University of Nebraska System President Ted Carter today announced the 2022 recipients of NU’s most prestigious faculty awards for teaching, research and engagement.
The system-wide President’s Excellence Awards honor faculty whose work has had a significant impact on students, the university and the state.
"Faculty are part of the lifeblood of any great university. The University of Nebraska System is fortunate to have some of the world’s best serving across our four campuses," Carter said. "The teaching, research and outreach that these faculty do on a daily basis has a transformational impact on students, our communities, and economic growth and prosperity in Nebraska and beyond. It’s an honor to lift up and celebrate their work."
Award recipients are selected by a system-wide committee of faculty members and, in the case of the engagement award, community members. Recipients each receive a $10,000 stipend. They will be honored at an event hosted by Carter this spring.
The 2022 President’s Excellence Award recipients are:
Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award (OTICA): Recognizes individual faculty members who have demonstrated meritorious and sustained records of excellence and creativity in teaching.
Robert Brooke, Ph.D., John E. Weaver Professor of English and director of the Nebraska Writing Project at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Brooke focuses on place-conscious education. He invites teachers to connect their students’ writing and reading to their local communities in the Great Plains, then spiral out to national and global issues. In his many partnerships with Nebraska teachers, he establishes three-way collaborations between university students, local secondary and elementary classes, and regional organizations such as Homestead National Park or the Center for People in Need. Brooke became director of the Nebraska Writing Project in 1994, after facilitating the summer institute for the preceding 10 years. The Nebraska Writing Project generates more than 11,000 contact hours with teachers every year, through immersive institutes for teachers of writing, continuity programs sponsoring further teacher inquiry for teachers already associated with the program, and youth and community programs.
Vanessa Gorman, Ph.D., professor of history and classics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Gorman offers courses in ancient Greek and Roman history, Athenian democracy, and ancient Greek language. She is particularly devoted to teaching her students the craft of writing an argument that is clear, persuasive and well-documented. Gorman has created an open access, digital collection of Greek sentence diagrams, called syntactic trees. It is the world’s largest single-annotator repository in any language. Using the resulting data, she has been collaborating with her husband and fellow classicist, Associate Professor Robert Gorman, to invent revolutionary methods of identifying authorship based on measuring the frequency of grammatical structures. Gorman was inspired by her research to pioneer an innovative approach to teaching languages. Her goal is to make Greek and Latin more easily accessible to people in and out of academia.
Outstanding Research and Creative Activity (ORCA) Award: Recognizes individual faculty members for outstanding research or creative activity of national or international significance.
Howard Fox, M.D., Ph.D., senior associate dean of research and development for the College of Medicine, professor in the Department of Neurological Sciences, and director of the Center for Integrative and Translational Neuroscience at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Fox’s work focuses on knowledge learned from the SIV model of neuroHIV and its applications to HIV infection of the brain and other organs. In addition to functional, neuropathologic and neuroimmune findings, he has integrated high-density data acquisition and analysis through transcriptomic, proteomic, epigenetic and metabolomic technologies with a systems biology approach. He has now applied lessons learned from these fields to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed research manuscripts. Fox has served in a number of leadership roles for the National Institutes of Health and other organizations. He is currently the principal investigator of the Data Coordinating Center and leads the Scientific Advisory Group for the National NeuroAIDS Tissue Consortium. He is also engaged in the community, leading several organizations focused on children and having helped launch UNMC’s High School Alliance.
Jordan Stump, Ph.D., Cather Professor of French in the Department of Modern Languages at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Stump specializes in 20th-century and contemporary literature. He is the author of two book-length studies of the novels of Raymond Queneau, but his true calling is literary translation, a vocation he discovered just after he was hired to UNL in 1992 and found himself at a university with a world-class press invested in the publication of foreign contemporary writing. Stump has since published some 30 translations from French. His translation of Claude Simon’s The Jardin des Plantes was awarded the French-American Foundation’s Translation Prize in 2001, and his translation of Marie NDiaye’s The Cheffe won the American Literary Translators’ Association’s Annual Prize in 2020. In 2006 he was named Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government, in recognition of his contribution to the spread of French and Francophone culture.
Innovation, Development and Engagement Award (IDEA): Recognizes faculty members who have extended their academic expertise beyond the boundaries of the university in ways that have enriched the broader community.
Judy Diamond, Ph.D., professor of University Libraries and courtesy professor of teaching, learning and teacher education and agricultural leadership, education and communication at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Diamond’s career is dedicated to creating innovative informal science education outreach programs and conducting research on the behavior of wild birds. During her decades at UNL, she has secured about $10 million in grant funding to support outreach projects on human biology, viruses, Antarctic climate change, and evolution. Her initiatives foster public education about cutting-edge biological research through innovative museum and media deliverables. Most recently, Diamond was awarded National Science Foundation funding to create comics that help young people better understand the COVID-19 pandemic. This built on a National Institutes of Health grants where she led teams to create comics and other outreach materials about viruses and bacteria. Diamond was creator and project director of Wonderwise Women in Science, an NSF-funded and award-winning multimedia curriculum project featuring the research of female scientists.
Mark Svoboda, Ph.D., climatologist and director of the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Svoboda works closely with federal, tribal, state, basin, local and international officials and governments on drought monitoring early warning information systems, drought risk management planning and collaborative research. He is the co-founder and served for 17 years as one of the principal authors of the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor. His work with the Core Team of the Western Governors’ Association led to the development of a report and recommendations on creating a National Integrated Drought Information System for the United States. He is currently a member of the World Meteorological Organization/Global Water Partnership Integrated Drought Management Programme’s Advisory Panel. Svoboda is internationally known for his drought monitoring/early warning and risk management work and has been a keynote speaker, principal investigator, consultant, advisory board member, or an invited expert for activities in more than 65 countries, regions and organizations.