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Eight SASN Faculty Win Rutgers University Awards for Excellence in Research and Teaching

Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway and Executive Vice President Prabhas Moghe recently announced the recipients of the 2021-22 Universitywide Faculty Year-End Excellence Awards.

This year's recipients' list follows a common trajectory, with nine of the 31 winners coming from Rutgers University–Newark. What makes this year's cohort especially remarkable, however, is that eight of the nine RU-N honorees are from SASN. 

"It is gratifying to see so many of our SASN faculty recognized for their outstanding work as scholars, educators, and as intellectuals who successfully integrate those two critical pillars of academic life,” said SASN Dean Jacqueline Mattis. “Equally wonderful is that these faculty represent so many disciplines across the humanities, sciences and social sciences. We are proud of each of these faculty, and excited about how they and others ignite great conversations and good transformative work in and outside of our classrooms."

The faculty members receiving these annual awards were selected by their colleagues for outstanding contributions to teaching, research, and public service. Recipients receive a commemorative certificate and an honorarium.

Associate Professor Mayte Green-Mercado, from the Department of History, was given the Warren I. Susman Award for Excellence in Teaching, which honors the memory of the noted historian and Rutgers University professor Warren I. Susman. The award is given annually to tenured faculty members in recognition of outstanding service in stimulating and guiding the intellectual development of students at Rutgers University.

Professor Nan Gao, of the Department of Biological Sciences, and Professor and Graduate Program Director Vanessa LoBue, of the Department of Psychology, received the Presidential Outstanding Faculty Scholar Award, which honors newly promoted full professors (as of July 1, 2022) whose breadth of academic portfolios reflect outstanding research, scholarship, or creative work, as well as truly outstanding contributions to teaching along with extensive service to the Rutgers community and beyond.

Associate Professor Mary Rizzo, of the Department of History, was honored with the Faculty Scholar-Teacher Award, which honors tenured faculty members who have made outstanding synergistic contributions in research and teaching. The award recognizes those who make visible the vital link between teaching and scholarship by contributing to the scholarship of teaching and by bringing together scholarly and classroom activities. 

It is gratifying to see so many of our SASN faculty recognized for their outstanding work as scholars, educators, and as intellectuals who successfully integrate those two critical pillars of academic life.

Teaching Instructor and Assistant Undergraduate Director Ramona Ross, of the Department of Psychology, has won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching, which honors non-tenure-track, full-time faculty members in the arts and humanities, sciences, and social sciences who have demonstrated outstanding teaching skills in classroom instruction, clinical instruction, curriculum development, or mentoring.

Wahab Ashraf, Part-Time Lecturer II in Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, and Lance C. Thurner, Part-Time Lecturer in the Department of History, won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Part-Time Lecturer.  

The award honors part-time lecturers (PTLs) or adjunct faculty from any discipline who have demonstrated excellence in classroom instruction. Important attributes for consideration include exceptional creativity and/or curricular, pedagogical, or experiential innovations; a deep commitment to excellence in classroom instruction; and demonstrable contributions to student learning and advancement. This award especially recognizes the longer-term institutional impacts that exceptional PTLs may have on strengthening the academic fabric and vitality of programs through their successive teaching at the university over multiple years.

And last but certainly not least, Rigoberto González, Distinguished Professor and Director, MFA Program in Creative Writing, received the Rutgers College Class of 1962 Presidential Public Service Award. Funded by the Class of 1962 of Rutgers College, the award honors members of the faculty, student body, or staff for their record of distinguished, non-compensated service to government bodies, professional or scholarly organizations, and/or the general public, such as voluntary community leadership, or personal acts of heroism.

While discussing this year’s awards, President Hollway was not only deeply proud of this year’s winners but made a point to show appreciation for faculty throughout the Rutgers system.

“We announce these awards with pride in the entire Rutgers faculty, and with admiration and gratitude for the efforts of all our faculty members over the course of the academic year,” said Holloway.

You can see a full list of this year's award recipients here.