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U of M Will Honor Faculty for Teaching, Research and Advising May 6

For release: May 1, 2013
For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey, 901-678-2843

The University of Memphis will honor faculty members’ contributions to teaching, research and advising during an awards luncheon May 6 beginning at noon in the University Center Fountain View Suite (Room 350).

Dr. Gladius Lewis
Dr. Gladius Lewis

The premier recognition given to a professor is the Willard R. Sparks Eminent Faculty Award. This year’s recipient is Dr. Gladius Lewis, professor of mechanical engineering and an international leader in the field of orthopedic biomaterials and implant design. He will receive a crystal obelisk and a $20,000 cash award.

Other award recipients include:

The Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award – Leigh Ann Breckenridge, clinical assistant professor in the Loewenberg School of Nursing; Dr. Carrie Brown, assistant professor in the Department of Journalism; Dr. Shawn Jones, assistant professor in the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management; and Dr. Ross Sackett, an instructor in the Department of Anthropology

The Alumni Association Distinguished Research Award – Dr. Santosh Kumar, associate professor of computer science, Distinguished Research in Science, Engineering and Mathematics; Dr. Guy Mittleman, professor of psychology, Distinguished Research in Social Sciences, Business and Law; Dr. Katherine Grace Hendrix, professor of communication, Distinguished Research in the Humanities; Dr. Kamran Ince, professor of music, Distinguished Achievement in the Creative Arts; and Dr. Lynda Sagrestano, associate professor of psychology and director of the Center for Research on Women, Excellence in Engaged Scholarship

The Alumni Association Distinguished Advising Award – Kriangsiri Malasri, an instructor and advising coordinator in the Department of Computer Science, and Laurie Snyder, assistant to the dean for undergraduate programs in the College of Communication and Fine Arts

The Thomas W. Briggs Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award – Dr. Angela Grant, an instructor in mathematical sciences, and Dr. Leonard Jackson, an associate professor in the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality & Resort Management

The Allen J. Hammond Presidential Service Award ­ – Dr. Dixie Crase, a professor in the University College and director of academic internships, and Alisha Rose Henderson, director of Career Services

Biographies of the honored faculty:

Eminent Faculty

Born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, Dr. Gladius Lewis earned a BS degree in mechanical engineering from the University of London, England, and a PhD in materials science from the University of Nottingham, England.

Before joining the U of M in 1987, Lewis taught at Trent Polytechnic in England, the University of Zambia, the University of Zimbabwe and the University of Alabama at Huntsville. He was promoted to professor in 1993.

Lewis has an internationally recognized reputation in the field of orthopedic biomaterials and biomechanics. His many clinical contributions include bone cement, ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene, and finite element analysis of models of each of the joints of the body and the spine. Much of his work has been in the study of the mechanical properties of poly methyl methacrylate (PMMA) bone cement, particularly its fatigue and fracture toughness. This polymer is widely used to anchor many total joint replacements, especially hip and knee implants.

Lewis‘ work has been extensively cited. His results have contributed to many improvements, including self-healing PMMA bone cements that are more fracture-resistant than current commercially available brands, and development of cements specifically for two widely used surgical methods for treating compression fractures of the spine. These advances may translate to an increase in the life of hip and knee implants, and improved stabilization and better restoration of fractured vertebrae.

Thomas A. Slater, director of research and development Medtronic Spinal & Biologics, worked with Lewis on a study of injectable bone cements. “Working with him during the publication of the results motivated me to become more industrious, rigorous and precise in my own work,” Slater said. “He also instilled in me a desire to motivate my R&D team to do the same.”

While at the U of M, Lewis has written the textbook Selection of Engineering Materials as well as numerous peer-reviewed articles in such highly-regarded journals as the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, Biomaterials, Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. He is the author of 50 peer-reviewed presentations at national and international meetings held in the U.S., Japan, Australia, France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Panama, and 30 book reviews.

“Gladius defines the very idea of an eminent scholar because of the quality, quantity and variety of his research and related publications,” said his colleague, Dr. A.U. Daniels of Universität Basel. “He has a phenomenal 206 publications in refereed journals – all but a handful as a sole author or first author.”

Lewis has taught 18 undergraduate- and graduate-level courses at the U of M. He won a grant from the American Society for Nondestructive Testing to develop two new courses in nondestructive testing and evaluation. Lewis also introduced five new courses to the curriculum in mechanical engineering.

