USM Board of Regents Announces Winners of Annual Faculty Awards

System’s Highest Faculty Honor Recognizes Outstanding Mentoring, Teaching, Public Service, and Scholarship

Baltimore, Md. (March 13, 2023) – The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents is honoring 19 members of its faculty at institutions across the system as recipients of the 2023 USM Regents’ Faculty Awards.

The awards are the highest honor presented by the board to exemplary faculty members. The awards honor excellence in the following categories: Mentoring; Teaching; Public Service; Scholarship or Research; and Creative Activity.

Institutional faculty nominating committees make recommendations to the institutional presidents, who review nominations and supporting material and forward recommendations to USM Chancellor Jay A. Perman. The Regents Faculty Review Committee makes the final recommendations.

Chancellor Perman and Board of Regents Chair Linda Gooden will recognize the winners as part of the scheduled meeting of the full board on April 14 at Coppin State University.

“It’s a privilege each year to pay tribute to our outstanding faculty,” said USM Chancellor Jay A. Perman. “The impact of their teaching, their discovery, their scholarship and service simply can’t be overstated. That our winners have distinguished themselves among tens of thousands of their faculty colleagues across the System makes this a rare honor and proves just how meaningful are their accomplishments. I’m so grateful for their work.”

Each award carries a $2,000 prize provided by the institutions and the University System of Maryland Foundation.


University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP)–Michel Cukier: Professor of Reliability Engineering, A. James Clark School of Engineering. Dr. Cukier revolutionized cybersecurity education when he created the Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students (ACES) Living and Learning Program (LLP) in 2013.  This Honors College program was the nation’s first LLP to focus on cybersecurity and features a mentoring infrastructure that provides students with multidisciplinary, team-based, experiential learning. More than 600 students have participated in the ACES LLP, with another 250 having enrolled in the ACES Minor.  

The capstone of Dr. Cukier’s work is CyberConnect, a multi-tiered mentoring program through which ACES LLP and ACES Minor students are matched with cybersecurity professionals to explore the cybersecurity field and build relationships.

Dr. Cukier has created a unique, multidisciplinary, successful program for educating the nation’s future cybersecurity leaders.

Towson University (TU)Min Deng: Professor, Fisher College of Science and Mathematics. The Society of Actuaries (SOA) has designated Towson University as one of 20 U.S. Centers of Actuarial Excellence, based on the number of TU students who pass SOA’s professional exams.

As both director of the undergraduate program in Actuarial Science and Risk Management and creator and director of the Master’s in Actuarial Science and Predictive Analytics, Dr. Deng has been key to this success. She aligned curriculum to SOA standards. Her department offers a series of mentoring and tutoring sessions. As an example of the impact, the student pass rate on two actuarial professional exams increased from 41 percent to 87 percent. As a professor, advisor, and mentor, Dr Deng has made her students’ success a priority.

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES)–Eric Schott: Associate Professor, UMCES Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET). Dr. Schott is a marine ecologist whose research focuses on understanding aquatic health, specifically the discovery and tracking of pathogens in blue crab and other shellfish. He collaborates with numerous researchers and stakeholders to monitor the health and biodiversity of the Baltimore Harbor.

As project director of the NOAA-Educational Partnership Program’s Living Marine Resource Cooperative Science Center (LMRCSC), Dr. Schott supports graduate students from underrepresented groups, preparing them for careers in marine environmental science research, management, and policy. Additionally, Dr. Schott excels across the full spectrum of mentoring, sharing his passion for environmental research with high school, undergraduate, and graduate students, ensuring a rigorous, enduring, and life-changing experience.

Towson University (TU)–Stella Tomasi: Professor of Business Analytics and Technology Management and Director of Industry Outreach. Dr. Tomasi is committed to advising, encouraging, and mentoring students—especially underrepresented students—while also expanding opportunities.

She created and organized three TU Data Analytics competitions, attracting over 200 student participants from five TU colleges. She collaborated with student leaders to establish the TU Data and Visualization Group and the Towson University Consulting Group, serving as faculty advisor for both. Her efforts extend beyond TU and include outreach efforts that have inspired more than 75 girls in Grades 6-thru-12 to consider STEM careers. And she has mentored more than 100 girls in Grades 6 through college.

Dr. Tomasi creates learning opportunities, secures scholarship funding, promotes job and internship opportunities, and provides guidance to students and colleagues alike.


University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB)–Susan Bindon: Associate Professor, University of Maryland School of Nursing. Dr. Bindon wears many hats at the School of Nursing. She is a director, an associate professor, an associate dean, and more. 

The nursing faculty shortage is a key driver in the nation’s and Maryland’s nursing shortage.  Dr. Bindon promotes a new nursing pedagogy with a critical focus on nurse engagement, professional development, and mentoring through teaching, scholarship, and service. By focusing on teaching, she helps expert or professional nurses become new or better nurse educators.

Dr. Bindon is highly regarded for her innovative approaches to teaching and her ability to coach and mentor both seasoned and novice faculty to improve student learning.   She is considered a role model in her own right for excellence and innovative teaching.

