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Exceptional Faculty Members Recognized for Excellence in Teaching, Academic Impact, and Dedication to University Community
Nominated by their colleagues and students, eleven University of New Haven professors were honored for their leadership, innovation, and commitment to creating meaningful opportunities and learning experiences for their students.
July 15, 2021
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
At the end of every academic year, the University recognizes several of its distinguished faculty members for their commitment to excellence in teaching, including experiential education and online learning, as well as dedication to fostering diversity, accessibility, and belonging. Faculty members are also recognized for their leadership and research. Students and colleagues nominate faculty members for each award, and a committee of faculty members select each winner.
“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 Mario Gaboury, J.D., Ph.D., interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “They all overcame truly unprecedented challenges caused by the pandemic, continuing to create high-impact learning opportunities that prepare our students for post-graduation success. In particular, we are pleased to honor the exemplary work of our Faculty Award winners and their unwavering dedication to the University and our students.”
Excellence in Teaching by Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty
Kevin Barnes-Ceeney, Ph.D., an assistant professor of criminal justice, and Anna Kloc, Ph.D., an assistant professor of biology and environmental science, received the Excellence in Teaching by Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty award. It honors full-time faculty members who embody the principles of excellence in teaching and demonstrate pedagogy that embodies evidence-based best practices, innovative teaching approaches, and/or pedagogy that embodies effective mentoring of students.
“One of Dr. Barnes-Ceeney’s strengths as a teacher is his willingness and desire to work with students beyond the standard course requirements, while truly mentoring and connecting with them on an interpersonal level,” wrote a colleague who nominated him.
“She always relates the science we learn in lecture and lab to real life examples,” wrote a student who nominated Dr. Kloc. “She continually encourages her students to think of the greater implications of the research performed in the lab.”
Excellence in Teaching by Lecturer Faculty
Lauren Boasso, Ph.D., a lecturer in the University’s English Department, received the Excellence in Teaching by Lecturer Faculty award. It 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/or mentoring students. Dr. Boasso brings an interdisciplinary background in the humanities to her teaching, endeavoring to help her students develop proficiencies that will enable them to succeed in the increasingly digital world.
“I loved how in-depth the material was and how much Dr. Boasso cares about the success of her students,” wrote a student who nominated her. “She was always there for us and accommodated us in times of need. She definitely taught me that hard work pays off!”
Excellence in Teaching by Part-Time Instructors
D. Edward Davis, Ph.D., earned the Excellence in Teaching by Part-Time Instructors award, which 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, innovative teaching approaches, and/or mentoring students. A practitioner in residence and coordinator of the University’s music program, Dr. Davis is a composer of electronic and acoustic music. He often engages with the sounds of the environment, including nature, in his work.
“Dr. Davis’s authenticity in his interactions with students helps them feel confident and motivated in their learning,” wrote a colleague who nominated him.
Excellence in Online Teaching Pedagogy
Jan Jones, Ph.D., received the award for Excellence in Online Teaching Pedagogy, which honors a faculty member who has demonstrated the ability to build community and student engagement in an online class and who applies high-impact practices into the course and use of technology and/or multimedia. Among the online opportunities she facilitated for her students was an innovative capstone project that enabled hospitality and tourism management students to learn about and promote Black history while exploring new ways to attract tourists to Connecticut.
“Jan’s hard work has led to what we all believed was impossible…food and beverage classes during a pandemic,” wrote a colleague who nominated Dr. Jones, who serves as coordinator of the University’s hospitality and tourism management program.
Excellence in Experiential Education
R. Christopher O’Brien, Ph.D., an associate professor in the University’s Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences departments, was recognized for excellence in experiential education. The award honors a faculty member who demonstrates excellence in incorporating high-impact practices into courses or in faculty-mentored student learning opportunities, such as faculty-mentored research projects, leadership-development experiences, and study abroad courses.
Dr. O’Brien, whose research interests include forensic animal necrophagy with associated taphonomy and wildlife forensics, is the director of the University’s Center For Wildlife Research. His “Forensic Archaeology” students exhumed (fake) human skeletons in the woods at the University’s Orange Campus. He often includes students in his research, both locally and abroad – including on the Caribbean island of Curaçao.
“Dr. O’Brien has put impactful student education in the form of classes, research, and writing above all other things,” wrote a student who nominated Dr. O’Brien.
Excellence in Recruiting, Advising, or Retention
Jean Nocito-Gobel, Ph.D., a professor of civil and environmental engineering, received the Excellence in Recruiting, Advising, or Retention award. It honors a faculty member’s development and implementation of proactive and impactful retention initiatives, promotion of career preparation and developmental goals for students, effective intervention in student difficulties so as to retain students, and/or consistent participation in recruitment events with positive effects on the process.
“It is apparent to me that she deeply cares for her students and wants them to be as successful as possible,” wrote a student who nominated her. “I am confident in the goals I have set and have a clearly defined direction because she is my adviser.”
Excellence in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Belonging
A member of the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence’s inaugural cohort of Faculty Fellows, she is developing resources and programming for her fellow faculty members over the next year that will focus, in part, on fostering diversity and inclusion.
“She is a welcome presence for all multicultural students,” wrote a student who nominated Dr. Cooper. “I speak on behalf of a very tight-knit community when I say, Dr. Cooper is someone who has proven time and time again that we matter, and we cannot extend our gratitude enough. I am proud to know her, to have worked alongside her, and to have been given the opportunity to learn from a leader who embodies what true advocacy looks like.”
Leadership in Service
Alexandria Guzmán, Ph.D., received the Leadership in Service award, which recognizes outstanding leadership and service to the University or community, or to one’s profession, such as faculty committee or task force service or leadership in promoting faculty development. An associate professor and chair of psychology and sociology, Dr. Guzmán serves as chair of the University’s Faculty Senate.
“Her leadership is truly transformational, in that she helps department members to consider the big picture in terms of where the department is going and how we can grow to better serve our students,” wrote a colleague who nominated Dr. Guzmán.
“She is a remarkable research scientist,” wrote a colleague who nominated Dr. Kammrath. “Her initiative and organizational skills are phenomenal, and have proven invaluable in a research environment that requires multi-tasking, attention to detail, time management, and leadership skills. Moreover, she serves as an exceptional role model for women in STEM occupations
Excellence in Sponsored Programs
William H. Carbone ’74 MPA received the award for Excellence in Sponsored Programs. The award recognizes and honors a faculty member who effectively attracts external funding or business/community support through grants, contracts, cooperation agreements, or other means; the development of a supportive relationship with business or other organizations that benefits students through opportunities for experience or post-graduation placement in career or further educational positions; and/or promotes student engagement and high-impact practices including opportunities for research.
"I hope in my future I will be as passionate, focused, and empowering as Professor Carbone is in the juvenile justice field to promote resources to youth and families to live long, healthy, and sustainable lives,” wrote a student who nominated him.
Added a colleague who nominated Prof. Carbone, “His efforts are laudable and often go beyond the level of commitment required or offered by other faculty members.”