President's U-Wide Letter: Honoring excellence in teaching, research and service

May 12, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past few weeks I’ve had the honor of recognizing six outstanding University of Nebraska faculty members and one academic department for achievements in teaching, research and service. Presenting the university’s most prestigious faculty and departmental awards – the Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Award, Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award, Innovation, Development and Engagement Award, and the University-wide Departmental Teaching Award – has been one of the highlights of my presidency so far. Faculty truly are among the greatest assets of any leading university, and at the University of Nebraska we are lucky to be home to some of the very best.

This year’s winners are a diverse group – representing medicine, agriculture, science and other disciplines. But they share a deep commitment to the University of Nebraska’s most fundamental responsibilities: educating our students, conducting important and relevant research, and putting their skills to work to serve Nebraskans and people around the world. I am inspired by their work.

The 2015 awardees follow. We developed a video for each winner; I invite you to learn more about our honorees and the good work they are doing by clicking on their names below.

Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Award

  • Charles Wood, Ph.D., Lewis Lehr/3M University Distinguished Professor and director of the Nebraska Center for Virology at UNL, who has devoted his career to driving innovations in HIV/AIDS research that have resulted in new prevention and management efforts and new treatment methods that suppress the virus.

  • Wayne Fisher, Ph.D., H.B. Munroe Professor of Behavioral Research and director of the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at UNMC, who is dedicated to improving the lives of children with autism.

Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award

  • Chandrakanth Are, M.B.B.S., vice chair of education for the Department of Surgery, associate professor of surgical oncology, and program director for general surgery residency at UNMC, who has earned a reputation as an innovative educator, meticulous surgeon and someone with exemplary dedication to patients.

  • Martha Mamo, Ph.D., professor of agronomy at UNL, whose teaching methods are inspiring students’ interest in soil sciences and whose research is advancing global food security.

Innovation, Development and Engagement Award

  • Stephen Reichenbach, Ph.D., professor of computer science and engineering at UNL and founding director of GC Image LLC, who is a role model to colleagues interesting in pursuing collaborative research or developing university-based spinoff companies.

  • Michael Epstein, Ed.D., William E. Barkley Professor of Special Education and director of the Center for Child and Family Well-Being at UNL, whose research on improving the lives of children with behavioral and mental health disorders has resulted in a major shift in the field of child mental health.

University-wide Departmental Teaching Award

  • UNL Department of Entomology, whose faculty are widely known for their student-focused approach, innovative ideas, and commitment to sharing their knowledge in the community.

Congratulations again to the 2015 recipients of the University of Nebraska’s highest honors for teaching, research and service. These faculty – together with employees across our campuses – are a key reason why the university is in a strong position today to become a giant in higher education. I continue to be humbled and honored to serve with such talented, energetic and committed colleagues. Thank you for all that you do for the University of Nebraska, our students, and people in our state and around the world.

Hank Bounds
President, University of Nebraska

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