Salisbury University–Jeni Davis: Associate Professor of Early and Elementary Education. Dr. Davis is an outstanding teacher educator. Her expertise in curriculum development enables her to create experiences that help students make the necessary connections between the teacher preparation program and their clinical experiences. 

She presents ideas that encourage students to challenge their previous understanding of science education by intentionally weaving clinical experiences into university courses. This allows Dr. Davis to assess students’ instructional decisions and pedagogical moves.

She also arranges for SU students to facilitate class discussions, make sense of—and support—elementary school students’ scientific explanations, and design elementary school science learning experiences.

Towson University (TU)Mariana Lebrón: Associate Professor of Management. Dr. Lebrón is the first Latina to receive her Ph.D. in Business Administration from Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management. Her accomplishments in teaching and innovative course design have been acknowledged with awards, publications, presentations, and invited consultations.

Dr. Lebron’s focus on active student engagement in the teaching and learning process can be seen in her Cooperative Leadership Strategy Game Project. With input and feedback from industry experts, students incorporate the leadership concepts taught in class—including negotiation, decision making, creative problem-solving, and project management—to design and build strategy games where players must work together to win. To date, the project has resulted in the creation of over 36 unique cooperative strategy games.

Bowie State University (BSU)Sumanth Reddy: Assistant Professor of Geography and Coordinator of the Geography minor program in the Department History & Government. Dr. Reddy broadens his students’ critical understanding of the principles and importance of geography by bringing the outside world into the classroom, demonstrating geography’s relevance to everyday life.  He uses pictures, videos, and experiential learning—taking students to important historical sites, monuments, and other locations. He is also a strong advocate for study abroad opportunities.

These active learning exercises require a strong student-teacher relationships and Dr. Reddy’s lesson plans always consciously center students through active student engagement.  For Dr. Reddy, the instructor-learner relationship is urgent and intentional. He establishes and maintains relationships with his students, using different teaching methods to reach different students.


Bowie State University (BSU)–Charles Adams: Professor and Chair, Department of Criminal Justice. While dedicated to BSU, Dr. Charles Adams is also a leader in the broader community, committed to social justice, self-reliance, and social responsibility.
He founded the Institute for Restorative Justice and Practices to provide comprehensive training, educational opportunities, and resources to nearby schools and other groups. In 2018, he became the Second Chance Pell contact person at Bowie State, delivering remedial and skills courses to Jessup Correctional Institute.  In his own words, the mission of prison education programs is to change and possibly transform the lives of young offenders through education and re-socialization.

His service to the university and to the Second Chance program make a major difference in his community and in the state of Maryland.

University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES)–Dennis Klima: Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy & Health Professions. Along with his work as a professor and physical therapist at UMES, Dr. Klima works to enhance the safety and quality of life of older adults in Delmarva, while improving rehabilitation efforts internationally.

Dr. Klima works with the “Stepping On” falls prevention program, serves as chair of the Wicomico County Commission on Aging, and has worked with adults with dementia in the Life Bridges Program in Salisbury.

Internationally, he has traveled to Nairobi, Kenya to present physical therapists with a neuromuscular intensive workshop for patients with stroke, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injury.  He also worked with physical therapists in the Caribbean following Hurricane Maria.

Dr. Klima’s efforts have improved public health in his community and beyond.

University of Baltimore (UBalt)Tiffaney Parkman: Senior Lecturer in the College of Public Affairs.
Thousands of Baltimore residents, many of them children in underserved communities, have benefited from Dr. Parkman's commitment to public service.  As president of the Psi Phi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, she has led vaccine drives, voter registration efforts, SAT preparation programs, tree plantings, food drives, and other community-centered activities.

As a UBalt faculty member, she was an early volunteer to work with the students in the University's Second Chance Pell program at Jessup. As program director for the undergraduate degree in Human Services Administration, she was instrumental in helping to build a degree program to be delivered in full at the prison. Dr. Parkman has a distinguished record of engagement in her classes by helping UBalt capstone students design community-based service learning projects in Baltimore.

Mayor Brandon Scott and the City Council have recognized Dr. Parkman’s impressive record of service.

Salisbury University (SU)–Corinne Pubill: Professor of Spanish and Chair of Modern Languages. The Eastern Shore has witnessed significant growth in its Hispanic population. For years, Dr. Pubill has been an accessible outlet to this community.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, she was on the front lines, offering translation services for those with limited English proficiency. In full PPE, she worked with vulnerable populations in the community struggling with disparities stemming from the intersections of geographic, language, age, gender, and socio-economic factors.

She is an inspiration to Salisbury University students, encouraging their involvement with local organizations like the Lower Shore Vulnerable Populations Task Force.


University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)–Charissa Cheah: Professor in the Department of Psychology. Dr. Cheah has achieved national and international prominence for her impactful scholarship on factors that influence the social-emotional development and physical health of children and adolescents, particularly in marginalized communities.

In the last three years, Dr. Cheah has been at the forefront of efforts to include the voices, experiences, and perspectives of Asian American communities in discourse on child development, parenting, marginalization, and discrimination. She has also worked to strengthen cross-racial coalitions addressing racial and health inequities.

