

The project has been supported by four significant grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the last of these for an extensive website called The Ancient Ohio Trail, featuring the EarthWorks in detailed interdisciplinary interpretations, situating them within high-quality tourist experiences rivaling those of ancient sites in Europe, and helping prepare them for their inclusion in a few years on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Faculty Award for Exemplary Contributions in Service to the University of Cincinnati

Richard Harknett
Head, Political Science
McMicken College of Arts & Sciences

It's no secret that UC loves a good committee. Apparently so does Richard Harknett, and the entire university is the better for it.

Harknett has served on more than 75 college and university committees for at least one year, including many times as chair. Throughout his 22 years at UC, Harknett has built a legacy of strengthened relationships among faculty and between faculty and administration. He has also improved academic representation and administrative coordination across the university.

A few prominent examples of how he has served: chair-elect and chair of University Faculty; director of academic programs and head of the Department of Political Science; member of the provost's IT and Computing Taskforce, Diversity and Advisory Committee, Committee on Teaching Excellence and Steering Committee for the Niehoff Urban Studio; member of the University Bicentennial Commission; and member of UC Foundation's Faculty-Staff Campaign Steering Committee.

Faculty colleagues noted his outstanding dedication to university service, skillful leadership and collaborative spirit through such remarks as, "I was proud to be a faculty member with him as chair of the Faculty Senate," and, "There is no one I admire more at UC."

Harknett says among his proudest accomplishments are the transformation of the Charles Phelps Taft Memorial Fund into the fully developed Taft Research Center, the creation of the Life of the Mind internal lecture series, helping guide the university’s integrated decision-making process toward a strong provost model and the development of the Faculty Assemblies theme-driven "university faculty" program.

Emerging Entrepreneurial Achievement Award

Andrew Herr
Associate Professor, Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology
College of Medicine

A breakthrough discovery in the lab of Andrew Herr, PhD, has the potential to provide a powerful weapon against hospital-acquired infections, which cause over 100,000 deaths per year in the United States — equivalent to the number of deaths due to AIDS, breast cancer and vehicular accidents combined.

Herr’s team in the Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology at the UC College of Medicine discovered the mechanism by which staphylococcal bacteria adhere to one another to form biofilms, surface-adherent colonies that are resistant to antibiotic treatment and immune responses, and therefore must often be surgically removed. These biofilms are remarkably adhesive and can grow on many surfaces, including implanted medical devices such as pacemakers, heart valve replacements and artificial joints.

A protein on the bacterial surface becomes adhesive in the presence of zinc, researchers discovered, creating what Herr calls a “zinc zipper” that plays a key role in infections. Addition of a zinc-binding chelator (removal agent) called DTPA (diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid) prevents the biofilm from forming, researchers found. There are no effective products on the market today that prevent biofilm formation by staph bacteria.

UC filed a patent application covering the use of DTPA or other chelators alone or in combination with antibiotics to prevent bacterial colonization and biofilm formation. Herr is a co-founder of Chelexa Biosciences, which currently has an exclusive licensing agreement with UC to develop and market this technology.

George Barbour Award for Promoting Good Faculty-Student Relations

Edna S. Kaneshiro
University Distinguished Research Professor, Biological Sciences
McMicken College of Arts & Sciences

“To critics who said, ‘We are not Harvard or Yale, so we should not expect our students to be able to do as well in coursework,’ my response has been, ‘We are not Harvard or Yale, so we try harder.’”

Edna Kaneshiro’s mentorship and dedication to her students has launched national and international careers. The microbiologist and University Distinguished Research Professor joined the Department of Biological Sciences in 1972. Her research lab has attracted graduate and undergraduate students from around the world, many of whom lived in her home when they first arrived in Cincinnati. “Dr. Kaneshiro was more than a mentor to me; she was like a mother,” writes one student.

Kaneshiro’s lab is called a miniature United Nations because of the student representation of the U.S., Europe, Asia, Africa and a diversity of ethnicities and cultures. “I hear our new graduate students are often told, ‘To survive in Dr. Kaneshiro’s lab, you need to be able to eat weird food!’”

Kaneshiro is credited for pursuing interdisciplinary research “before it was a buzzword.” She’s the author of more than 200 publications – 85 co-authored by students – and the recipient of more than 75 awards for millions in research funding, including awards to support student diversity and travel to professional meetings.

