By: Teva Seale, University Relations Intern

UTC recently recognized the contributions and achievements of our outstanding faculty at the annual Faculty Awards Dinner.

“UTC is fortunate to have a loyal, dedicated, and passionate faculty who attempt every day, in and out of the classroom, to provide a first rate educational experience for our students,” said Provost Jearld Ainsworth. “Our faculty is what makes UTC a special place. Without their teaching, scholarly efforts, and service to our campus and community, the learning that is accomplished by our students would not be possible.”

The 2016 retirees were honored at the dinner for their service to the University. These individuals include:

  •      Betsy Alderman, Communication
  •      Richard Becherer, Business
  •      Michael Biderman, Psychology
  •      Bruce Hutchinson, Economics
  •      Ed McMahon, Engineering
  •      Caryl Taylor, Education
  •      Charles White, Business

Each year, the University of Tennessee Alumni Association recognizes two faculty members on each of the UT campuses for their outstanding teaching. The criteria for the award include competence in their academic disciplines, an ability to generate enthusiasm for the subject taught, and a willingness to devote time outside class to students. The 2016 UTAA Outstanding Teacher Awards went to Lani Gao, Mathematics, and Andrew McCarthy, English.

The Alumni Association also honors a faculty or staff member for outstanding public service. The 2016 UTAA Public Service Award went to Richard Brown, Executive Vice Chancellor for Finance, Operations, and Information Technology.

Each year, the Student Government Association selects an outstanding professor chosen by the student body for exemplary teaching skills and exceptional concern for students. The 2016 SGA Outstanding Professor was Hunter Holzhauer of Business, who received a monetary check, a plaque, and a picture hung on the wall in the University Center.

The Council of Scholars was established by the campus and the University of Chattanooga Foundation to honor outstanding scholarly endeavor. The 2016 Council of Scholar inductees included Dr. Lucas Van der Merwe, Mathematics, and Dr. Joey Shaw, Biology, Geology and Environmental Sciences.

The recipient of the 2016 Outstanding University Service Award was Gary MacDonald of Engineering, a long-time faculty member, serving UTC for 31 years. MacDonald has served as a judge for local mathematic competitions in middle and high schools, as an advisor to a national honor society, on 19 different University-wide committees, and as a faculty advisor to the society of Women Engineers, among many other instances of service. He is known for tirelessly serving students, faculty, and UTC.

There were two winners of the Outstanding Faculty Advising Award for 2016: Karen McGuffee, Legal Assistant Studies, and Nesli Alp, Engineering.

McGuffee provides the normal advising services for students enrolled in her program. The majority of these majors are full-time working professionals; therefore, she has to take into account their work, family, and additional scheduling conflicts that restrict when advising meetings can be scheduled.

Alp has been a faculty member for 17 years and, for much of that time, has been the primary advisor to undergraduate and graduate students in her program. During her time at UTC, she has initiated a group advisement process to supplement the individual advisement opportunities for students, established a Dean’s Student Advisory Council to garner student input., and, in 2015, she established two full time advisor positions for the college.

The recipient for Research and Creative Achievement Award was Mina Sartipi, Engineering and Computer Science. Sartipi serves as a reviewer for multiple journals in her discipline, served as a panelist for the National Science Foundation, and has averaged slightly more than 3 publications per year since 2008. In addition to these accomplishments, she secured funding for a Smart Communications and Analysis Lab, introduced an energy-efficient and reliable multicasting protocol for wireless and sensor networks, and has addressed real-world challenges for smart cities and urban futures.

Ralph Hood was the recipient of the 2016 Lifetime Research and Creative Achievement Award. Hood has been on faculty since 1971, during which time he has published 18 books, more than 50 chapters or encyclopedia entries, and over 150 peer-reviewed journal articles. He is not only a scholar in his own right, but a recognized expert in the psychology of religion. He currently holds two Templeton grants, totaling over a half million dollars.

This year’s recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award was Bento Lobo, Business. Lobo has been employed at UTC for 14 years. During that time, he has taught undergraduate students, graduate students, and executives in our region. Students routinely make the following type of comments: “An excellent instructor. He assigns a lot of real world work to students with the expectations of high quality work in return from students. He is constantly trying to get students to understand and make connections between what is learned in class and how it connects to the real world.” Another student commented, “This was a very challenging class. It was frustrating and difficult, but very rewarding.”

The recipient for the Outstanding Lecturer or Adjunct Teaching award was Julie Bage, Physical Therapy. Students’ comments very aptly sum up why she is respected and valued for the learning that occurs in the courses she teaches. For example, one student said, “She asked a lot of me, encouraged me, and made me face my fears. She was honest and hard on me when I needed it most, but then she went above and beyond to get me where I needed to be before clinic. I have so much respect for her.”

The Faculty Senate awards the Carolyn Thompson and Roger Brown Community Engagement Award annually to a faculty member for outstanding community service and engagement in the community. This honoree, Kenyon Wilson of Music, wrote a symphony honoring the five fallen military personnel killed in the shootings in Chattanooga in July 2015. The symphony has been played around the country and stands as a living memorial.

“Thank you to all of our faculty for everything you do for our students,” said Provost Ainsworth. “Students depend on you for your guidance, your mentorship, your leadership, and your knowledge.”

Thank you to the University of Chattanooga Foundation for supporting the evening.

Media Relations Contacts: Email Shawn Ryan or call (423) 425-4363.
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