UHCL The Signal
The official student newspaper of the University of Houston-Clear Lake

UHCL celebrates excellence at 40th Annual Faculty and Staff Awards Ceremony

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University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) hosted its’ 40th Annual Faculty and Staff Awards Ceremony in the Bayou Theater April 4.

President Ira K. Blake; Glen Houston, interim senior vice president for academic affairs and provost; and Usha Mathew, interim vice president of administration and finance, recognized 120 service awards and 34 retiring individuals. The service awardees were acknowledged by 5-year increments, and the retirees were recognized for dedication and hard work.

“Those we honor today have made their true power known by remaining with [ans] helping us improve over time,” Blake said as she began the ceremony. “As others have also done in the past – our honorees today have assisted with our growth as a student-focused, community-minded and partnership-oriented university.”

Blake personally recognized and awarded the recipients of the Hugh P. Avery prize; four Staff Merit awards for service and craft, clerical and technical, professional and administrative; the Outstanding Adjunct and Outstanding Lecturer awards; and the President’s Distinguished Faculty awards for teaching, research and service.

The President’s Distinguished Staff Service Award started in 1982 to recognize and honor those individuals who have served the university in an exemplary manner. The award was renamed in 1992 after Hugh P. Avery, the originator of the program and an inspiration for all staff members. Any member of the university community may nominate any university staff. A subcommittee of the University Life Committee, which submits its recommendation to the president, reviews nominations. Runner-ups receive a Staff Merit award plaque and a monetary award of $500, and the Hugh P. Avery winner is awarded a plaque in his/her honor and a monetary award of $1,000.

This years’ 2018 Staff Merit award winners are Elizabeth “Liz” Seidel, senior secretary for the College of Business advising office; Bubba Jones, supervisor of building maintenance; Karen Wielhorski, executive director of UHCL’s Alfred R. Neumann library; and Bernadina “Bernie” Gonzales Streeter, senior academic adviser for the College of Education.

The 2018 Hugh P. Avery winner is Kristi Randolph Simon, associate director of Student Assistance Center.

“It feels amazing,” Simon said with a smile. “I’m very grateful to be receiving this award. It feels good to have your work recognized and all things we do to help our students.”

The Outstanding Adjunct and Outstanding Lecturer Awards began in 2009. Faculty members may nominate a colleague who exemplifies excellence in teaching and service for each award. Appointed faculty selected by the Office of the Provost reviews nominations. The Outstanding Adjunct and Outstanding Lecturer Awards winners are awarded a plaque and a monetary award of $500 each.

The 2018 Outstanding Adjunct Award winner is Thomas Dillon, adjunct professor of the college of science and engineering. The 2018 Outstanding Lecturer Award winner is Terry Chvala, senior lecturer of early childhood education.

The President’s Distinguished Faculty awards program began in 1983. These awards recognize outstanding achievement in teaching, research and service. Faculty members may nominate a fellow colleague for a specific award. Nominations require evidence of achievements and a detailed letter explaining reasons why the nominee deserve the nomination. The nominations go through a committee appointed by the president, and then the president selects the winners based on supporting evidence consistent with the guidelines developed by the committee.

The 2018 UHCL Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award winner is Anton Dubrovskiy, assistant professor of chemistry. Dubrovskiy was awarded a plaque and a monetary award of $5000.

“I’m very honored,” Dubrovskiy said. “I don’t feel like I deserved this… I don’t know what I’m doing. I just love what I do, I don’t know if I do it well, and there’s so many faculty and friends that do it better than me, I think. But if they nominated me, I’m just grateful.”

The 2018 UHCL Distinguished Faculty Research Award winner is Jingjing Ma, department chair of mathematics and statistics and professor of mathematics. Ma was awarded a plaque and a monetary award of $1,500.

The 2018 UH-Clear lake Distinguished Faculty Service Award winner is Lillian McEnery, associate professor of reading and language. McEnery was awarded a plaque and a monetary award of $1,500.

UHCL’s annual award ceremony was started in 1978 as a way for the university to recognize its faculty and staffs’ hard work and dedication to the success of the students, their university and their community.

“We know that the success of our institution and ultimately of our students depends, in part, on all of you who go the extra mile each day to make it happen,” Houston said during the award ceremony. “All of you are leaders. Through your talent and hard work, you positively affect the life of your peers, our students, faculty and the community.”