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2019 Faculty/Staff Awards

Martin Library
April 26, 2019

Faculty and staff were recently recognized for their exceptional work and years of service.

An award ceremony was held on April 24, and the following people were honored.

Julie Ernst, Chancellor’s Distinguished Research/Creative Activity Award

Julie Ernst, Chancellor’s Distinguished Research/Creative Activity Award

Chancellor’s Distinguished Research/Creative Activity Award
Faculty members who receive this award are honored for their excellence in research or creative activity, scholarly or artistic contributions to individual disciplines, and dedication to student research. This year’s recipient is Julie Ernst, professor, Applied Human Sciences, CEHSP.

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching
This award recognizes faculty who have made contributions to the teaching mission of UMD that are of extraordinary quality and reflect UMD’s emphasis on high quality undergraduate and graduate education.This award honors faculty for innovative pedagogy, development of creative and critical thinking, student mentoring, commitment to liberal education, and leadership and impact within a department. This year’s recipient is James Allert, assistant professor, Computer Science, SCSE.

James Allert, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

James Allert, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Public Service
This award honors faculty who have demonstrated extraordinary and sustained commitment to public service and community engagement. This award recognizes faculty who have demonstrated an integration of civic and community engagement in their teaching; shown leadership in advancing students’ civic learning; conducted community-based research; fostered community partnerships; promoted the scholarship of engagement among his/her colleagues; or made contributions to positive change on issues of public concern. This year’s recipient is Mary Christiansen, assistant professor, Civil Engineering, SCSE.

Albert Tezla Teacher/Scholar Award
This award is given annually to a faculty member in the College of Liberal Arts or the School of Fine Arts who has an exceptional and effective teaching style that emphasizes the worth of research in a learned discipline and the maturing impact scholarly activity has on the development of human attitudes and values. This year's recipient is Edward Downs, associate professor, Communication, CLA. 

Mary Christiansen, Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Public Service

Mary Christiansen, Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Public Service

2019 Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award. This award is given each year to one faculty member in each collegiate unit who has demonstrated outstanding service to their undergraduate students.
Rachel Inselman, professor, Music, SFA
Dahui Li, professor, Management Studies, LSBE
Mark Mizuko, professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders, CEHSP
Becky Teasley, associate professor, Civil Engineering, SCSE
Weiqing Zhang, associate professor, World Languages & Cultures, CLA

Edward Downs, Albert Tezla Teacher/Scholar Award

Edward Downs, Albert Tezla Teacher/Scholar Award

Outstanding Graduate Faculty Advisor Award

The Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award is given each year to faculty members who have demonstrated outstanding service to their graduate students. This year’s recipient is Venkatram Mereddy, professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry, SCSE.

The Outstanding Staff Awards recognize employees who have consistently performed their ongoing responsibilities in a superior manner and who have significantly enhanced departmental, collegiate, or campus goals and objectives. Each of these recipients reflect one or more of the core values from the strategic plan. This year, there are four individual Outstanding Staff Award winners. They are listed in alphabetical order.

Venkatram Mereddy, Outstanding Graduate Faculty Advisor Award

Venkatram Mereddy, Outstanding Graduate Faculty Advisor Award

Jeni Eltink, Kirby Student Center. Jeni’s nomination described how she shows the value of collaboration and uses her relationships for the betterment of the student experience and the campus. Jeni’s nominator also wrote that Jeni has become the campus expert on freedom of speech and her role in protecting it is evident in all she does. Jeni shows that she is interested in the perspective of others and she helps students understand that while they may not agree with another group’s viewpoint, our differences drive our greatness. Jeni empowers her staff and shows willingness to say yes to new, well thought-out ideas. Jeni is described as, “compassionate, respectful, and honest,” and, “an incredible role model for her department and for the students, staff, and faculty she engages with.”

