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Eminent Faculty recognized at awards ceremony

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The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Foundation honored five faculty members Thursday who were selected by their colleagues as exemplary educators.

Dr. Emad Habib, a professor of civil engineering, and Dr. John Tetnowski, a professor of communicative disorders, were named this year’s Distinguished Professor Award recipients. Established in 1965, the award recognizes University educators for their research, teaching effectiveness, and contributions to their professions and campus life.

Shelly Leroy, a senior instructor of English, and Dr. Patricia Mire-Watson, a master instructor of biology, received the Dr. Ray P. Authement Excellence in Teaching Award. The award is presented for faculty members’ commitment to teaching, innovation, and pedagogical scholarship. It was established in 1992 and renamed in 2008 to honor Authement, the University’s fifth president.

Geoff Gjertson, a professor of architecture, received the first Leadership Service Award. The new award recognizes a faculty member who is committed to combining service learning with classroom instruction to provide students with skills and knowledge that help them become community leaders.

Recipients were recognized at the Foundation’s Eminent Faculty Awards banquet held at Le Pavillon in Parc Lafayette.

Habib has published 52 journal articles and five book chapters. He received the Best Journal Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Habib also earned the society’s Watershed Excellence Award. He led a multi-institutional effort to develop “HydroViz,” a platform that promotes education in hydrology, water, resources, and coastal ecosystems.

During his 12 years at the University, he has generated  $4 million in external research funding, including $2 million from the National Science Foundation.

“Dr. Habib is committed to producing high quality research, and his work has been recognized by peers at the national and state levels, as illustrated by the competitive awards and grants he has received,” noted Dr. Keith McManis, head of the Department of Civil Engineering.

Tetnowski, an accomplished researcher, is an expert in fluency disorders, commonly referred to as stuttering. He is a respected scholar in stuttering research and clinical teaching. Tetnowski has published 65 manuscripts and edited one book.

He is a board member of the National Stuttering Association and founder of its Lafayette chapter. Tetnowski is also a fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Tetnowski has mentored 12 doctoral students at the University over the past 17 years.

“John has established himself among the top echelon of researchers and scholars in fluency disorder. He is also recognized as a talented clinician,” said Dr. Nancye Roussel, head of the Department of Communicative Disorders.

Leroy teaches online courses in advanced writing and technical writing. She played an integral role in the design and launch of the Professional Writing Program offered by the Department of English.

Leroy was a member of a team from the department who developed a graduate certificate in professional writing. She has extensive knowledge in the pedagogy of professional writing. She is also focused on recruiting and retention, and developing partners in business and industry.

“Shelly Leroy is one of the English Department’s most talented, caring, committed, and valued teachers,” said Dr. Jordan Kellman, dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

Mire-Watson founded the Department of Biology’s Undergraduate Research Symposium.

She was instrumental in the development of the University’s Science Day. The College of Science hosts high school juniors and seniors for tours of the Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics departments, and to participate in experiments and science-related activities.

Dr. Paul Leberg, head of the Department of Biology, praised Mire-Watson’s innovative pedagogical approaches. “Typically, it is hard to be innovative in large sections with hundreds of students, but this has not stopped her from experimenting with novel ways to explain complex topics,” he noted.

During her 20 years at the University, Mire-Watson has helped generate over $600,000 in grants from the National Science Foundation and from the National Institutes of Health.

Gjertson has helped develop student-led coalitions of public, industry private, and University partners in the design and construction of community buildings.

“Under his mentorship, students receive experience working with the community and getting real-world experience in designing and building projects,” said Tom Sammons, director of the School of Architecture and Design.

One example is the Camellia Boulevard Gridshell Pavilion, a dome-shaped, open-air structure students designed and built with input from engineers and contractors and students at other universities, including Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.

The pavilion consists of a framework of crisscrossed oak slats topped with white aluminum panels. The “grid” of wood is affixed to low concrete walls that rim a concrete floor.

It stands on green space near Mount Vernon Drive, the first feature at an art park.

Learn more about the UL Lafayette Foundation’s Eminent Faculty awards at: http://www.ullafayettefoundation.org/efa

 


 

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