August 25, 2016
Making the University of Nebraska a great place to work means taking every opportunity we can to celebrate our achievements. As we begin a new academic year, I want to take a moment to highlight the work of the 2016 winners of the Faculty Excellence Awards, our most prestigious university-wide awards for teaching, research and service. The five faculty members and one academic department honored this year are just a sampling of the success stories taking place every day across our campuses, but they serve as a powerful reminder of the talent that exists at the University of Nebraska and the incredible impact we are having on students and our state.
“These faculty, together with colleagues across our campuses are an important reason why the university is in such a strong position today. I am honored to serve amoung such talented individuals.”
The award winners are a diverse group, representing the humanities, medicine, journalism, education and other disciplines. They share a deep commitment to the University of Nebraska's most fundamental responsibilities: educating our students, conducting important and relevant research, and putting their skills to work to serve Nebraskans and people around the world.
The 2016 awardees follow. I invite you to learn more about each winner by clicking on their name to view a brief video that explores their work. Further, I hope you'll consider nominating yourself or a colleague when nomination materials for the 2017 Faculty Excellence Awards become available next month. Look for a call for nominations soon.
Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award
Neal Grandgenett, Ph.D., Dr. George and Sally Haddix Community Chair of STEM Education in the College of Education at UNO. Dr. Grandgenett has engaged thousands of students, teachers and com- munity members in his work related to the teaching and research of critical science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
Outstanding Reserach and Creative Activity Award
Surinder Batra, Ph.D., chair and professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Stokes-Shackelford Distinguished Professor in the College of Medicine at UNMC, who has helped make our pancreatic cancer research program one of the best of its kind.
Bruce E. Johansen, Ph.D., Jacob J. Isaacson Professor of Communication and Native American Studies at UNO, who has written extensively on environmental subjects and the influence of Native American political systems on U.S. political and legal institutions.
Innovation, Development and Engagement Award
Elliott Ostler, Ed.D., Paul Kennedy Professor of Educational Leadership at UNO, who researches and applies the most effective non-traditional teaching techniques for students who struggle to learn mathematics and science content.
Matt Waite, professor of practice in the College of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNL, an award-winning investigative reporter who went on to found UNL's Drone Journalism Lab, the first of its kind at a journalism school.
University-Wide Departmental Teaching Award
UNO Department of Foreign Languages and Literature. Chaired by Dr. Melanie Bloom, the department provides students with the linguistic and cultural understanding necessary for a global education and is succeeding in internationalizing UNO's curriculum, providing student-focused instruction and serving the greater Omaha community.
Please join me in congratulating the 2016 recipients of the University of Nebraska's highest honors for teaching, research and service. These faculty, together with colleagues across our campuses, are an important reason why the university is in such a strong position today. I am honored to serve among such talented individuals.
President, University of Nebraska