USM Board of Regents Faculty Awards Presented

Adelphi, Md. (April 15, 2016) -- The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents at its meeting today announced the recipients of the 2016 USM Regents' Faculty Awards. The meeting was held at University of Maryland University College. 

The awards are the highest honor presented by the board to exemplary faculty members. Presented in four categories, the awards honor excellence in teaching, public service, mentoring, innovation, and a combined category of research, scholarship and creative activity.

Each award carries a $1,000 prize provided by the institutions and the University System of Maryland Foundation. Following are the 2016 Regents' Faculty Award recipients, listed by category:



Dr. Heather Gable, Chair of the Department of Nursing at Frostburg State University (FSU). Dr. Gable led in the development of FSU's online nursing curriculum. Under her leadership, the RN to BSN program at Frostburg has grown from five to almost 500 students during the past six years.  With the success of the RN to BSN program-which has received national recognition-Dr. Gable will lead the effort to implement a new Master's of Science in Nursing and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice.  In addition, Dr. Gable has secured grant funding to develop collaborative partnerships with community colleges.  Dr. Gable has been able to accomplish all this while maintaining excellent student evaluations.

Dr. Karen Hopkins, Associate Professor in the School of Social Work and Chair of the Faculty Executive Committee and Faculty Organization at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). Dr. Hopkins has excelled at teaching and mentoring her students in the School of Social Work. She has developed an innovative curriculum to enable students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to their professional activities. In addition, through a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, she has developed a program to recruit, train, and coach Master of Social Work students of color, which has garnered extremely positive feedback.  Dr. Hopkins also guides doctoral students through complex research projects and even works with alumni to ensure they are able to apply what they have learned in the classroom to their profession.

Dr. Jungho Kim, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). Dr. Kim teaches an amazing range of students and classes, from undergraduates in high enrollment lower-level required courses to small advanced classes of graduate students.  He also served as the faculty advisor to the mechanical engineering honor society and advisor to numerous undergraduate research projects.  Colleagues praise him for his exceptional ability to educate students in the fundamentals of the field, while infusing a passion for social responsibility in his students. His efforts have been acknowledged by student organizations and professional organizations alike. Currently, Dr. Kim is exploring new methods to teach students who need additional support in the traditional classroom setting.

Dr. Rommel Miranda, Associate Professor of Science Education in the Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences at Towson University (TU). Dr. Miranda has distinguished himself as a skilled educator with a passion for preparing exceptional science teachers. He is a skilled practitioner of active learning pedagogies, offering his students opportunities for hands-on investigations, engaging them in small group and whole class discussions, and guiding his students to think more deeply about the lesson content. Dr. Miranda taught the first class in the new Integrated STEM Instructional Leadership (PreK-6) Post Baccalaureate Certificate Program. This was a group of practicing teachers expanding their STEM education. Those attending this program were very positive about Dr. Miranda, calling him dynamic and knowledgeable.



Dr. Valli Meeks, Professor in the Department of Oncology and Diagnostic Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry and Director of the PLUS Clinic at UMB. Dr. Meeks has displayed an extraordinary commitment to oral health care both locally and internationally. She implemented the PLUS Program, a dedicated dental clinic in the School of Dentistry.  She also assisted in the creation and implementation of the Preparing for the Future (PTF) curriculum at the School of Dentistry, a nationally recognized service-learning curriculum that assembles both the professional and academic communities to address HIV. Dr. Meeks' humanitarian service extends into Rwanda, where she is developing a curriculum for the country's first dental school, and creating an oral health curriculum for a rural elementary school.

Dr. Anne Spence, Professor of the Practice, Mechanical Engineering, and Interim Director of the Center for Women in Technology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Dr. Spence has made significant contributions in the advancement of women and girls in STEM.

Most noteworthy is her outstanding leadership of Project Lead the Way (PLTW), a national organization that provides professional development for elementary, middle, and high school teachers, counselors, and administrators.  Under Dr. Spence's direction, Maryland's PLTW has trained approximately 300 teachers annually and is recognized as one of the top five programs of its kind in the United States. She recently launched public-private funding collaborations exceeding $600,000 with more than 30 foundations, businesses, and industry leaders as part of an initiative with the Maryland State Department of Education, which will help sustain PLTW.

Dr. Debra Stanley, Professor and Executive Director of the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Baltimore (UB). Dr. Stanley has excelled in the field of victim services for over a decade. Her leadership of the Roper Victim Assistance Academy of Maryland (RVAAM) has helped transform the quality of professional development and training of those who provided service to crime victims throughout Maryland. To date, more than 500 victim service professionals have received training from RVAAM.  Dr. Stanley's collaborations with local, state, and national representatives resulted in the creation of standards for a certification model for all victim service professionals in Maryland. Her advocacy, dedication, and expertise in victims' services has been honored with the Governor's Office of Crime Control & Prevention's "Outstanding Contributions to Victims Services" Award.

Dr. Jane Wolfson, Professor of Environmental Sciences and Studies in the Department of Biological Sciences at Towson University.Dr. Wolfson developed the Towson Opportunities in STEM (TOPS) program, a NSF-funded program to assist at-risk students from underserved Baltimore metropolitan schools to succeed in STEM degree programs at Towson. TOPS supplies peer, community, and academic support, as well as life skills training and financial assistance to students. TOPS is noted for its high retention and graduation rates. Dr. Wolfson is also Towson's lead investigator for a major NSF-funded multi-million dollar grant to the USM entitled Maryland Delaware Climate Literacy Education Assessment and Research (MADE-CLEAR). This project aims to integrate climate literacy into the curriculum in both Maryland and Delaware, particularly for pre-service teachers.