An avid gardener with her own greenhouse, she often gives away tomato plants to members of her department every spring.

The George Barbour Award is named for a geology professor and world adventurer who was dean of the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences from 1938-1958.

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

Kathleen M. Lynch
Associate Professor, Classics
McMicken College of Arts & Sciences

Kathleen Lynch, PhD, has enjoyed many “eureka” moments throughout her career, and that’s not including those that come from her research efforts.

Her “eureka” moments come from sharing in the success and achievements of her students.

It’s not hard to see exactly how important those classroom discoveries are to her – and what her passion for teaching means to others. She’s been called “innovative and inspiring,” “exciting and demanding” and simply “brilliant” by her students and colleagues in the Department of Classics.

Since joining UC in 2002, Lynch has actively published and presented her research. Her book, "The Symposium in Context: Pottery from a Late Archaic House near the Athenian Agora," won the Archaeological Institute of America’s 2013 James R. Wiseman Award for best book in archaeology. Throughout her career she's earned support for her work from prestigious organizations such as Harvard University's Loeb Classical Library Foundation, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the Kress Foundation.

Lynch’s creativity in the classroom is well known, whether it's her unique midterm project assignments or her "Myth Jeopardy" games for students. As leader of her department's popular Outreach Program, she's helping inspire a whole new generation of passionate educators. Last year alone graduate students under her direction gave 114 presentations to 19 area schools, offering the archaeologists of tomorrow a "behind-the-scenes" look into the ancient world.

Innovative Uses of Technology in Teaching Award


BJ Zirger

Associate Dean
Lindner College of Business

Eugene Rutz
Academic Director
College of Engineering and Applied Science

Jim Tappel
Assistant Professor Division of Professional Practice and Experiential Learning Adjunct Assistant Professor, College of Engineering and Applied Science

Drew Boyd
Assistant Professor, Marketing & Innovation, Lindner College of Business, Academic Director

Think big and innovate.

Those seemed to be the driving forces behind the University of Cincinnati’s first Massive Open Online Course or MOOC, the largest course ever taught in UC history.

The final participation numbers in UC’s free seven-week “Innovation and Design Thinking” course, which debuted in Fall 2013, exceeded 2,500 people from 90 countries worldwide.

UC’s MOOC Team was created and piloted by BJ Zirger, associate dean of online education at the Carl H. Lindner College of Business; Eugene Rutz, academic director for the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) Undergraduate Affairs; Jim Tappel, assistant professor educator at CEAS; and Drew Boyd, executive director of the Master of Science in Marketing Program at the Lindner College of Business.

Co-taught by Boyd and Tappel — who have 55 years of combined industry experience — the course focused on innovation and helping students master the tools necessary to generate new ideas and quickly transform concepts into viable new products and services.

Unlike most MOOCs — which typically offer a free online course in which the value comes solely from the course content — participants who completed course requirements and subsequently enroll in UC’s MBA or engineering master’s program will receive two free credit hours toward their degree.

“This MOOC accomplished our objective of extending UC’s brand worldwide by providing open access to our world-class faculty who brought thousands of individuals together to discuss ways to develop new product concepts,” said Zirger.

Faculty Award for Exemplary Contributions in Service to the University

Lisa H. Newman
Educator Professor, Director, Undergraduate Studies, Communication
McMicken College of Arts & Sciences

Lisa Newman joined UC’s Communication Department in 1987 and has focused her career on helping students improve their communication skills. She teaches and researches in the areas of public relations, diversity, interviewing and organizational communication.

She has been a strong supporter of diversity on campus and was tapped by President Santa Ono to serve on the search committee for the campus chief diversity officer. She has provided volunteer public relations assistance to non-profit organizations and created student engagement through her service both on and off campus, which was noted when she was named as a 2012 Greater Cincinnati Top 100 Minds Thought Leader and given the 2005 National Conference for Community and Justice award for helping to improve Human Relations in the Greater Cincinnati Region.

