Recognizing excellence

Sep 29, 2010

The contributions and professionalism of Kettering's faculty and staff members were applauded Sept. 22 at University Conference.

The many talents and ongoing contributions of Kettering University’s faculty and staff members were honored Sept. 22 during the Fifth Annual University Conference, hosted by President Stan Liberty. 

Ten faculty and three staff members received special recognitions during the annual all-employee ceremony and meeting, which included presentations and updates on University activities by President Liberty and Provost Robert Simpson.

Research Awards
The top faculty research awards were announced by Dr. Huseyin Hiziroglu, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.  All faculty awards presented at University Conference were conferred by selection committees.

Outstanding New Researcher Award went to Dr. David Marshall, assistant professor of Humanities. He contributed substantially to the enhancement of knowledge in the area of European Intellectual History.
There were two recipients of the Outstanding Researcher Award. The first went to Dr. Eugene Hynes, professor of Social Studies. He has contributed significantly to the area of Social Science. The second went to Dr. Ilya Kudish, professor of Applied Mathematics, whose significant contributions have been in the area of Applied Mathematics and Tribology.

The Rodes Professorship, an honor conferred on a Kettering faculty member for a period of two years in recognition of scholarly achievement, went to Dr. Srinivas Chakravarthy, a professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. He was recognized for his work on “Stochastic Modeling in Healthcare Systems.” The Rodes Professorship provides an opportunity for the continued development of the individual and carries with it a responsibility for sharing significant accomplishments.
Dr. Brian McCartin, professor of Applied Mathematics, received two awards. The Distinguished Research Award was presented for his substantial contributions to Applied Mathematics and Numerical Computation. Additionally, he was presented the Educational Scholar Award (see more information below).

Outstanding Teaching and Faculty Service Awards
Outstanding Teaching and Faculty Service Awards were announced by Dr. Jackie El-Sayed, professor of Mechanical Engineering. She said the Outstanding Teaching Award honors up to three faculty members who have demonstrated outstanding teaching and support for students. Faculty receiving this award have effectively taught assigned subject matter, encouraged both personal and professional development in students, and built productive personal relationships with the student body to enhance students’ overall experience at Kettering University, she said.

The Outstanding Teaching Award winners are:
Dr. Gianfranco DiGiuseppe, assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering, has been recognized as an excellent teacher in two of the most historically challenging engineering courses: fluid mechanics and heat transfer. He ensured his students met high standards through active learning. He made himself readily available to students and would change his schedule to accommodate their varied needs. Students in his classes have said he has impacted their lives not simply because “they really learned the subjects well” but because they became critical thinkers.
Dr. Doug Melton, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been recognized not only as an excellent teacher of students, but as an instructor in the Entrepreneurship Across the Curriculum Seminars to faculty and staff as well. One student has cited his passion for learning, genuine commitment to students, and innovative teaching, as one to take notes from when becoming a university professor. In both foundational courses, such as circuits, and advanced courses, such as digital signal processing, he has stimulated student interest to the point where they want to take on projects applying the subject matter they have learned.
Dr. Montserrat Rabago-Smith, an assistant professor of Chemistry/Biochemistry, is fully committed to student learning and development. She has made organic chemistry, which has a bad reputation as a both a “weed-out” and a “stepping stone” course, interesting and fun, which has increased the level of student success. Whether in her office, the campus center, or a student lounge she is always ready to help students even in classes she is not currently teaching. She is very active in teaching innovation and improvement and has been involved in a variety of educational projects. This has positively impacted courses in all aspects of Chemistry, Biology and Biochemistry.

Educational Scholar Award
Dr. El-Sayed also announced the winner of the Educational Scholar Award, which is bestowed upon a faculty member or a group of cooperating and coordinating faculty who have demonstrated excellence in educational or pedagogical research or scholarship. “This year’s recipient has been recognized for Outstanding Teaching several times, and is now being recognized for excellence as an Educational Scholar,” she said, presenting it to Dr. Brian McCartin, professor of Applied Mathematics.
“Prof. Brian McCartin’s outstanding expository article: "e: The Master of All" has earned him the Mathematical Association of America’s Chauvenet Prize, which has been described as the Pulitzer Prize of the Math World. Many of those who have received this award have “equations,” solution methodologies, or in the case of Flint native Steve Smale a set of challenging problems to be solved in the 21st Century. Professor McCartin’s work has led to cited improvements in teaching at and beyond Kettering University,” she added.

Faculty Distinguished Citizenship Award
Dr. El-Sayed said the Faculty Distinguished Citizenship Award is presented to honor a faculty member who serves the university through sustained engagement in activities such as leadership in departmental or university committees, participation in activities that contribute to the strategic mission of the university, activities that contribute to the recruitment, retention, and satisfaction of Kettering students, and performance in leadership positions in local, regional, state, national, and/or international professional organizations.  The founding award in this category went to Dr. Pete Gheresus two years ago.  Last year, the selection committee conferred no awards.
This year, two nominees were so deserving, after much deliberation, the selection committee gave two awards. The two faculty members honored with the Faculty Distinguished Citizenship Award are:

Dr. Henry Kowalski, professor of Mechanical Engineering, is a true ambassador for Kettering University, she said. “He is a friendly mentor to students, faculty, and even alumni. His efforts to ensure student success are limitless. He opens his labs to prospective students and their families and follows through– making sure they make a positive connection with Kettering. His efforts in FIRST Robotics are noteworthy and usually result in more than 500 inquiry cards per year. He has tirelessly served as an outstanding Kettering University Citizen for 46 years,” Dr. El-Sayed continued.
Dr. Laura Sullivan, professor of Mechanical Engineering, is a servant-citizen who strives to make every thing she is involved in better. “This includes her classes, the student organizations she advises, Kettering University, the local community and the world. She is always available to help a student, mentor a faculty or staff member, and serve on Kettering committees. Her efforts to bring service learning to Kettering, have resulted in numerous community service projects. Her work with Engineers Without Borders, and EWB-type design projects has had an international impact. She is an example for others to follow,” Dr. El-Sayed said.
Dr. Sullivan was unable to attend University Conference because she was at a conference to learn more about water distillation systems.  In her absence, freshman Kevin Kraul from Engineers Without Borders accepted the award on her behalf, Dr. El-Sayed explained.

Staff Awards
Ricky Brown of the Office of Multicultural Student Initiatives, who received an award last year, handed out this year’s Staff Award honors. Brown said nominations were received from every department on campus and that nominations were received from faculty, staff and students. The honorees and awards are:
2010 Pillar of Quality Award went to Aaron Grant, client/server data base analyst in IT. During just the past reporting period, he successfully closed 435 call tickets, many of which required extensive knowledge and understanding of the latest web, data base and server technologies.

2010 Pillar of Excellence Award went to Wayne Cole, senior systems administrator in IT. During the development of KqUest in 2009, Cole spent 36 hours during the weekend working from home developing an advanced E-Communication Module that is now a critical part of KqUest. Of the top major projects led by IT, he was a critical part of eight of them.

2010 Pillar of Service Award went to Sue Weiss, senior planned gifts officer in University Advancement. Brown said Kettering alumni compliment her superb listening skills and she is a positive force for Kettering. Her friendly “writing voice” reaches out to Kettering alumni, the single largest stakeholder group and draws them closer to the University. She has met with more than 200 individuals, face to face, this year alone, while spending more than 65 percent of her time on the road on behalf of Kettering.
Founded in 2006 by President Liberty, Kettering’s annual University Conference serves as an opportunity for updates on campus and socializing by faculty and staff members. This year’s event was chaired by Bonnie McArthur of University Advancement.