2017 Arts & Sciences Faculty Awards
The College of Arts and Sciences is pleased to announce the winners of its 2017 faculty awards:
The Outstanding Senior Faculty Award went to Randy Malamud, Regents’ Professor of English. Malamud has written eight books, with his ninth – The Globalist Humanist Tourist – to be published later this year. Malamud also has a high profile as a public scholar whose writing has appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Inside Higher Ed, The Atlantic, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among others. As chair of English from 2012 to 2015, he instituted initiatives to increase the publishing of scholarship and to globalize the program. In service of the latter initiative, Malamud taught an English-language workshop in Iraq.
The Outstanding Junior Faculty Award was given to Zhipeng Cai, assistant professor of computer science. Cai’s research interests include big data, networking and bioinformatics. Since joining the Computer Science faculty in 2012, he has published 35 journal articles and 31 conference papers, and has edited eight books. He has obtained $700,000 in funding, including an NSF CAREER award, which is the most prestigious National Science Foundation award for junior faculty. He has also designed a high-demand new graduate course, “Introduction to Machine Learning,” to fill in a previous gap in the department’s offerings.
The Outstanding Teacher Award went to Rashid Naim, Principal Senior Lecturer and advisor for Model United Nations and Model Arab League teams for the Department of Political Science. For the past 10 years, Naim has taught his Model United Nations and Model Arab League course every semester on top of his regular teaching load. Students on those teams have won top awards – given to the top 2 percent of participants – at every competition during that time. Naim’s students go on to law school, to graduate school, and to work at a wide variety of nongovernmental organizations.
The Outstanding Faculty Diversity Award went to G. Davon Kennedy, associate professor of chemistry. Kennedy came to Georgia State because he wanted to work with a diverse student population. And he has – he has served as the faculty adviser for the Vietnamese Student Association, the Ethiopian Student Association, the Chemistry Club, the Pre-Pharmacy Student Association, the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students and the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Chemists and Chemical Engineers. He has run the McNair and LSAMP programs for minority students in STEM fields. He also won federal funding for the Bridges to Baccalaureate Degree Program to help two-year college students succeed at Georgia State, and the GAANN Fellowship Program, which provides graduate funding for women and underrepresented groups in chemistry.
The Outstanding Undergraduate Mentoring Award was given to Paul Ulrich, senior lecturer in biology. Ulrich’s mentoring strategy centers on a Signature Research Experience, a laboratory course in Molecular Parasitology. The molecular parasitology students often spend 15-20 hours a week in his lab in addition to their six scheduled hours, and Ulrich uses the time to get to know each of them individually – in 2015-2016, that meant 44 students. Ulrich’s students have gone on to medical school, to graduate school and to employment in biotechnology.
The Outstanding Graduate Mentoring Award went to Daniel N. Cox, senior professor of neuroscience. In 2016, Dan Cox’s lab had eight Ph.D. students, and he had weekly scheduled research progress meetings with each of them. His hard work paid off in progress – his graduate students authored five publications in highly-rated journals and have three others in submission from that single year. In the same year, his graduate students presented at 19 conferences. He also requires his students to mentor others by supervising undergraduate research and summer interns. It is worth mentioning that six graduate students submitted their own unsolicited letters in support of Dr. Cox, lauding his commitment, his clarity and his work ethic.
The Outstanding Undergraduate Director Award was given to Brian Thoms, who is associate professor, associate chair and director of undergraduate studies for the Department of Physics & Astronomy. Thoms has considerably re-worked the undergraduate physics curriculum, creating a ‘Gateway to Physics’ class for freshmen that included talk about careers and the department’s own research. As a result, in the last five years the number of physics majors has doubled and underrepresented minorities have gone from 15 to 30 percent of majors. Thoms also worked with the College of Education to create an undergraduate physics teacher track. For two out of the past three years, Georgia State has been honored for graduating five or more physics teachers in a single year. This year, only eight other schools in the nation won that honor. The American Physics Society is currently using the program for a case study on thriving physics teacher preparation programs.
The Outstanding Graduate Director Award went to Sarah Gershon, associate professor and director of graduate studies for the Department of Political Science. Gershon conceived of and created her department’s online master’s degree program for teachers, the first online graduate degree in the college. She also revised the department’s MA concentration in Professional Politics to include courses appropriate for terminal students going directly into the workforce. In the past year, she has doubled the number of students enrolled in the department’s B.A./M.A dual-degree program. She co-chairs the college’s Strategic Plan Working Group on Graduate Education.