Chancellor recognizes outstanding faculty, staff for their varied contributions to UMSL

Chancellor's Award for Excellence

(From left) Theda Renee Oliver, Gaiyan Zhang, Robert Wilson, Vicki L. Sauter, Grace Chaudet Derda, Linda Wells-Glover and Timothy Makubuya each received awards from Chancellor Tom George (right) at Wednesday’s Faculty and Staff Recognition ceremony after the State of the University Address. Not pictured were awardees Kathleen Butterly Nigro and Henry L. Belton. (Photos by August Jennewein)

Chancellor Tom George honored some of the outstanding contributions of faculty and staff members to the University of Missouri–St. Louis on Wednesday afternoon as the people from across campus gathered for the annual State of the University Address.

Five faculty members and three staffers were singled out for recognition with the 2018 Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence, and George also bestowed on one faculty member the Gerald and Deanne Gitner Excellence in Teaching Award during a ceremony at Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center.

The faculty honorees are:

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research and Creativity

Gaiyan Zhang, professor of finance, finance board scholar and chair of the Department of Finance and Legal Studies

Zhang has become a distinguished, leading researcher and gained international recognition for her expertise and remarkable contributions to research in her field. She has earned numerous grants, awards and honors, including the Anheuser-Busch Excellence in Teaching Award and the Douglas E. Durand Award for Research Excellence at UMSL. Many of Zhang’s papers have been presented at conferences nationally and internationally. She has developed an astounding record of publications in her career – more than 30 over the past 12 years – in the some of the most competitive finance and international business journals in her field.

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

Vicki L. Sauter, professor of information systems

Sauter has spent nearly 40 years teaching in the College of Business Administration. In that time, she has has created a mentoring program for information systems students, as well as developed and maintained an advanced information systems lab supported by her coordination of external fundraising. She has developed information systems courses, written many published articles and books, and received several awards, such as the You Make A Difference Award from the UMSL Alumni Association and the UM System Award for Excellence in Service.

25 years of service

Chancellor George (center) recognized faculty and staff who passed the 25-year milestone in service to UMSL in 2018. The honorees were (from left): Randall T. Vogan, Nancy Renee Crandall-Witte, Haim Mano, Larry J. Davis, Marva J. Robinson and Lawrence J. Harmon. Not pictured: faculty members Donald J. Kridel, Janet Braddock Wilking and Joseph Rottman and staff member Peter Aleman.

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Campus Service

Kathleen Butterly Nigro, teaching professor for the Department of Sociology, Gerontology and Gender and the director of the Gender Studies Program and the Office of Sexuality and Gender Diversity

Nigro, a founding member of the Kate Chopin International Society, is a dynamic scholar and community activist. She provides innovative and compassionate leadership and has a longtime interest in the history of Missouri women. Nigro has completed extensive work in mentorship and guidance within the Gender Studies Program. She is an exemplary citizen of the university and the community and upholds the university’s vision to be a leader in the pursuit of excellence in education, impactful research and community service. One of her colleagues stated, “I learned from her that sharing your passion for what you love is the most important gift a teacher can give her students.”

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence for a Non-Tenure Track Faculty Member

Linda Wells-Glover, associate teaching professor in the School of Social Work

Wells-Glover is a member of many organizations on and off campus, including the Chancellor’s Cultural Diversity Council and the St. Louis Hunger Task Force. She is a passionate teacher, skilled facilitator, and dynamic and creative faculty advisor for the Student Social Work Association. Wells-Glover has received numerous awards, among them the 2014 Advisor of the Year by UMSL Student Government Association, the Meritorious Service Award for Disability Access Services and the Legendary Triton Award. Wells-Glover embraces the focus of UMSL’s strategic plan to transform lives by enhancing the experience of her students, creating new and effective community partnerships and enhancing academic excellence in programs.

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence to a Part-Time Faculty Member

Robert Wilson, adjunct instructor for the Pierre Laclede Honors College

Through his service learning courses “Beyond the Buildings” and “Where We Live,” Wilson has worked to take history outside of the traditional walls of the classroom and allow students to give back to local neighborhoods. In the process, he has built strong community partnerships with organizations off campus, such as the Nine Network Academy and the Missouri History Museum. Wilson has been published in the Missouri Historical Review, Gateway Heritage, Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning and was a guest commentator for “St. Louis Disasters” on St. Louis Public Radio | 90.7 KWMU.

Gerald and Deanne Gitner Excellence in Teaching Award, presented annually to faculty members in the early years of their career who show great promise in their scholarship and exemplary devotion to the students they teach

Timothy Makubuya, assistant professor in the College of Education

Makubuya mentors undergraduate students seeking degrees with an emphasis in physical education, exercise science and athletic coaching. He has learned the differentiation of instructional delivery and has a masterful ability to coach his students into understanding course content. He understands that not every student learns the same, and he has created an environment that deploys multiple teaching approaches in each class. Makubuya takes a strong stance on inclusive excellence. He is on the Dean’s Committee on Social Justice while also welcoming the SUCCEED students into his courses. He believes strongly in physical health and fitness for every student. His inclusion of all students in his courses models inclusion and acceptance for the future teachers in his classes.

The staff honorees are:

Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence in the administrative/professional category

Grace Chaudet Derda, student services and records coordinator in academic advising in the College of Arts and Sciences

Derda shows a high level of commitment to students and the university through her dedication to providing excellent support and service. She is a knowledgeable and patient advisor and was a key staff member in supporting and promoting the Be Inspired campaign. In 1996, she was recognized as Most Accommodating Staff Member for efforts in providing access to students with disabilities. Through her positive attitude, Derda has helped create a welcoming atmosphere on campus for all students, faculty and staff. She is devoted and caring and is a huge advocate and representative for the UMSL Giving program. This marks the second time in 19 years Derda has received a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence.

Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence in the office/administrative category

Theda Renee Oliver, support assistant for the College of Nursing

Oliver has been described as the college’s champion and cheerleader and brings a high level of customer service and enthusiasm to her job daily. Last year, she facilitated the FISH! Philosophy Program, leading group discussions with faculty and staff on the college’s guiding principles. She is a key member on the diversity and inclusion committee and contributes to an environment where all students, faculty and staff feel welcome and are treated equally. In the past year Oliver assumed many responsibilities for organizing the College of Nursing Lighting the Path ceremony and the Awards and Recognition Program during graduation week.

Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence in the service/maintenance category

Henry L. Belton, a custodian in maintenance services

Belton strives to make UMSL a cleaner, healthier and brighter place for all who visit. In Belton’s 17 years at the university, students, faculty and staff have come to know him, respect him and depend on him. He makes a point to introduce himself to all new faculty and staff in his spaces, learn names and let them know what they can expect from him in their building. He’s also welcoming to visitors, making sure they get where they need to go. Belton is a wonderful example of how personal relationships can build a better work environment and a better UMSL.

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