Office of the Provost

Wilson Hall, Room 205
371 Wilson Boulevard
Rochester, MI 48309-4486
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(248) 370-2190

Black and gold faculty recognition awards on a table.

Faculty Recognition

Faculty Award Winners for 2021 Faculty Recognition and Founders' Day


[MUSIC] Welcome to our annual faculty recognition event, a time when we acknowledge and honor exceptional achievements of our faculty members. After the past year of remote learning, social distancing, and virtual meetings, I think we're all longing for some type of recognition whereby we feel the deep connection of being part of a mission-driven learning community. In today's climate of competing priorities, deadlines, and crowded schedules, we often do not take the time to recognize the amazing work of our colleagues. Today, however, we are taking the time. What do we see? Intellectual diversity, teaching excellence, impactful research, and the many unique talents and contributions of Oakland University faculty who are the backbone of our great academic tradition, and the people who give us many reasons to be so optimistic about our future. This past year taught us a valuable lesson, and that lesson is that we're all connected. While the faculty we recognize today are distinguished by their academic accomplishments, perhaps their impact on students is their greatest influence. These faculty members we honor play a vital role in shaping the profile and the reputation of Oakland University. It is an impact that we measure one student at a time. Through their teaching, scholarship, creativity, research, and community engagement, they are collectively at the heart of making Oakland University a more diverse, inclusive, and engaging learning community. [MUSIC]. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to log on to celebrate this wonderful and truly meaningful celebration. Being new to the campus community, I have to say that I was impressed and pleased to learn that we honor our outstanding faculty on Founder's Day. I have learned that Matilda Dodge Wilson aspired to create an exceptional and outstanding institution of higher education. One that provides students from all walks of life an opportunity to excel in their own lives, and to serve the people of their communities. With that in mind, I can't imagine a better day of the year to honor our founders by thanking and congratulating the remarkable educators, researchers, and community advocates who keep that opportunity alive and thriving. Today's celebration is a means for us who work with you to ensure that each of you knows and can take pride in the fact that your many valued contributions to this community are being noticed and very much appreciated. As part of our ceremony, the honorees have already received an award to highlight their achievements, which those viewing will see in a moment. These are, of course, designed to serve as reminders now and into the future that you have accomplished so much and that you are vital members of the Oakland University faculty. I hope you will take as much pride in accepting these sentiments as we feel in offering them. Without exception, each of you is more than deserving of our recognition. Thank you for all you have contributed, and congratulations on all you have accomplished. It is now my pleasure to acknowledge this year's award winners. We will begin with those who are being recognized for outstanding instruction, research, and service over the last year. In the College of Arts and Sciences, our teaching honorees are Kapila Castoldi, Adjunct Associate Professor of Physics, Angineh Djavadghazaryans, Assistant Professor of German, Laurie Hogle, Visiting Assistant Professor, School of Music, Theater, and Dance, Andrea Kozak, Associate Professor of Psychology, and Andrea Wenz, Assistant Professor of History. For research accomplishments, we are recognizing Ami Harbin, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of Women and Gender Studies, Lori Ostergaad, Professor of Writing and Rhetoric, Luis Villa-Diaz, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, and Colin Wu, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry. For service, our congratulations go to Martha Escobar, Associate Professor of Psychology and Jason Overfelt, Assistant Professor of Linguistics. I will now acknowledge honorees in the School of Business Administration. For exemplary instruction, we have Yazan Romani, Associate Professor of Quantitative Methods in Management. For notable research, we have Ahmad Sobhani, Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems. For outstanding services, we have T.J Wharton, Associate Professor of production and Operations Management. Our teaching honoree in the School of Education and Human Services is Ashley Branson, Assistant Professor of Education. Robert Martin, Special Instructor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, and John McEneaney, Professor of Education, are both being recognized for their exceptional service. In the School of Engineering and Computer Science, we are honoring the impressive instruction of Doug Zytko, Assistant Professor of Engineering. Our research award winner is Wing-Yue Geoffrey Louie, Assistant Professor of Engineering. Our service honoree is Zhijun (Jason) Wu, Special instructor in CAD and CAM. In the School of Health Sciences, we are pleased to recognize the outstanding research work of Christopher Wilson, Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy, Gary Moore, Professor of Nursing in the School of Nursing has been selected to receive an award this year for exemplary instruction. In the OUWB School of Medicine, Douglas Gould, Professor of Neuroscience is being honored for outstanding service. Finally, we are pleased to commend the exceptional research work of a faculty member in the Eye Research Institute this year, Andrew Goldberg, Professor of Biomedical Sciences. [MUSIC] Congratulations and thank you to all of our teaching, research, and service award winners. I will now focus on distinctions awarded this year by the Oakland University Senate Teaching and Learning Committee and the University Research Committee based on nominations from students, faculty, and staff. First is the New Investigator Research Excellence Award. Our recipient this year is Julian Rrushi, Assistant Professor of Engineering, who recently received the prestigious Darpa Young Faculty Award for research in the new field of physics of computing. Next, to honor our continuing success in Academic Inquiry, I am pleased to