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The University of Louisiana at Lafayette will recognize six Eminent Faculty during ceremonies April 25.

The UL Lafayette Foundation sponsors the annual awards. They are the highest recognition the University confers on faculty.

Nearly 200 faculty members have received the awards since the mid-1960s, noted John Blohm, vice president for University Advancement and the Foundation’s CEO.

“For more than a half century, the Eminent Faculty Awards have recognized outstanding teaching, innovative research, and community engagement through service learning. This year’s recipients embody the long tradition of excellence these awards have come to represent,” Blohm said.

Dr. Daniel Gang and Dr. Jeffrey George are the Distinguished Professor Award honorees. Established in 1965, the award recognizes educators for their research, teaching effectiveness, and contributions to their professions and to campus life.

Gang is professor of civil engineering. George is associate professor of guitar studies.

The Dr. Ray P. Authement Excellence in Teaching Award is named for the University’s fifth president. It has recognized faculty commitment to teaching and innovation since 1992. 

This year’s recipients are Dr. Deedra Harrington, assistant professor of nursing; Brian Kelly, professor of visual arts; and Kari Smith, professor of architecture.

The Leadership in Service Award recipient is Jeffrey Lush, associate professor of graphic design.

The Foundation first presented the award in 2016. It honors a faculty member who combines service learning with classroom instruction to forge skills and knowledge that students can apply to community leadership opportunities.

The Foundation selects the honorees based on recommendations from a faculty committee. Each recipient receives a $5,000 stipend.

The awards will be presented during an April 25 banquet at the Petroleum Club, 111 Heymann Blvd. A cocktail social begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by dinner and an awards ceremony. 

Tickets are $30 per person.

For more information about the 2019 Eminent Faculty awards, contact Angelle Pearce at angelle@louisiana.edu or (337) 482-0900

Profiles of the recipients follow.

Distinguished Professor Award

Dr. Daniel Gang is a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering. He is also director of the Center for Environmental Engineering and Protection.

He has helped establish a program which combines research, community service, teaching and technology application in environmental engineering. It helps industry and community partners explore ways to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, released into the atmosphere.

The program generates research by faculty and students from many disciplines, including biology, chemistry, chemical engineering, civil engineering, education, geosciences, petroleum engineering and mechanical engineering.

Gang has been principal or co-principal investigator for more than $9 million in grants.

Dr. Jeffrey George is an associate professor of guitar studies for the School of Music and Performing Arts.

He is a prolific scholar whose research has earned international recognition.

George maintains an active performing career in addition to his teaching; he has performed in rock, country, bluegrass, reggae and blues bands. He has also performed solo classical guitar concerts.

UL graduates taught by George have distinguished themselves in a variety of ways. One former student recently toured with Grammy Award-winning musician Terrence Simien, for example. Another developed a classical guitar program for visually-impaired musicians.

Dr. Ray P. Authement Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Deedra Harrington is an assistant professor and coordinator of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program for the College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions.

An advanced nurse practitioner, she designed courses for the college’s new Graduate Certificate in Cardiovascular Nursing Program and is its primary faculty member.

Harrington also teaches students enrolled in the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program.

She maintains a clinical practice and is “extremely knowledgeable regarding current medical and nursing practice and integrates this expertise into her teaching repertoire,” Dr. Melinda Oberleitner, dean of the college, wrote in a letter supporting Harrington’s award nomination.

Brian Kelly leads the printmaking program in the Department of Visual Arts. A professor of visual arts, he is coordinator of Marais Press.

The press is a space where environmentally friendly, non-toxic printmaking techniques are combined with traditional methods. It has attracted more than 200 local and national guest printmakers.

“Through this space, he has connected professional printmakers and artists from around the country and the world with his students giving them professional, collaborative artmaking experience they wouldn’t otherwise have,” wrote Gordon Brooks, dean of the College of the Arts.

His prints have been featured in nearly 500 national and international exhibitions.

Kari Smith is a professor and graduate coordinator for the School of Architecture and Design.

She is co-director of the Coastal Community Resilience Studio. The studio fosters transdisciplinary collaboration among researchers, faculty and students to address the complexities of restoration and preservation along the Louisiana coast.

It brings together faculty and students from the School of Architecture and Design, the School of Geosciences, and the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Child and Family Studies.

Research centers such as the University’s Institute of Coastal Ecology and Engineering and the UL Lafayette/NASA Lafayette Regional Application Center contribute research.

“In her student led research and teaching she continuously opens up conversation to engage as many voices and expertise as possible,” Brooks wrote.

Leadership in Service Award

Jeffrey Lush is an associate professor of graphic design and co-coordinator for the graphic design concentration in the Department of Visual Arts.

In collaboration with the Acadiana Center for the Arts, he has led undergraduate students who have volunteered for marketing projects with non-profit organizations, such as the Cité des Arts and the Creole Heritage Folklife Center.

His students have also created outdoor signage, newsletters and other graphic materials for the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum on campus.

Lush's research includes historical studies in modernist design practices during the Industrial Revolution and the effects of mass media upon a wide audience.

Photo caption: Eminent Faculty Award honorees are, top row, from left, Dr. Daniel Gang, a civil engineering professor; Dr. Jeffrey George, an associate guitar studies professor; Dr. Deedra Harrington, an assistant nursing professor; Brian Kelly, a visual arts professor; Kari Smith, an architecture professor; and Jeffrey Lush, an associate graphic design professor.

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