Ten distinguished faculty members were recently honored for their dedication to teaching and to creating meaningful experiences for their students, in and out of the classroom, after being nominated by their students and colleagues.
June 9, 2022
Nominated by their colleagues and students, 10 University of New Haven educators were honored for their leadership, innovation, service, and commitment to creating meaningful opportunities and learning experiences for students.
At the end of each academic year, the University recognizes faculty members for their commitment to excellence in teaching, including experiential education, research, and online learning, as well as dedication to fostering diversity, accessibility, and belonging. Students and colleagues nominate faculty members for each award, and a committee of faculty members select each winner.
This year, the award selection committee received more than 150 nominations for more than 100 candidates. In many cases, a candidate received multiple nominations in a certain category. Approximately two thirds of the nominations came from students.
Meritorious faculty members were recently honored at an in-person awards ceremony that concluded with a “last lecture,” during which a faculty member delivers a hypothetical “final talk” about a topic that is deeply important to them. The last lecture series, which takes place annually as part of the Faculty Awards program, is modeled after a presentation made in 2007 by Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University professor, who delivered his "last lecture" titled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" a month after he learned that the pancreatic cancer he had been diagnosed with a year earlier was terminal. He died ten months after delivering the address, and his talk became the basis for a New York Times best seller.
This year’s last lecture was given by Leah Hartman, J.D., MBA, who spoke about her work with students and discussed her guiding principles for working with them.
“Throughout the last year, all of our faculty members have demonstrated the highest commitment to supporting our students in and out of the classroom,” said Danielle Wozniak, Ph.D., MSW, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
As part of the ceremony, Dr. Wozniak recognized faculty who have retired from the University over the past two years, in some cases, after serving the University community for more than 40 years.
Excellence in Experiential Education
Jeffrey Treistman, Ph.D., an assistant professor of national security, received the award for Excellence in Experiential Education. The award recognizes a faculty member who demonstrates excellence in incorporating high-impact practices into courses or into faculty-mentored student learning opportunities, such as service-learning opportunities, faculty-mentored research projects, or leadership-development experiences.
“Dr. Treistman’s ability to recognize the importance of education and real-life application allows his students to have a more all-encompassing classroom experience,” wrote a student who nominated Dr. Treistman.
Added a former student, “Dr. Treistman is a perfect example of a professor who employs the mission of the University of New Haven, which is to bring the real-world to the classroom through experiential education. He truly made the difference for me as an undergrad and continues to be a strong force in my early career.”
Excellence in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Belonging
Patrick McGrady, Ph.D., received the Excellence in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Belonging (DEIAB) award. An associate professor of sociology, Dr. McGrady was recognized for his commitment to fostering DEIAB and for his dedication to participating in, organizing, and leading programs and events for the University community.
“He highly values social justice,” wrote a colleague who nominated Dr. McGrady. “He not only infuses these values and related activities into most of his courses, but he has also taught and designed courses reflecting these issues.”
Added another colleague, “I have been immensely impressed by the work and commitment of Patrick related to curricular improvements focused on DEIAB issues.”
Leadership in Service
Maria Tcherni-Buzzeo, Ph.D., an associate professor of criminal justice and director of the University’s doctorate program in criminal justice, received the award for Leadership in Service, recognizing her outstanding leadership and service to the University community. It also recognizes her commitment to her profession, including in areas such as academic program service and leadership, faculty committee or task force service and leadership, and service and leadership in promoting faculty development.
“Dr. Tcherni-Buzzeo’s service during the past two years has been truly remarkable,” wrote a colleague who nominated her. “The leadership she provides should be appreciated for its impact and the benefits it is providing for our students, faculty, community, and discipline.”
Excellence in Online Pedagogy
Devon Moore, M.S., earned the Excellence in Online Pedagogy award. Co-director of the University’s Writing Across the Curriculum program and associate director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, Prof. Moore was recognized for her ability to build community and student engagement in an online class and for applying high-impact practices into the course and using technology and multimedia.
“I strive to create an environment where students are relaxed, feel supported, and see the value in what they’re learning,” explains Prof. Moore. “Teaching online asynchronously can make it extremely difficult to build relationships with my students. I do my best to ‘meet them where they are.’”
“The biggest obstacles students face learning asynchronously is the lack of connection,” wrote a student who nominated Prof. Moore. “Professor Moore overcame that hurdle by having her coursework represent her attitude and drive.”
