University presents top research, teaching awards
University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken today announced the 2008 winners of the university’s most prestigious awards for research, teaching and engagement.

"These annual awards recognize the outstanding quality of faculty we have at the University of Nebraska," Milliken said. "This is an important opportunity for the university to acknowledge and highlight faculty excellence in both teaching and research."

Research

Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Award (ORCA): recognizes individual faculty members for research and creative activity of international or national significance.

Dr. Fred Luthans, George Holmes Distinguished Professor of Management, Department of Management, College of Business Administration, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Dr. Vadim Gladyshev, Ph.D, Charles Bessey Professor, Department of Biochemistry and the Center for Biological Chemistry, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; and Director of the Redox Biology Center

Dr. Luthans, who has long brought a sense of energy and passion to his work, is known as the founding father of the field of Organizational Behavior, the largest division in the National Academy of Management as well as a core area taught in every business school in the world. A true pioneer in his field, Luthans is one of the very first scholars to apply behavioral science to the management of human resources in the workplace. His book, "Organizational Behavior," now in its 11th edition, is generally considered the first text in the field. More recently, Luthans has been applying positive psychology to the workplace – in what he calls positive organizational behavior and psychological capital – which focuses on building human strengths at work rather than only managing weaknesses. Luthans also boasts a steady stream of top-tier publications, and has been named among the Top Five published authors of the prestigious Academy of Management Journal and the Academy of Management Review.

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Dr. Gladyshev has documented, sustained and amassed an astounding record of distinguished achievements in research and discovery in the general areas of experimental biochemistry, computational biology and biomedical redox biology at UNL. He has rapidly become one of the most widely and highly recognized experts in the world on the biochemical and bioinformatics analysis of selenocysteine-containing proteins, new knowledge that has implications in the areas of human health, developmental biology and aging. Few scientists, in such a brief span of time, have had this kind of dramatic impact on our understanding of genetic organization. Gladyshev also serves as Director of the Redox Biology Center, which enriches all of the scientific research effort throughout the university. Further, he has had incredible success in securing highly competitive federal funding in support of his multi-faceted research program, including a recent $10.8 million competitive renewal of the Redox Biology Center’s federal funding from the National Institutes of Health.

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Teaching

Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award (OTICA): recognizes individual faculty members for sustained records of excellence in teaching.

Dr. Donna Dufner, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Information Systems and Quantitative Analysis in the College of Information Science and Technology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha

Dr. Theresa A. Wadkins, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology in the College of Natural and Social Sciences at the University of Nebraska at Kearney

Dr. Dufner exemplifies the qualities of an exceptional university teacher with her superior academic knowledge, innovative teaching methods, caring attitude toward her students and scholarly activity. She is an imaginative, devoted and resourceful teacher committed to her students and her community. But she is perhaps most recognized for exploring new and impressive service learning courses, ways to integrate community service into valuable learning experiences for her students. For example, Dufner created an Information Science and Quantitative Analysis course that brings UNO students to south Omaha to help small business entrepreneurs improve their information management and marketing skills. In another educational experience, Dufner developed a course in which her students teach basic literacy skills to inmates at the Douglas County Correctional Facility. A talented and innovative teacher, she inspires her students to be better scholars but also better human beings and citizens of Omaha.

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Dr. Wadkins is an exemplary teacher-scholar at UNK who has made major contributions to instructional creativity in her role as a classroom teacher, mentor of undergraduate research, journal reviewer, and scholar in teaching and learning. Over the past several years Wadkins has mentored more than 40 undergraduate projects, helping students to articulate the initial research idea, conduct the study, analyze the data and prepare the paper for presentation. But perhaps what moves Wadkins to the next level are her innovative endeavors within the realm of teaching, developing unique and highly effective teaching tools. One summer she built an entire course in abnormal psychology completely around popular movies. More recently she developed creative review tools such as Psych Feud and Psych Jeopardy to help students understand some complex psychological concepts. Wadkins is an enthusiastic teacher who has an enviable record of scholarly research on teaching issues, has conducted a number of empirical studies of the teaching/learning process and has been a solid contributor to the scholarly teaching model that characterizes UNK.

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Award recipients, who will be honored at an April 22 luncheon in Lincoln, are selected by a committee of outstanding peers. The ORCA originated in 1978 and the OTICA in 1992.

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