Dr. Paulinus Chigbu, a Professor in the Department of Natural Sciences and Director of the NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). Dr. Chigbu's students actively participate with him in the research experience and his students are recipients of the 2016 NOAA Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship and NSF Graduate Research Fellowship awards.  He also established the UMES summer bridge program for training high school students in geosciences, especially underrepresented minorities and female students. He has mentored UMES students through the Student Development Plan, specifically designed to enhance the academic, professional, and social development of student leaders. Dr. Chigbu relentlessly supports students to help them make a strong transition into university-level learning experiences. He assists undergraduate and graduate students in their pursuit of a career in geosciences.

Dr. Matthew Hemm, an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Towson University. Dr. Hemm has mentored 213 undergraduate students in course-based authentic research, 42 students in independent laboratory research, and 39 students in poster and oral presentations at professional meetings and conferences. He has also co-authored several publications with students. Dr. Hemm's work with CURE (Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience) has provided authentic, high-quality research for a large number of students. In 2014, he was awarded Honorable Mention at the Council on Undergraduate Research Biology Mentor Awards.  Dr. Hemm is remarkably accessible to students in his classes and laboratory, always helping young aspiring scientists cultivate the most important, transferable skills required for success beyond Towson University.

Dr. Russell Hill, a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Director of the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). In 2014, Dr. Hill established the Radcliffe Environmental Entrepreneur Fellow Program to cultivate entrepreneurial and leadership skills in graduate students through interactions with local business leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs. He also designed short courses to prepare students with leadership and business skills that draw a connection between their research and commercial industry.

Dr. Hill has helped students gain experience and confidence in areas outside of their area of specialization, building leadership qualities and preparing them for real-world business success.  His students refer to him as an "excellent ambassador for the sciences" who has inspired and valued everyone's input into the scientific discussion.

Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan, an Associate Professor and Director for the Negotiation and Conflict Management Graduate Program in the School of Public and International Affairs at UB. Dr. Sheehan is the recipient of the 2015 President's Faculty Award for Outstanding Contributions Related to Teaching, Research, and Service, and he was nominated for the Advisor of the Year Award for work with the Graduate Student Association. He has created a climate of mentorship that includes faculty, staff, and students supporting one another. Dr. Sheehan has brought students with him to academic conferences and policy meetings. He has developed a master-teacher mentorship program for adjunct faculty and a series of forums on promotion and tenure for junior faculty. Dr. Sheehan's work with the graduate student association has spurred an increase in student enrollment. His devotion to the program, faculty members, and students has been called legendary.



Dr. Hoda El-Sayed, a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and the Coordinator of Doctoral Programs for the Department of Computer Science at Bowie State University (BSU). Dr. El-Sayed's commitment to excellence in research and teaching has made her an outstanding addition to the Department of Computer Science. Her ability to write successful grants and work across department lines at Bowie has allowed her to secure state-of-the-art infrastructure for research and teaching. Dr. El-Sayed's grant from the Department of Defense for the purchase of a Cray XC40 Supercomputer, and her collaboration with Cray, have saved the institution hundreds of thousands of dollars while establishing a world-class advanced computing infrastructure used by the entire university community. Her passion and dedication for teaching and research make her an outstanding and innovative educator.                                                                                                          



Dr. Rebecca Adelman, Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Communication Studies at UMBC. Dr. Adelman is a prolific and accomplished scholar. Her scholarship on the visual culture of the Global War on Terror has broken important, new ground in the study of the politics and culture of post-9-11 America. Her publications in prestigious journals and her two books show an impressive depth of knowledge and mastery in relating her research. Dr. Adelman's book, "Beyond the Checkpoint: Visual Practices in America's Global War on Terror," published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 2014, has been called "a significant contribution to visual cultural studies" and is credited with helping scholars and students better understand these complex issues.

Dr. Ramani Duraiswami, a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies at UMCP. Dr. Duraiswami's work in the field of true three-dimensional surround sound has been deeply innovative and has had a major impact in academia and industry. He invented an ingenious device to record natural three-dimensional sound fields.  A colleague noted that Dr. Duraiswami has made "fundamental contributions to the understanding and simulation of human perception of 3D spatial audio."  The benefits of his research and scholarship extend beyond the university, leading to the creation of two start-up companies and its use in gaming software improvements. His work has resulted in many highly-cited publications, grants, and patents and offers a more sophisticated understanding of how humans "locate" sound.

Dr. Upal Ghosh, Professor in the Department of Chemical, Biochemical, and Environmental Engineering at UMBC. Dr. Ghosh studies the life cycle, effects, and remediation of toxic pollutants in the environment and their impact on human health. With the support of major grants from the National Institutes of Health, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Defense, he has developed transformative remediation technology, which allows activated carbon to be introduced in crucial environments. Dr. Ghosh's remediation technology is being adopted for use by the EPA, U.S. Navy, and Lockheed Martin. He has received several awards in his field of study, published extensively, received several large grants, and was recently highlighted in a cover-page article in "Environmental Science and Technology," a top journal in this field.

Dr. Hany Sobhi, Associate Professor of Organic and Clinical Chemistry in the Department of Natural Sciences at Coppin State University (CSU). Dr. Sobhi's groundbreaking research into metabolic pathways and processes has opened new avenues to metabolic disorder diagnosis methodology, as well as new trends for dental and orthopedic therapy. The outcome of his work is expected to have broad implications in clinical dentistry and bone tissue engineering.

Dr. Sobhi is also the founding director of the Coppin Center for Organic Synthesis, which performs cutting edge research. He regularly integrates students into his work, fostering the future development of leaders in STEM. His publications, awards, and cutting-edge research have earned him the high regard of his colleagues and peers.

(Content for this summary of Regents Faculty Awards winners drafted by Paul Stackpole, USM Communications Office.)



Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719