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University of Pittsburgh

February 18, 2016

Chancellor honors faculty for teaching, research, public service

A dozen faculty members are recipients of the 2016 chancellor’s awards for distinguished teaching, research and public service.

Distinguished teaching award winners are:

Neal Benedict, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics, School of Pharmacy;

James Coyle, associate professor in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS);

Vicky Hoffman, professor of business administration and James H. Rossell Endowed Faculty Fellow in the Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration;

Zhi-Hong Mao, associate professor and William Kepler White-ford Faculty Fellow in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering; and

Nancy Pfenning, senior lecturer in the Department of Statistics, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

Distinguished research award winners are:

In the senior scholars category:

Lucy Fischer, Distinguished Professor of English and Film Studies in the film studies program, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences;

Xu Liang, professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Swanson School of Engineering; and

Cecelia Lo, professor and F. Sargent Cheever Chair in the Department of Developmental Biology, School of Medicine.

In the junior scholars category:

W. Seth Horne, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, and

Piervincenzo Rizzo, associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Swanson School of Engineering.

Distinguished public service award winners are:

Lauren Jonkman, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics, School of Pharmacy, and

Loren Roth, Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, and faculty member in health policy and management, and clinical and translational science.

Awardees will be recognized Feb. 26 at the University’s annual honors convocation.

 Teaching

The Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award recognizes teaching excellence.
Any faculty member who has served full-time at the University for at least five years is eligible, provided that he or she has been active as a teacher. Previous winners are not eligible.
Up to five awardees are chosen each year. Each award consists of a $2,000 cash prize plus a $3,000 grant to support the faculty member’s teaching activities.

Neal Benedict

Neal Benedict

Neal Benedict

Benedict has received the 2014 Innovation in Teaching Award from the American Association of College Pharmacy, the 2011 Innovation in Teaching Award selected by the students of Rho Chi honorary society, and the 2009 and 2014 Cohen Teacher of the Year awards, also selected by students.

In his award letter, the chancellor stated: “Your impact on your students through your work with the Experiential Learning Program, where you utilize modeling and one-on-one mentoring to teach the roles and responsibilities of a clinical pharmacist, earned you the 2012 ‘Preceptor of the Year’ award selected by your students. As co-director of the Pharmacotherapy Scholars Program and your extensive roles as professional student portfolio advisor and career learning advisor, you continue to mentor and develop pharmacy students of all levels.”

James Coyle

James Coyle

James Coyle

Coyle has received numerous teaching awards, including the SHRS 2006 Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

The chancellor wrote: “Your ability to connect scientific evidence with clinical decision-making assists and inspires your students of all levels. It is apparent that your skill in connecting your ongoing research with your well-designed learning tools creates a thoughtful and rich environment for your students. The extensive contributions you have made to the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, such as your involvement with the development of the Doctorate of Clinical Sciences curriculum and your expansive external presentations and teaching within your discipline, have had a meaningful impact. The result of this outreach is reflected repeatedly through your letters of support and teaching evaluations. You have an exceptional skill in creating pathways to personalized learning and your encouragement to your students to integrate the content and perspectives of multiple disciplines prepares them to constantly inquire and utilize all of their training.”

Vicky Hoffman

Vicky Hoffman

Vicky Hoffman

Hoffman has held the James H. Rossell Endowed Faculty Fellowship since 2013 and has won the Excellence in Teaching Award for Undergraduate Teaching in the College of Business Administration (2000 and 2003-15), the Student’s Choice Award for Outstanding Teacher in the Master of Science in Accounting program (2012-15), the Ed & Margaret Kay Award for Teaching Excellence in Accounting (2010) and the Excellence in Teaching Award for MBA teaching (1998, 1999 and 2001).

The chancellor wrote: “Your genuine interest and investment in your students’ development has had a meaningful impact, which is highlighted so well with the many communications from your former students and their eagerness to share their successes with you.”

Zhi-Hong Mao

Zhi-Hong Mao

Zhi-Hong Mao

Mao’s prior awards include the 2010 National Science Foundation Career Award and the 2009 Outstanding Educator Award from the Swanson School of Engineering. The chancellor commended Mao for supervising numerous undergraduate projects and chairing many thesis committees.

“Your investment and dedication to your students is unquestionable and highly admirable,” the chancellor wrote.

“The result of this outreach is reflected repeatedly through your letters of support and teaching evaluations. It is readily apparent that you are perceived as a gifted teacher who reaches out to students with clear and articulate lectures and as someone who transcends the boundary between teaching and research.

“Your skill at incorporating real-life examples, interdisciplinary approaches, and utilization of your own research attracts and motivates your students to learn more about the subject. It is evident that you also receive as much joy from your teaching as your students do from your instruction.”

Nancy Pfenning

Nancy Pfenning

Nancy Pfenning

Pfenning’s prior awards include the 2011 Tina and David Bellet Teaching Excellence Award.
“Your dedication to the field of statistics through your authoring of ‘Elementary Statistics: Looking at the Big Picture’ illustrates your commitment to statistics education. It is with pride that your department utilizes your text for all of the STAT 0200 courses,” the chancellor wrote, commending Pfenning’s commitment to mentoring junior faculty and her dedication as a teacher.

“Your commitment to the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences to educate not only students and junior faculty, but to also be an active collaborator on the training and development of teaching assistants through the TA optimization program and to act as a liaison to the College in High School program, represents your passion to the craft of teaching and your investment in the next generation of educators.”

Research

The Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award recognizes outstanding scholarly accomplishments. Any tenured or tenure-stream, full-time faculty member who has served at least three years here is eligible.

