More than 20 outstanding faculty members at the University of Maryland University College were honored for their contributions to scholarship and teaching at UMUC’s annual Academic Achievement Celebration on May 15.
The awards highlight “our commitment to teaching people how to turn knowledge into action and empowering people to achieve personal growth and professional success, which stands at the core of our mission as an institution of higher learning,” said Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Marie Cini in the ceremony’s opening remarks.
In congratulating the winners, UMUC President Javier Miyares said, “I am well aware that teaching is not your only responsibility.” Among other responsibilities, faculty honorees oversee academic programs, develop curricula, coach other faculty, and serve on committees that are critical to the institution. And adjunct faculty balance excellence in teaching with demanding professional lives.
Said Miyares, “Tonight, we honor you for making the success of our students your top priority. You are the heart and soul of our university, and the commitment, thought, expertise and creativity that you demonstrate in the classroom sets an example for our faculty around the world.”
Drazek Award Winners
The Stanley J. Drazek Teaching Excellence Award recognizes effective and innovative teaching methods. Faculty are nominated for the award by students and selected by their fellow faculty members. The award is named after the University’s second president, who was a champion of teaching excellence.
In nominating Drazek winner Susan Malone of The Graduate School, one of her students said, “She sets her students up for success from day one by providing the necessary tools to ensure that everyone succeeds.” Malone teaches in the Business and Executive Programs department.
Juan Pablo Stegmann, the second Drazek winner also teaches in The Graduate School’s Business and Executive Programs department. He was recognized by his students for helping “us better grasp concepts and showing us how they apply in the real world, and then encouraging us to think critically about how to apply them on our own.
Drazek winners from the Undergraduate School were Dr. Irina Vlasova and Dr. Andrew Feldman. Vlasova, who teaches in the Finance and Economics department, has been a member of the faculty for 11 years and earns praise for being highly involved with her students and making sure they are comfortable with the material she teaches.
Feldman, with UMUC for 10 years, teaches Advanced Business Writing as a member of the Communication, Arts and Humanities department. According to one of his students, he “is easily the most involved instructor I’ve ever had with an online course. He takes an active interest in ensuring that learning takes place and that students improve in their writing ability.”
Teaching Recognition Awards
In addition to the Drazek awards, students also nominate faculty for the Teaching Recognition Awards, which went to Divaker Pathak, James Brinksma, Donald Denton, Karl Lloyd, Ikbal Memmon, Charlene Nunley, Barry Sponder, and Tom Trittipo of The Graduate School.
Undergraduate School awardees were: Matthew Bobrowsky, Duane Jarc, Norman Rothman, Edwin Sapp, Maggie Smith, Donald Rider, Cyril Svoboda, and Dennis Whitford.
USM Regents Award
Patrick W. Fitzgibbons, a collegiate professor in the Cybersecurity Department, The Graduate School, received the prestigious University System of Maryland Board of Regents Faculty Award.
Fitzgibbons, praised as one of UMUC’s most outstanding teachers, one student remarked, “This instructor is nothing short of phenomenal. He is extremely knowledgeable, and at the same time also personable and accessible.” Said another, “He loves teaching, and it shows.”
Dr. Jay Leibowitz, UMUC’s Orkand Endowed Chair, received the Fullbright Canada Specialist Award for American Scholars. The Canada-U.S. Fulbright Program strengthens collaboration between researchers in Canada and the United States and promotes public debate on topics that reflect the relationship between the two countries.
The Sloan Consortium Outstanding Online Program Award went to James Coker and Rana Khan of UMUC’s Master of Science in Biotechnology program. Dr. Coker leads courses such as “Biotechnology Management” and “Biotech Regulatory Affairs,” and received accolades for the efforts he makes to stay in touch with his students.
Dr. Khan developed a highly successful mentoring program where selected students were paired with industry mentors for the entire degree program.
Rosemary Hartigan was presented with the Mid-Atlantic Region Outstanding Faculty Award from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association. Known as UPCEA, this organization is a leading association for the field of professional, continuing and online education. Professor Hartigan is currently associate chair of the business and executive programs department and director of the one-year MBA program here at UMUC. She has demonstrated a particularly sharp ability to ensure that the individual elements of a course all tie together while making the material engaging for students.