announce the recipient of the Research Excellence Award. Randal Westrick, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, is being honored for outstanding scholarship and contributions to the area of genetics, including success he has had in securing nearly three million dollars in external grant funding. I will now turn to the Teaching Excellence Award, which is granted each year to an outstanding tenure track faculty member. This year's recipient, Chiaoning Su, Assistant Professor of Journalism, who was selected as a result of her innovation in instruction resources, exemplified through K-pop dance choreography, virtual reality goggles, and real-world crisis role-playing to fully engage students in learning. I am now pleased to announce the winner of the Excellence in Online Teaching Award. Charlene Hayden, Special Instructor of Chemistry, is being recognized for creating a realistic instruction plan that helps students interact online and master course content in a difficult gateway course that has a traditionally high DFWI rate. Our final teaching honor, the Excellence in Teaching Award, is granted to a non-tenure track faculty member. Shawn Moore, Lecture and Director of e- Learning, has been selected as this year's winner in light of his collaborative instructional approach, successful mentorship skills, and commitment to using and creating inclusive teaching materials. Next, I will recognize the winner of a vital and clearly important aspect of faculty work, and that is the Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award. Jay Meehan, Professor of Sociology, is our recipient and he was selected in light of his promotion of critical analytic skills, organization of large-scale collaborative work, and support students in developing self-efficacy in every aspect of the research process including publishing. The next distinction is the community engagement faculty award, which focuses on exemplary leadership and supporting service learning and community engaged scholarship. Rebecca Gaydos, Special Instructor in the Department of Linguistics, is this year's winner as a result of her monumental role in establishing and sustaining two experiential learning courses and community outreach programs. The universities for strategic goal is the inspiration for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Faculty Excellence recognition. This year's honoree is Jason Wasserman, Associate Professor of the OU WB school of Medicine's Department of Foundational Medical Studies. He has distinguished himself through contributing to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion within his teaching and research and intangible ways across the OU Campus and the surrounding communities. He has served as a provost fellow for Faculty Diversity, Sharing the faculty DEI committee and making numerous presentations to key units across campus related to faculty DEI issues. Today our only group recognition is for the university Assessment Award, which acknowledges exceptional efforts to create what the North Central Association terms, a mature culture of assessment. Faculty in the Department of Management and Marketing excelled in their work to thoroughly assess, analyze, and propose enhancement strategies for student learning in the management strategies and policies course. Accepting on behalf of the management and marketing department, are professors Cynthia Miree-Coppin and Yang Ling. We will close this year's celebration of faculty achievements with the highest acknowledgment that university offers. An honor that actually highlights a full career of excellence in numerous areas. This year we have three accomplished faculty members who have been elevated to the status of Distinguished Professor. Our first honoree as Barbara Oakley, Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering. She is credited as a revolutionary and true innovator in the area of Pedagogy, as well as a productive scholar in the area of Neuroscience as social behavior. Dr. Oakley pioneered important work that has significantly helped the academy understand what impacts a person's interests in subject matter, along with what affects their ability to master mentally difficult material. Dr. Oakley's online courses have helped to increase awareness of, and interest in STEM worldwide. She created the world's most popular MOOC with nearly two million registered learners for more than 200 countries. In addition to her many other accomplishments, she was the recipient of the 2018 Michigan Distinguished Professor Award. Congratulations Barbara, and thank you for all you've done for your discipline, your department, and Oakland University. Our next honoree is David Garfinkle, Professor of Physics. Dr. Garfinkle is highly regarded as an outstanding Scientists and leader in the field of General Relativity, as well as the world leader in numerical investigation, a mere singularities in General Relativity. Expansive and international citations of his work are truly impressive, as is the respect he's garnered worldwide for the significant role he has played in shaping his field. Dr. Garfinkle is published award-winning books that both expand the reach of his intellectual contributions while also making expertise accessible to those without extensive mathematical knowledge. Congratulations David, and thank you for all you've done for your discipline, your department, and Oakland University. Our final honoree is Zissimos Mourelatos Professor of Mechanical Engineering with groundbreaking internationally acclaimed research contributions in the area of vibrations, is also a well-respected as an outstanding teacher and dedicated provider of professional service. Dr. Mourelatos colleagues admire his ability to manage instruction, a high level of engagement, and a very active research streams simultaneously. His legacy will be distinguished by his impactful research, his success and obtaining external funding, and is hands-on commitment to developing the next generation of engineers and engineering faculty. Congratulations Zissimos and thank you for all you've done for your discipline, your department and Oakland University on behalf of the university community. Thank you to all of our honorees for the inspired and beneficial work you're doing on behalf of students, the Oakland University family, and the many communities we serve. On behalf of Oakland University. I extend my gratitude for your dedication and for inspiring all of us to reach higher. We are so deeply appreciative of your talents and we recognize you today. [MUSIC]