Up to five awardees are chosen in two categories:

Senior scholar awardees are those who have compiled a substantial and continuing record of outstanding research and scholarly activity. Nominees must have achieved pre-eminence in their field and be recognized in letters of support from national and international leaders in the field. Except in unusual circumstances, support letters cannot be from friends or colleagues.

Junior scholar awardees include faculty members who, by virtue of the exceptional quality of their early contributions, have demonstrated great potential as scholars and have achieved some international standing. Candidates for this award must have received their highest degree no more than 12 years before the time of nomination.

Each award consists of a $2,000 cash prize plus a $3,000 grant to support the faculty member’s teaching and research.

Senior Scholars

Lucy Fischer

Lucy Fischer

Lucy Fischer

In his award letter, the chancellor stated: “The selection committee was exceedingly impressed by your scholarly achievements. Your numerous scholarly publications, many of which were selected for reprint or to be anthologized, are considered to be of great intellectual merit.

“As director of the Film Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh, the program has grown exponentially, spreading out to other departments within the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences as well as offering its own degree programs. President of the prestigious Society of Cinema and Media Studies as well as invited speaker on a significant number of occasions, you are well known in your field and highly respected among your peers.”

Xu Liang

Xu Liang

Xu Liang

In his letter to Liang, Gallagher wrote: “The selection committee was very impressed by your groundbreaking achievements in hydrology.” Liang’s work to redesign undergraduate and PhD programs resulted in the growth of the hydrology and water resources program from two PhD students in 2006 to more than 10 currently.

“You have been an influential member of the science community, most notable through your development of the three-layer variable infiltration capacity and more recent VIC+ models.
“Your peers have proven your influence through the great quantity of invited talks you have participated in nationally and internationally, the abundance of times your published works have been cited, and the prestigious awards you have earned,” including the Carnegie Science Award in the environmental category.

Cecelia Lo

Cecelia Lo

Cecelia Lo

In his award letter, the chancellor told Lo that the selection committee was impressed by her unique research on the genetic and developmental etiology of congenital heart disease.

“You are highly respected in both the basic and clinical sciences for your ability to bring your work in the basic sciences to use in the clinical research field,” Gallagher stated.

He cited as well Lo’s mentorship of junior faculty, prominence as an invited speaker — including more than 15 scientific conferences last year — and publication record in journals including Science, Nature and the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Junior Scholars

W. Seth Horne

W. Seth Horne

W. Seth Horne

“The committee was very impressed with your contributions to the field of biochemistry so early in your career as a researcher and mentor,” the chancellor wrote.

At Pitt, Horne has received NSF and NIH single-investigator grants as well as a number of honors, including a Theime Chemistry Journal Award.

“As a mentor to eight graduate students who set lofty standards of productivity, your work as a teacher is excellent. Among your peers, your research in peptide and protein science has been described as unique and systematic” as evidenced by more than 40 invited lectures.

Piervincenzo Rizzo

“The committee was greatly impressed by your scholarly achievements at such an early point in your career,” the chancellor wrote. “Your collaboration with scholars nationally and internationally stands as testament to your exceptional efforts toward furthering research in your fields of scholarly activity.”

Piervincenzo Rizzo

Piervincenzo Rizzo

Gallagher pointed out that Rizzo has “built the Laboratory for Nondestructive Evaluation and Structural Health Monitoring Studies within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from the ground up.” He also noted: “ An excellent publication record, along with the number of awards won and invited talks presented, work to demonstrate the position of prominence which you hold among your peers.”

Public Service

The Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award recognizes outstanding public service contributions. Any full-time faculty member who has served for at least three years at the University is eligible.

Up to five awardees may be chosen each year. Each award consists of a $2,000 cash prize plus a $3,000 grant to support the faculty member’s public service activities.

Lauren Jonkman

Lauren Jonkman

Lauren Jonkman

Gallagher commended Jonkman’s commitment to improving health care in underserved and under-resourced settings locally and globally.

“In our region, together with Dr. Sharon Connor, you took a leading role in developing a successful pharmacist-managed clinic at the Birmingham Free Clinic to provide patients with consistent continuing and comprehensive appointment-based care,” he wrote. “Through your clinical appointment and volunteer work at the Birmingham Free Clinic, your work with the Salvation Army Harbor Light Program and at the Pleasant Valley Men’s Shelter, and quality improvements at the North Side Christian Health Center, you have helped thousands of patients in southwestern Pennsylvania.”

He commended as well her advocacy for community health care abroad. “You have been a valued volunteer and chief pharmacist for Shoulder to Shoulder Pittsburgh-San Jose. You have had an integral role in facilitating real change in a village in Honduras and helped a small community develop a well-staffed full-time clinic. You have provided volunteer support at the University of Namibia by helping to establish a new School of Pharmacy by teaching patient care and supporting program development,” he wrote.

Loren Roth

Loren Roth

Loren Roth

The chancellor made note of Roth’s appointment as Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry and receipt of the Senior Vice Chancellor’s Extraordinary Service Award for his work in support of a local/regional biodefense structure.

“You have been a board member or leader with many charitable organizations,” Gallagher wrote, noting that Roth co-chaired Pitt’s United Way campaign, led the United Way’s Impact Fund committee on the support of vulnerable seniors and disabled persons, and served on the board of Point Park University.

He cited as well Roth’s impact on health policy development nationally and locally, “and the positive effects your efforts have had on public welfare, the protection of human rights, our communities, and individual citizens in all walks of life.”

Additional details on award criteria are available under the “guidelines” tab at www.provost.pitt.edu.


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