Dr. Cheah is a Fellow of three psychological scientific organizations (the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development.) Federal agencies and foundations have funded her work.

Dr. Cheah's work has been shaping the national discourse on anti-Asian racism. She has been interviewed by The New York Times, Washington Post, Science Magazine, and others. And in March 2022, she was elected president-elect of the Society for Research on Adolescence. She will serve as president-elect for two years and take on the role of president in 2024.

In so many ways, Dr. Cheah is a scholar for the public good.

Towson University (TU)–Paz Galupo: Professor of Psychology. An expert on LGBTQ research focused on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, Dr. Galupo’s innovative research is at the intersection of sexual orientation and gender diversity.

Dr. Galupo is among the top recipients of external grants at Towson University, receiving nearly $4 million from the NIH, NSF, and National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Dr. Galupo serves as the Editor-in-Chief for two top journals: the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity and the Journal of Bisexuality. They also serve as an associate editor for the International Journal of Transgender Health.

In recent years Dr. Galupo has received five prestigious national awards, published 99 peer-reviewed articles, edited three books, and provided dozens of keynote addresses.

University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)–Anupam Joshi: Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. Dr. Joshi is an accomplished scholar, widely recognized as an international leader in cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.

A Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE), last year he won an IEEE Senior Researcher Award.  Earlier this year, he was named a Fellow of the International Cyber Security Center of Excellence, a US-UK-Japan collaborative research organization.

Dr. Joshi has published nearly 300 peer-reviewed articles, secured nine U.S. patents, and garnered over $22 million in competitive extramural research funding.

In addition, working with industry and government, he helped translate technology created in his lab to two Maryland startups, both founded by African American entrepreneurs.

University of Baltimore (UBalt)–Ting Zhang: Associate Professor of Economics and the Harry Y. Wright Chair in Research. Dr. Zhang is an accomplished researcher, scholar, and recognized thought leader in the areas of workforce development, entrepreneurship, aging, and digitization.  Much of her research illuminates the needs of underrepresented populations, including older workers, adult learners, and ex-offenders.

She has been awarded over $9 million in funding, received numerous prestigious awards for her research and scholarship, and holds a U.S. Department of Labor Research Fellowship.

She is not only a scholar but a sought-after policy expert and advisor for many national and state labor, economic, and entrepreneurship projects.  She has contributed tremendous value to Maryland's labor and economic analysis and was selected to lead the evaluation of career and technical education for the Blueprint for Maryland's Future.


University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES)–Shaochung Victor Hsia: Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Dr. Hsia is an internationally recognized expert in numerous fields, including virology, molecular biology, and biochemistry.

He is a driving force for biomedical research at UMES.  Dr. Hsia was the principal investigator on the very first National Institutes of Health R01 grant awarded to UMES. Last year, he helped secure a prestigious 5-year, multi-million-dollar grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to address diversity, equity, and inclusion in support of STEM education and career readiness. UMES was one of only six universities—and the only HBCU—to receive this award.

Driven by his enthusiasm for advancing science education and research, Dr. Hsia is leading efforts to engage a diverse community of scientists and educators to support discovery and creative solutions. 

Bowie State University (BSU)–Monifa Love: Professor in the Department of English, Literature and Cultural Studies and Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. In addition to being moving and creative, Dr. Love’s works are often daring, presenting new ways of thinking about history, memory, and community.

Her poetry is a form of scholarship, facilitating conversations about art, writing, politics, and Black consciousness. She has a distinguished publication history, with publication in several national journals. Dr. Love’s choral work was published in New Letters and nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Her novel, Freedom in the Dismal—a complex story of the suppression and eventual liberation—is being translated into German and French for publication in Europe, indicating global impact of her work. Most recently, Dr. Love co-edited and wrote the introduction to Speculations on Black Life, which was published in early 2023.

Salisbury University (SU)–John Wesley Wright: Professor of Music. Dr. Wright creates a bridge between the study of music and the modern world – focusing on the use of vocal music to illuminate and untangle complex social issues.

He created the Les Mis Projects at two Ohio Correctional Institutions, providing onsite vocal coaching to inmates, assisted by SU students. When SU experienced racist graffiti incidents, Dr. Wright used his artform to respond.  His showcase—From Ship to Shore: Celebrating 400 Years of Resilience Through Music—became a crucial mechanism for healing.

The insurrection of January 6th inspired Dr. Wright to create Songs of Courage, Freedom, and Justice. Using freedom songs, spirituals, ring shouts, and gospel music, Dr. Wright’s art reflects on history while responding to current challenges.

The USM comprises 12 institutions: Bowie State University; Coppin State University; Frostburg State University; Salisbury University; Towson University; the University of Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science; the University of Maryland, College Park; the University of Maryland Eastern Shore; and the University of Maryland Global Campus. The USM also includes three regional centers—the Universities at Shady Grove, the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown, and the University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland—at which USM universities offer upper-division undergraduate and graduate courses.

USM institutions and programs are among the nation's best in quality and value according to several national rankings. To learn more about the University System of Maryland, visit To learn about the new USM Strategic Plan, “Vision 2030: From Excellence to Preeminence,” visit


Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719