Lewis has served as major professor for 45 master’s and four doctoral students, and has been an active member of numerous committees at the department, college and university levels. His extensive service to the profession includes being a member of the editorial board and an assistant editor of the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part B: Applied Biomaterials and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Healthcare Research.

“As a professor and mentor, Dr. Lewis has touched and nurtured hundreds of future engineers – a lasting legacy,” said Troy D. Drewry, president and COO of MB Innovations. “I can personally attest I would not be where I am today both professionally and personally if it were not for the involvement in time and patience by Dr. Lewis.”

Among his awards at the U of M, Lewis has received the Best Research Paper Award from Sigma Xi, the Outstanding Faculty Research Award from the Herff College of Engineering, and the Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Research in Science, Engineering and Mathematics. In 2008 Lewis was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Distinguished Teaching Award

Leigh Ann Breckenridge has been teaching nursing for more than 20 years, and exhibits a true passion for the discipline and for nursing students. Knowing that nurses very much contribute to an individual’s medical experience, she works with students to help them grasp complex concepts and to develop trusting relationships with patients. Her goal is to mentor compassion and respect in her students for each individual. Breckenridge encourages students to be leaders and lifelong learners in their profession. If Breckenridge can help remove some of those barriers or encourage students, she will. Purchasing a Kroger card for a student or spending extra time with them so they can grasp a concept is what brings her joy. Her passion includes educating individuals about Asperger’s Syndrome, childhood obesity and breastfeeding.

Carrie Brown is an outstanding teacher and is engaged in research on changing newsrooms, social media, entrepreneurial journalism and all things digital. She has created a graduate certificate in entrepreneurial journalism in partnership with LaunchYourCity, a local resource for entrepreneurs. She has also developed two new courses in social media in which students connect with their colleagues across the country and internationally, including a global Twitter scavenger hunt with participants from as far away as Egypt. Brown was recently awarded a fellowship at the City University of New York to study the skills needed for the journalism jobs of today and for the future. She has served as the director of The Teen Appeal, the citywide high school newspaper, and continues to serve as an adviser to the program staff. Brown’s research has been published by Electronic News, the International Symposium of Online Journalism and Harvard’s NiemanLab, and she has served as a featured speaker and panelist at a variety of conferences. Her professional journalism background includes stints as a reporter, editor and national newsroom trainer.

Prior to arriving at the University of Memphis, Shawn Jones attained the rank of major in the U.S. Air Force. Among his accomplishments, he led 152 airmen supporting a dozen F-16 aircraft deployed to multiple locations in Qatar, Iraq, and the Horn of Africa while supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. His achievements were recognized with the Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez Award in 2003 as the top officer in a group of 381 aircraft maintenance officers in Air Combat Command. Jones is recognized as an outstanding teacher and for his ability to connect with students. He is eager to serve as a mentor in and outside of the classroom. Students also praise his passion to help them build great careers. Quite simply, they recognize that he truly cares about their long-term success. Jones is a past recipient of the University of Memphis Marketing and Supply Chain Management Outstanding Teaching Award. He also serves as faculty adviser to the Supply Chain Management Student Association and the club ice hockey team.

Ross Sackett is an evolutionary anthropologist in Interdisciplinary Studies and also teaches courses in the Department of Anthropology. The son of a Paleolithic archeologist, his early experiences excavating Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal archeological sites in southern France began a lifelong fascination with human origins and the evolution of society and cultural activity systems. He has conducted archeological and ethnographic fieldwork in the U.S., physiological and nutritional research among the Yukpa Indians of Venezuela, and with his wife, Dr. Ruthbeth Finerman, has spent more than three decades investigating the household adaptations of the Saraguro Indians in the highlands of Ecuador. Sackett says his greatest academic challenge – and satisfaction – has been teaching human beginnings to students of diverse backgrounds, most without prior exposure to the evolutionary sciences or anthropology. He enjoys punctuating his evolution lectures with physical “full-body” demonstrations; years later many students still recall his notorious re-enactments of early mammalian and primate locomotion patterns. He also serves as undergraduate advising coordinator in the Department of Anthropology.