We formally recognize these faculty members whose teaching and research excellence, creative achievements and community service have contributed to the betterment of society. 

College of Arts and Sciences

Lori Ostergaard - Department of Writing and Rhetoric – Research

Ami Harbin - Department of Philosophy – Research

Colin Wu - Department of Chemistry– Research

Luis Villa-Diaz - Department of Biological Sciences – Research

Martha Escobar - Department of Psychology – Service

Kapila Clara Castoldi - Department of Physics – Teaching

Andrea Kozak - Department of Psychology – Teaching

Lauri Hogle - School of Music, Theatre and Dance – Teaching

Angineh Djavadghazaryans - Department of Modern Languages and Literature – Teaching

Andrea Wenz - Department of History – Teaching

Jason Overfelt - Department of Linguistics – Service

School of Business Administration

Ahmad Sobhani - Department of Decision and Information Sciences – Research

Yazan Roumani - Department of Decision and Information Sciences – Teaching

Terry J. (T.J.) Wharton - Department of Decision and Information Sciences – Service

School of Education and Human Services

Robert Martin - Department of Organizational Leadership – Service

Ashley Branson - Department of Counseling – Teaching

John McEneaney - Department of Reading and Language Arts – Service

School of Engineering and Computer Science

Wing-Yue Geoffrey Louie - Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering – Research

Doug Zytko - Department of Computer Science and Engineering – Teaching

Zhijun (Jason) Wu - Department of Mechanical Engineering – Service

School of Health Sciences

Christopher Wilson - Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences – Research

School of Nursing

Gary Moore – Teaching

School of Medicine

Douglas Gould - Department of Foundational Medical Studies – Service

Eye Research Institute

Andrew Goldberg

Distinguished Professor

David Garfinkle -  Department of Physics

Zissimos Mourelatos - Department of Mechanical Engineering

Barbara Oakley -  Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award

Albert Meehan - Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work, and Criminal Justice

Assessment Award

Department of Management and Marketing - Capstone Course MGT 4350:  Management Strategies and Policies

Research Excellence Award

Randal Westrick - Department of Biological Sciences – Research

New Investigator Research Excellence Award

Julian Rrushi - Department of Computer Science and Engineering - Research

Excellence in Teaching Award

Shaun Moore - Department of Decision and Information Science

Online Teaching Excellence Award

Charlene Hayden - Department of Chemistry

Teaching Excellence Award

Chiaoning Su - Department of Communication, Journalism and Public Relations

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award

Jason Wasserman - Department of Foundational Medical Studies

Community Engagement Award

Rebecca Gaydos -  Department of Linguistics