UHV recognizes faculty members for teaching, research, service
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Four University of Houston-Victoria faculty members selected by their students and peers for excellence in teaching, research and service were recognized at Saturday's commencement ceremonies.
The award recipients are Jie Yang, associate professor of operations management and quantitative methods and the Partnership Professor of Operations Management, winner of the Research and Scholarly Activity Excellence Award.
Richard Gunasekera, professor of biology and director of graduate biology programs, recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Service Award.
Uche Nwabueze, assistant professor of management and Jeffry Moe, assistant professor of counseling, winners of the Enron Teaching Excellence Award.
The winners, who were chosen by university award committees, also received a plaque and a monetary award.
The Enron Teaching Excellence Award was established in 1993 through an endowment to the University of Houston System. UHV students nominate professors who exemplify innovative, high-quality instruction that is relevant to their lives and careers.
Gunasekera, who served as chair of the Enron Teaching Excellence Award Committee, said this was the first time two faculty members tied for first place in the voting.
Nwabueze said he was thrilled his students nominated him for the award. When he was considering taking a job at UHV in 2008, Nwabueze said he will never forget what associate marketing professor Linda Hayes told him.
"She said 'UHV is trying to be the most student-friendly, student-focused university,'" he said. "That has stayed with me and has been part of my teaching philosophy."
Moe, who has taught in the School of Education & Human Development since 2007, said he appreciated students nominating him for the award.
Moe taught classes about group counseling, theories of counseling, and couple and family dynamics this semester. He said the most rewarding part of teaching is seeing students gain confidence and improve their communication skills.
Students told the award committee that Moe was a role model in his career as a counselor, an excellent listener, and that he was considerate, conscientious and a complete professional, Gunasekera said.
"I think we are student-centered, which is how good teaching starts," Moe said.
Yang said she was honored and humbled to win the Research and Scholarly Activity Excellence Award.
A UHV professor since 2009, Yang has published research about supply chain management in transition economies as well as knowledge management. Her primary research interests focus on relational infrastructure in a buyer-supplier relationship, supply chain performance in transition economies, and the knowledge management/supply chain management interface.
"This award will serve as additional inspiration to work hard to achieve excellence in every area," she said.
Each year, UHV faculty members also recognize a peer who serves the university in various capacities with the Distinguished Faculty Service Award.
Gunasekera is the founder of the biology undergraduate program as well as the graduate programs of biomedical, bioinformatics and forensic science. He was the winner of the Research and Scholarly Activity Excellence Award in 2010 and the Enron Teaching Excellence Award in 2011.
Beyond his regular job duties, Gunasekera has performed a number of service projects during the past year, including serving on university committees and working with graduate students and prison inmates.
"This award is a result of being able to work with highly motivated, intelligent students; mature, expert faculty; and a very hard working administration at UHV, who collaborate exceptionally well with each other," Gunasekera said. "I appreciate them. This award is recognition of our whole institution's good fellowship and excellence."