Distinguished Research Award

Santosh Kumar was named one of America’s 10 most brilliant scientists under the age of 38 by Popular Science magazine in 2010. While at the University of Memphis, Kumar and his multidisciplinary colleagues at 10 universities have developed the AutoSense wearable sensor system with $8 million in research grants from National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. AutoSense is being used across the nation in scientific research for automated assessment of stress, smoking, drinking and illicit drug use. Kumar’s current research focuses on the development of mobile health (mHealth) systems for real-time monitoring of physical, psychological and behavioral health.

Guy Mittleman, holder of a University of Memphis Dunavant Professorship, is widely recognized for outstanding research on animal models for drug and alcohol addiction and on neural abnormalities associated with autism spectrum disorders. One reviewer observed that “the excellence he displayed early in his training has continued nonstop.” Since joining the faculty at the U of M, Mittleman has produced more than 60 peer-reviewed publications and has received more than $15 million in external funding. His research funding has been nearly continuous since 1992. Viewed as a “very talented and productive researcher,” his contributions to behavioral neuroscience are described as “creative and profound.” Mittleman is a Fellow of the American Psychological Society.

Katherine Grace Hendrix is a scholar with a broad teaching range that includes argumentation, interpersonal and intercultural communication, and qualitative research methods. She has served as guest editor for Communication Education, New Directions in Teaching and Learning and the Southern Communication Journal. Hendrix is the author of more than 30 journal articles, book chapters and book reviews, a teaching guidebook and a video. In 2012 she received the Southern States Communication Association Michael Osborn Teacher/Scholar Award, and in 2011 she received the College of Communication and Fine Arts Dean’s Research Award. The SSCA also awarded her the 2002 John I. Sisco Excellence in Teaching Award and the 2006 Rose B. Johnson Southern Communication Journal Best Article Award. Hendrix is the only person within her association to win all three awards. Additionally, in 2006 she was noted for the Outstanding Journal Article by the International and Intercultural Division of the National Communication Association. Hendrix has a particular interest in the pedagogical contributions of and challenges faced by professors and graduate teaching assistants of color, including international graduate teaching assistants with English as a Second Language teaching oral performance courses.

Kamran Ince, born to American and Turkish parents, is a composer of distinction with an international reputation. His extensive catalog of works includes chamber and orchestral music, ballets and film music. Ince is the recipient of numerous prizes, including the Prix de Rome, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Lili Boulanger Prize. He received the 2013 Music Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His Waves of Talya was named by Chamber Music Magazine as one of the best chamber works of the 20th Century by a living composer. His works have recently been heard at the Holland Festival, the CBC Encounter Series in Toronto, the Istanbul International Music Festival and the Estoril Festival is Lisbon, Portugal. His first opera, Judgment of Midas, premiered recently under his direction by Present Music and Milwaukee Opera Theatre. The Academy of Arts and Letters said, “The energy and rawness of Turkish and Balkan music, the spirituality of Byzantium and Ottoman music, the tradition of European art music and the extravert and popular qualities of the American psyche are the basis of Dr. Ince’s sound world.”

Lynda Sagrestano embodies the University of Memphis’ approach to engaged scholarship. She has built collaborative research partnerships which are marked by reciprocity that leads to the production of new knowledge. Her research is oriented toward applying psychological theory to understand and intervene on social problems and advance theory development, highlighting the role of contextual factors in health processes and outcomes. The goal is to take a more integrated approach to prevention and intervention in public health. Sagrestano has developed many constructive relationships with local nonprofit organizations to address issues related to infant mortality, adolescent pregnancy, economic security for women and the empowerment of girls. She is described as a “model for engagement” and as a highly respected mentor to faculty and students. Sagrestano was a member of the inaugural class of PI Millionaires at the U of M, serves on the board of directors of the National Council for Research on Women, and is an affiliate faculty member in Women’s and Gender Studies.

Distinguished Advising Award

Kriangsiri Malasri, known to many as “Top,” has excelled in teaching and academic advising. His work in the Department of Computer Science may be one of the U of M’s best examples of the adage “advising is teaching.” His students note that he thoroughly understands degree requirements and guides them to the required courses, but also to the courses that will expand a student’s goals. “The effect (of his abilities) is that you want to succeed,” says one student. Malasri’s interests in computer science are diverse, from wireless sensor networks to web programming and graphics. The experiences he brings to advising and teaching have earned him the highest recommendation of students and faculty colleagues. Malasri was a recipient of the 2012 Thomas W. Briggs Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award.

