UNL honors faculty with professorships, teaching, research awards

Released on 04/02/2013, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Sunday, Apr. 14, 2013

WHERE: Lied Center for Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th Street

Lincoln, Neb., April 2nd, 2013 —

            The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has conferred university professorships on seven faculty members. They will be recognized at the All-University Honors Convocation on April 14 at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. Also to honored are 14 faculty awarded for their distinguished teaching, and two others for teaching, service and research.

            Professorships were conferred to Evgeny Tsymbal, Donald Becker, Hong Jiang, Joy Castro, Myra Cohen, Stephen Ramsay and Jay Storz.

            Tsymbal was named a George W. Holmes University Professor of Physics and Astronomy. Tsymbal, director of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, joined UNL in 2002. His research focuses on computational materials science aiming at the understanding of fundamental properties of advanced ferromagnetic and ferroelectric nanostructures and materials relevant to nanoelectronics and spintronics.

            The Holmes University Professorship carries a $15,000 stipend and is supported by endowed funds at the University of Nebraska Foundation. Named university professorships are awarded based on a record of extraordinary scholarly or creative achievement and potential for continuing major accomplishments; documented evidence of excellence in teaching and outreach; and extensive involvement in service to the various university missions above the normal level of campus citizenship.

            "University professorships recognize faculty who have had a significant impact on the university in addition to fulfilling their normal academic responsibilities," said Sunil Narumalani, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs. "These faculty have been greatly responsible for improving the quality with which UNL serves its students, academia and the community."

            Becker and Jiang were named Willa Cather/Charles Bessey professors.

            Becker, Charles Bessey Professor of Biochemistry, joined UNL in 2003 and is director of the Redox Biology Center. He trained at UNL as a postdoctoral fellow from 1995 to 1998. After beginning his career as an assistant professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Becker was recruited back to UNL as founding member of the center.

            Jiang, Willa Cather Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, has been associated with UNL since 1991 and was vice chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering from 2001 to 2007. He holds a bachelor's degree from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China; a master's degree from the University of Toronto and a doctoral degree from Texas A&M University.

            The Willa Cather/Charles Bessey professorship honors a full professor with an exceptional record of distinguished scholarship or creative activity and carries a $5,000 stipend.

            Castro, Cohen, Ramsay and Storz were awarded Susan J. Rosowski professorships, which recognize faculty at the associate professor level who have achieved distinguished records of scholarship or creative activity and who show exceptional promise for future excellence. The appointment carries a $3,000 stipend.

            "The university was happy to support all four Rosowski nominations received this year and demonstrates the importance of the contributions from our young faculty," Narumalani said.

            Castro was named Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professor of English. Castro, who joined UNL in 2007, earned her bachelor's degree in English at Trinity University in San Antonio and her master's and doctoral degrees at Texas A&M. Her critically acclaimed memoir, "The Truth Book," has been widely adopted for courses at major universities.

            Cohen was named Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering. She joined UNL in 2004 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2010. She has been recognized for teaching and research and received Nebraska FIRST awards in 2005 and 2006, a UNL Layman award in 2007, the UNL Computer Science and Engineering Department's undergraduate teaching awards in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and was named an "Academic Star" by the UNL College of Arts and Science in 2010.

            Ramsay was named Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professor of English. He joined UNL in 2005 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2008. He earned his bachelor's degree in English at Rutgers University and master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Virginia. Ramsay is a specialist in digital humanities who specializes in studying theoretical formulations and electronic methodologies for the humanities in the digital age.

            Storz was named Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professor of Biological Sciences. Storz joined UNL as an assistant professor in 2005 and was promoted to associate professor in 2011. His research is on the genetic basis of adaptive evolutionary change, making the connection between changes in the DNA sequence of genes and the alterations that result in the proteins encoded by those genes.

            Faculty earning 2013 College Awards for Distinguished Teaching:

  • College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources: Lloyd Bell, professor of agricultural leadership, education and communication.
  • College of Arts and Sciences: Sarah Gervais, assistant professor of psychology; Roland Vegso, assistant professor of English; Lisa Kort-Butler, assistant professor of sociology; Isabel Maria Velazquez, assistant professor of modern languages and literatures; Stephen Ramsay, associate professor of English.
  • College of Business Administration: Geoffrey Friesen, associate professor of finance.
  • College of Education and Human Sciences: Martha Horvay, assistant professor of textiles, merchandising and fashion design; Julia Torquati, associate professor of child, youth and family studies; James Griesen, professor of educational administration.
  • College of Engineering: Curtis Weller, professor of biological systems engineering; Roger Sash, associate professor of computer and electronics engineering.
  • College of Journalism and Mass Communications: Stacy James, senior lecturer of journalism and mass communications.
  • Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts: Aaron Holz, associate professor of art and art history.


            The following faculty received awards for distinguished teaching, service and research:

  • Daniel Toundykov, assistant professor of mathematics, received the Harold and Esther Edgerton Junior Faculty Award. The award is in recognition of creative research, extraordinary teaching and academic promise. Toundykov joined UNL in 2007 as a research assistant professor and was hired as an assistant professor in 2010. His research is in the field of nonlinear evolutionary partial differential equations. In addition to his research accomplishments, he maintains a strong dedication to his students, both in and out of the classroom.
  • Diane Barger, professor of music, received the Annis Chaikin Sorensen Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Humanities. Barger joined UNL in 1994, received promotion and tenure to associate professor in 2000 and was promoted to full professor in 2007. She was named a Hixson-Lied Distinguished Professor in 2011. As an award-winning teacher of clarinet, Barger finds ways to blend teaching with creative activities to engage her students.

Writer: Steve Smith

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