Newman encourages cultural awareness, respect for others and equal opportunity for all. Service to students has been a constant emphasis, noted by her fourth Darwin T. Turner Breakfast of Champions medal in 2014, the 2013 PR1ZE Mentor of the year award, the 2011 Sarah Grant Barber Outstanding Advisor Award, the Inaugural Department of Athletics’ 2010-2011 Legion of Excellence Student-Athlete Faculty Impact Award, the 2007 UC Faculty Women of the Year Award and by being honored by UC Residence Hall Association for being a professor who made an impact on student’s lives.

One student described Lisa as “a role model and rock of strength,” while another said, “Comm students past, now and in the future are lucky to have a teacher and an advocate” like Lisa Newman.

Distinguished Teaching Professor

Kenneth A. Skau
Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences
Winkle College of Pharmacy

Kenneth Skau, PhD, a professor emeritus in the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, has devoted over three decades to teaching, with the majority of those years spent at UC.

According to the nomination letter penned by Dean Neil MacKinnon, PhD, Skau’s contributions to pharmacy education can be summed up in three words: commitment, competence and caring — but a fourth word also comes to mind: consistency, as evidenced by a 1985 graduate’s letter of support, which said, Skau "teaches every lecture with zeal in a persistent manner, both challenging and inspiring students.” A 2009 graduate noted that he "truly exemplifies the spirit of this title as an enthusiastic advocate for scholarship and professional development.”

In addition to a commitment to teaching, Skau has made significant national contributions to pharmacy education. For example, he was the 2012-13 Donald C. Brodie Academic Scholar-in-Residence at the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) and focused his project on reflective writing and learning and its inclusion in the curriculum. Skau has the distinction of being a five-time recipient of the Rho Chi Faculty Excellence Award, is a member of UC’s Academy of Fellows for Teaching and Learning and was part of the team which won the Innovations in Teaching Award from the AACP. In addition to his teaching and scholarly pursuits, Skau is a tireless researcher with scores of published findings and is equally enthusiastic about clinical pharmacy.

Provostal Faculty Career Award

Jeannette C. Taylor
Professor, Social Work
College of Allied Health Sciences

Jeannette Taylor has not only been a pillar in our UC community, but also to the Greater Cincinnati community. She has been a civil rights pioneer, sitting-in at the drugstore lunch counters in 1960 and marching from Selma to Mongtomery with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965.

Over the course of her career at UC, she has served on too many boards to mention in such areas as substance abuse and treatment, African-American youth leadership, Leadership Cincinnati, housing opportunities, parent-child relationships and the Girl Scouts, just to name a few.

She first came to UC as a doctoral student and earned her PhD in 1979. She then became the director of UC’s Division of Continuing Education, becoming the first African-American female dean in 1989 as the dean of the College of Evening and Continuing Education.

She has been awarded numerous awards in the community including the Celebrating the Lions Award from the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati. There is a conference room named in her honor in UC's French Hall.

She has been known as an innovator, a leader and a courageous pioneer. She is admired by students, who then become her alumni admirers. And colleagues across campus and across the region also respect her as an extraordinary resource for making a difference.

Earlier this year, Taylor retired after 35 years of giving her all to help UC do its best to serve students.

Outstanding Adjunct Award

Jenny Ustick
Visiting Assistant Professor, Fine Arts
College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning

Jenny Ustick is a top-rung artist and arts instructor – both literally and figuratively.

On outdoor mural projects she helps lead every summer, Ustick is often the one painting while positioned at the very top of the scaffolding. And as a member of a local fiber arts group that hangs work in public spaces, she’s the one who volunteers for the boom lift to hang yarn art atop city light poles – at night.

So, it comes as no surprise that she is also in the forefront of innovative course work and a new minor in art therapy to be offered at UC, demonstrating that the fine arts can have a vital role to play in the art of healing.

In a new team-taught course, Ustick is helping to demonstrate the theory and practice of using art to help those with cancer to express the emotional aspects and effects of the disease and disease treatment. Students in the class not only consist of fine arts majors but also young adult cancer patients and cancer survivors.

Ustick is leading these UC art innovations as a leukemia survivor who used creative expression as a means of coping during her own treatment regimen as a teen. It’s teaching and planning work she’s dedicated to carrying out in addition to her full teaching load, coordinating the School of Arts’ Foundations curriculum, overseeing committee meetings, giving service to the school (such as helping to mount a recent accreditation exhibition) and working in her own personal studio.

- Posted April 17, 2014