Laurie Snyder, who supervises advising and advising training for the College of Communication and Fine Arts, is considered the “go to person“ for faculty and staff in the college. She provides a model for other academic advisers as she offers guidance for all transfer and undecided students in CCFA. Her mature professional perspective has helped to revolutionize academic advising at U of M. In addition to her advising responsibilities, Snyder has established a reputation as an accomplished recruiter, exuberantly going to where prospective students are to tell the story of CCFA and the University of Memphis. Her creativity and zeal for Discover Your Major Day brought the Best Display Award to her college. Snyder also finds time to teach the Fresh Connections Learning Communities course and to perform Celtic music.

Thomas W. Briggs Award for Excellence in Teaching

Angela Grant, who joined the U of M in 1999, was the first woman to earn a PhD in mathematics from the University of Arkansas. Although it can be difficult to gain student recognition in a demanding discipline, Grant’s classroom reputation is based on her personal concern for each student and her ability to help them work through difficult concepts. Her instructional innovations include using individual white boards, student pairing, and immediate feedback on homework. In 2008, Grant implemented a summer calculus boot camp for incoming freshmen that has become a part of a larger $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation. A colleague in the Department of Mathematics noted, “She cares about her students as individuals. She cares about their learning. She cares about being an effective teacher.”

Students praise her as unfailingly enthusiastic, knowledgeable and fair. “Dr. Grant is very good at explaining problems step by step and working lots of examples,” one student said. “She offered plenty of ways to get practice and develop skills to solve problems.” Another student added, “Her course helped me develop an overall picture of mathematics. The problem studies and presentations helped me develop the ability to solve a wide spectrum of problems.”

Leonard Jackson’s classes include managing hotel and resort operations, properties development and planning, and hospitality industry revenue management. He is noted for stretching students beyond their comfort zones to set the stage for critical thinking, analysis and forming career aspirations. In 2009, he established the first National Society of Minorities in Hospitality chapter at the U of M, which has won several national awards. Jackson also formed and mentored a team of students who won the annual business plan competition at the 2013 Hospitality Entrepreneurial Summit. He has published more than 30 scholarly and professional articles. Jackson is known throughout the Wilson School for his professionalism, humble demeanor, and genuine interest in helping students inside and outside the classroom.

One student commented, “He is the most professional faculty member I have ever encountered. His integrity, honesty and commitment to excellence never waivers.” Another student added, “He’s very helpful with problems we don’t grasp in class. He’s a great sounding board when you are trying to talk out problems from other classes or work.”

Jackson is a member of the Financial Management Committee of the American Hotel & Lodging Association and serves on four editorial boards.

The Briggs Award, established in 1996, is named for the founder of Welcome Wagon International. Nominees are judged on the basis of teaching skills, classroom performance, their role in the overall development of undergraduates and the results of student rating surveys.

Allen J. Hammond Presidential Service Award

For more than 40 years, Dixie Crase has been committed to meeting the needs of students and community partners through her teaching, research and service. She has served as faculty, chair and director of academic internships. In 1975, Crase was the recipient of the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Within the University College, she has received the Outstanding Advisor Award, Distinguished Faculty Award and the Alma Bucovaz Award for Urban Studies. In 2007 she served as president of the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) and shares her professional expertise as an AAFCS accreditation site visitor for university programs across the country.

Crase’s supportive administrative style and collegial approach have enhanced the significance of the exceptional internship experiences available to U of M students.

Since her arrival at the U of M in 2006, Alisha Rose Henderson has led the highly respected Career Services Office with a relationship-building model. Her integrated approach to student services ensures that U of M graduates are prepared to enter a global workforce. She recognizes that career development and planning are important factors in student success and to the strategic mission of the University. Henderson is dedicated to providing support to students and alumni as they identify and achieve their career goals. Her credentials include certifications in career coaching, job search training and mediation. She is a member of the National Association of Colleges and Employers and the Southeastern Association of Colleges and Employers, and previously served on the board of the Tennessee Association of Colleges and Employers.

The collaborative efforts of the Office of Academic Internships, Career Services and the Internship Team have strengthened productive partnerships leading to competitive career opportunities for students and alumni. In fall 2012, the University of Memphis was named one of the top 10 internship programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

The Hammond Award is not given every year, but is reserved for special recognition of those who have rendered significant service to the University. Once called the Presidential Award for Exceptional Service, the name was changed to honor the University’s late director of student financial aid.

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