Excellence in Recruitment, Advisement, or Retention
The award for Excellence in Recruitment, Advisement, or Retention, which recognizes and honors the development and implementation of proactive and impactful retention initiatives, was presented to Ceyda Mumcu, Ph.D., an associate professor and chair of the University’s Sport Management Department. The award recognized Dr. Mumcu’s promotion of career preparation and developmental goals for students, effective intervention in student difficulties so as to retain students, and consistent participation in recruitment events with positive effects on the process.
“She genuinely cares about the students and always finds ways to support them,” wrote a student who nominated Dr. Mumcu. “She always makes sure students have enough networking and internship opportunities or events to attend.”
Added another student who nominated her, “I have always known that I was in good hands with Dr. Mumcu since the first day I met her, when she approached me with such passion and honesty. Not one day has gone by in which her commitment to helping her students achieve their dreams has wavered.”
Excellence in Sponsored Programs
Rosemarie Lillie Macias, Ph.D., received the award for Excellence in Sponsored Programs. An assistant professor of psychology, Dr. Macias was recognized for her ability to effectively attract external funding and business/community support through grants, contracts, cooperation agreements, or other means, as well as for development of a supportive relationship with businesses or other organizations that benefits students through opportunities for experience or post-graduation placement in career or further educational positions. It also recognized Dr. Macias for promoting student engagement and high-impact practices including opportunities for research.
“The amount that Dr. Macias has accomplished is beyond impressive, as is the name she is making for herself and the University,” noted a colleague who nominated her. “Moreover, her contracts and grants have direct implications for the development of interventions for marginalized and disparately impacted communities. Finally, her engagement of students in her research provides them with invaluable opportunities to develop skills and receive mentorship.
What stands out the most to me as her colleague and collaborator, however, is how she approaches this work with integrity, humility, and collegiality.”
Excellence in Research or Creative Activity
Shue Wang, Ph.D., received the award for Excellence in Research or Creative Activity, which recognizes a full-time faculty member who has outstanding current research, scholarship, or creative activity. It also honors a professor who demonstrates excellence in mentoring in research, scholarship, or creative activity. An assistant professor of biomedical engineering, Dr. Wang earned the highly competitive Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation earlier this year.
“She submitted numerous proposals for grant funding for a grand total of $3.4 million and secured about $604,000 in funding,” wrote a colleague who nominated Dr. Wang. “This is remarkable for her tenure of less than three years here.”
Excellence in Teaching by a Part-time Instructor
The Excellence in Teaching by a Part-time Instructor was awarded to Lauren Kempton, Ed.D., a practitioner in residence of sociology. The award honors an adjunct faculty member or a practitioner in residence who embodies the principles of excellence in teaching and demonstrates pedagogy that embodies evidenced-based best practices and innovative teaching approaches and mentoring students.
“I encourage students, through higher-order thinking and critical reasoning, to challenge the various dominant paradigms of the world around them,” explained Dr. Kempton.
“What I have learned from Dr. Kempton over the past four years I will take with me for the rest of my life,” wrote a student who nominated her. “I have learned a lot about her selflessness, compassion, determination, advocacy, allyship, and devotion which I have always admired.”
Excellence in Teaching by Lecturer Faculty
Halima Belemlih, Ph.D., a senior lecturer of modern languages who speaks fluent Arabic, Berber and French, received the Excellence in Teaching by Lecturer Faculty award. The recognition honors a full-time lecturer who embodies the principles of excellence in teaching and demonstrates pedagogy that embodies evidenced-based best practices and innovative teaching approaches and mentoring students.
“All students were able to participate because Halima was able to include and support all of them,” wrote a colleague who nominated her. “She was able to customize her class based on her students’ needs. This, coupled with her patience and kindness, is part of the formula that makes her an exceptional teacher.”
Excellence in Teaching by Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty
The Excellence in Teaching by Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty was presented to Bruno Barreto de Góes, Ph.D., an assistant professor of management. The award recognizes a full-time faculty member who embodies the principles of excellence in teaching and demonstrates pedagogy that embodies evidence-based best practices, innovative teaching approaches, and pedagogy that embodies effective mentoring of students.
“I have felt that being in this class has made a difference in my education and professional development due to the efforts that Professor Barreto de Góes puts into it and the passion he has for teaching his students,” wrote a student who nominated him.