Faculty members honored with Awards of Distinction

woman holding a bouquet of flowers surrounded by colleagues and students

Sherri Silverberg, lecturer in the Dhaliwal-Reidy School of Accountancy, holds a bouquet of flowers after being announced as the winner of the Margaret M. Briehl and Dennis T. Ray Five Star Faculty Award.

The University has named the winners of the 2024 Awards of Distinction, presented to faculty members to honor excellence in areas including teaching, leadership, innovation and mentoring.

"The awardees' remarkable work positively impacts the lives of students, colleagues and communities locally, nationally and internationally," wrote Ronald Marx, interim senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, and Andrea Romero, vice provost for faculty affairs, in a May 8 announcement of the awards. "At the same time, it pushes the frontiers of knowledge on a global scale."

The awards are presented by the Office of the Provost, the W.A. Franke Honors College, the Graduate College, the Postdoctoral Affairs office and the GIFT Center at the University of Arizona Foundation.

A recognition event is planned for next spring.

This year's honorees are listed below.

University Distinguished Awards

University Distinguished Professor Award
Robert Fleischman | Professor, Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Mechanics

The University Distinguished Professor Award was created in 1995 by President Manuel Pacheco to recognize faculty members who have a long-term commitment to undergraduate education and have made outstanding contributions at the University of Arizona. In addition to the title of University Distinguished Professor, the award carries a $5,000 increase to base salary.

University Distinguished Outreach Faculty Award
Marcela Vásquez-León | Director, Center for Latin American Studies, and Professor, School of Anthropology

The University Distinguished Outreach Faculty awards recognize outstanding faculty members whose scholarship-based outreach to the state, nation and world has demonstrated sustained excellence in the University's outreach mission. In addition to the title of University Distinguished Outreach Faculty, the award carries a $5,000 increase to base salary.

Distinguished Head/Director's Award
Buell Jannuzi | Department Head and Professor, Department of Astronomy, and Director, Steward Observatory
Chris Castro | Interim Department Head and Professor, Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences

The Distinguished Head/Director's Award recognizes outstanding performance by an academic department head or director. Honorees receive a citation from the president and provost as well as a $1,000 prize.

University Distinguished Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award
Joseph Valacich | Muzzy Endowed Chair and Professor, Department of Management Information Systems

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award recognizes an individual who has made exceptional contributions at the University by demonstrating significant impact in any aspect of research, commercialization or education through innovation and/or entrepreneurship. The distinguished award comes with a $5,000 prize.

University Faculty Service Award
Laura Hollengreen | Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, and Associate Professor, School of Architecture
Leila Hudson | Associate Professor, School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies

This award, created in 2022, recognizes faculty members who have made exceptional contributions to the University's service mission within their department or college, across campus or in their scholarly community. The award includes a $7,500 prize.

Henry and Phyllis Koffler Prize (Teaching)
Lisa Elfring | Vice Provost for Assessment, Teaching and Technology, and Biology Education Specialist, University Center for Assessment, Teaching and Technology

This award, made possible by donations from late President Emeritus Henry Koffler and his wife, Phyllis, recognizes outstanding accomplishments in three categories: teaching; research, scholarship and creative activity; and public service and outreach. The award is given in only one category each year. This year's award is for teaching. The award comes with a $10,000 prize, a medallion and a certificate.

Mid-career and Early Career Distinguished Faculty Awards

Distinguished Scholar Award
Elise Gornish | Associate Restoration Ecology Specialist, School of Natural Resources and the Environment

This award recognizes outstanding mid-career faculty members for innovations in their disciplines and contributions to teaching, research and outreach at the University. The award includes a $10,000 prize.

Early Career Scholar Award
Harris Kornstein | Assistant Professor, Department of Public and Applied Humanities
Michelle Berry | Assistant Professor, Department of History

This award recognizes early-career faculty members at the forefront of their disciplines for highly valued contributions to teaching, creative activity and service. The award includes a $5,000 prize.

Teaching Awards

Gerald J. Swanson Prize for Teaching Excellence
Afrooz Jalilzadeh | Assistant Professor, Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering
Carrie Langley | Assistant Professor of Practice, Department of Sociology
Teresa Rosano | Assistant Professor of Practice, School of Architecture
Hal Tharp | Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

This award, which recognizes excellence in undergraduate teaching, was created through a gift from the Thomas R. Brown Foundation in honor of Gerald J. Sawnson, professor emeritus of economics. The award includes a $5,000 prize.

University of Arizona Foundation Leicester and Kathryn Sherrill Creative Teaching Award
Robert Stephan | Associate Professor of Practice, Department of Religious Studies and Classics

This award, presented by the University of Arizona Foundation, recognizes excellence in the art of teaching at all levels, with particular emphasis on the undergraduate level. The award includes a $2,500 prize and a plaque placed in the Donna Swaim Honors Lounge in the Student Union Memorial Center.

Distinguished Mentor Award
Daniela Triadan | Professor, School of Anthropology

This award recognizes outstanding tenured or continuing-status faculty members at the full professor rank who have mentored early-career faculty members and made highly valued contributions to the mentoring of graduate students. The award comes with a $5,000 prize.

Graduate Student Peer Mentors Award
University of Arizona History Graduate Association (Andrew Wishersham, president; Liliana Toledo Guzan, vice president; Johanne Harrigan, secretary; Zelin Pei, treasurer; Samantha Goodrich, marketing)

This award recognizes outstanding graduate students who provide peer mentoring to other graduate students to help them persist toward their degree, progress in their program or engage in scholarly activities in order to achieve success within their program. The award includes a $1,000 prize.

Mentoring Future Scholars Award
Hayriye Kayi-Aydar | Associate Professor, Department of English
Jessica Rainbow | Associate Professor, Advanced Nursing Practice and Science Division

This award recognizes faculty mentors who are extraordinary in their mentoring of graduate students toward becoming future scholars. The award includes a $2,000 prize.

The award below was presented by the W.A. Franke Honors College on April 30.

The Margaret M. Briehl and Dennis T. Ray Five Star Faculty Award
Sherri Silverberg, Lecturer, Dhaliwal-Reidy School of Accountancy

The Five Star Faculty Award, established in 1983, is the only Universitywide teaching award whose honoree is chosen by undergraduates. Each year, a committee of students reviews nominations and interviews finalists before selecting a winner. The award includes a $2,000 prize. Silverberg was recognized May 9 at the W.A. Franke Honors College convocation.

Read about this year's staff Awards for Excellence winners and the 2023 Awards of Distinction honorees in previous Lo Que Pasa stories.


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