Mindy Granley, Office of Sustainability. From campus trash audits and cleanups to electric car charging stations, Mindy’s dedication and leadership in dozens of initiatives and traditions is described in her nomination. Mindy is described as a partner and collaborator who is a true professional. She is frequently called upon to offer her expertise to local partners and professional organizations. A student assistant and UMD graduate stated, “Mindy regularly provided opportunities and encouraged students to make connections and leverage their voices to make a positive impact throughout the state of Minnesota. She is always the positive force in the room. Mindy taught me how to be a team player, overcome obstacles, think bigger than myself, and put my dreams into action.”

Susan Hoppe, Sports Medicine. Susan’s nominator wrote how Susan has led with excellency, demonstrated by featured articles by the NCAA and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association website. She serves on the collegiate board for the Professional Hockey Athletic Trainers Society and in 2017, created a competitive Residency program to shape future hockey athletic trainers who are already certified. There is no other residency program like it nationally. Susan’s efforts also extend across campus. She serves as the Athletics liaison to Sustainability, on the UMD Sexual Assault, Stalking, and Relationship Violence Committee, and on the Student Hearing Panel Committee. Susan’s nominator writes, “Not only is [Susan] well-liked and respected by colleagues, she embodies the core values of this award through the way she learns, works, and lives.”

Dr. Katie Jackson, Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution. Dr. Jackson’s nomination states that she has led the effort to develop alternatives to the formal student conduct process, resulting in a Conflict Mediation program and a department name change to reflect this new purpose. Dr. Jackson has researched best practices across the country to develop a method for students to have conduct records expunged, and recently presented this approach to a packed house at a national conference. Dr. Jackson has expanded educational and therapeutic sanctions for student alcohol and drug violations to include personal reflection and restorative justice. Dr. Jackson’s nominator wrote that, “Consistent in [Dr. Jackson’s] work are threads of integrity and respect for individuals.” Dr. Jackson’s work could elicit defensiveness from students, but students have consistently reported to the nominator that students, “believed they received a fair process and were treated with courtesy.”

The Outstanding Team Award

The outstanding team award recognizes work groups who have implemented a special project during the year in supporting the mission of the campus/unit and who have significantly enhanced departmental, collegiate, or campus goals and objectives. This year’s winning team is the Athletics Flood Response Team. Its members are: Craig Domas, Justin Fish, and Sandra Himmelspach, all from Facilities Management.

This team’s nomination states that managing the UMD website is not an easy task, due to varying ideas, ownership, and style, but that through feedback meetings, analytics, user testing, and constant discovery, this group ensures a good user experience. They hold weekly meetings open to anyone on campus and are considerate of how UMD represents diversity and accessibility across the UMD website. Their nominator provided internet links to show how far the UMD website has come in the last five years. They wrote that this project has taken years and has been difficult, territorial, and frustrating at times. This team, comprised of both ITSS and Marketing employees, gets a lot of feedback, and they always act with excellence in mind, listen, learn, and leave meetings with a decision they can all support.


The following individuals were recognized for their years of service:

Celebrating 25 years of service:
Cindy Christian
Priscilla Day
Aydin Durgunoglu
Vickery French
Christopher Heim
Scott Hollatz
Douglas Jensen
Lynda John
Rae Ann Johnson
Erik Larson
Steve McDonald
Stephen Monson Geerts
Kathleen Neff
William Payne
Al Roline
Robert Sterner
Michael Swanson
Judith Swanson-Hlina
Viktor Zhdankin

Celebrating 30 years of service:
Lawrance Bernabo
Timothy Colburn
Susan Connor
Brenda Herzig
Taek Kwon
Elizabeth Nelson
Deborah Petersen-Perlman
Vickie Rindal
Linda Spencer
Kay Westergren
Jiann-Shiou Yang

Celebrating 35 years of service:
James Allert
Elizabeth Fleissner
Susan Hartley
Stephanie Hemphill
Anne Hovde
Michele Larson
Jonathan Maps
Shelley Michalicek
Gerald Niemi
Jeff Romano
Melanie Shepard

Celebrating 40 years of service:
Gloria DeFilipps Brush
Mitzi Doane
James Vileta
Julie Westlund