Six TU faculty receive 2017 USM Regents' Faculty Awards

By Megan Bradshaw on March 3, 2017

This award is the highest honor presented by the Board of Regents (BOR) to exemplary faculty members within the University System of Maryland (USM).

Robert Rook (history) won a USM Regents' Faculty Award for Public Service.
Robert Rook (history) won a USM Regents' Faculty Award for Public Service.

Towson University faculty members Karen Fallon (speech-language pathology), Katherine Broadwater (art education), Iona Johnson (speech-language pathology), Robert Rook (history), Bethany Brand (psychology) and Jonathan Lazar (computer & information sciences) each received a 2017 University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents' Faculty Award for excellence in their respective fields. 

The award is the highest honor presented by the Board of Regents to exemplary faculty members within the USM. Each award carries a $1,000 prize, provided by the institutions and the University System of Maryland Foundation.

"Congratulations to all six of our award recipients on earning these prestigious awards," said TU President Kim Schatzel. "It is incredible to have so many of our faculty recognized by the Board of Regents for their tremendous work teaching and mentoring our students. One of our strengths as a university is our outstanding faculty and the tremendous work they do teaching and mentoring our students. We could not be more proud of our 2017 honorees."

The six honorees are the most TU has ever had in one year, exceeding 2010-11, when five faculty earned awards.

"To have received the majority of the Regent Faculty Awards among all system institutions this year, and the most in one year for our institution speaks to how much faculty excellence is embedded in our culture and the preparation of our students and graduates," said Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Timothy J. L. Chandler. 

Excellence in Teaching

Fallon's student and peer teaching evaluations are the highest in the department. She engages students in active learning inside and outside the classroom, integrating didactic, clinical and research learning. She created a clinic to offer written language support for students and patients in the community, providing training for graduate students and services for adults and adolescents. The graduate students participated in the outcomes research, which led to student co-authorship for national conference presentations and peer-reviewed publications. Fallon is also the adviser for all master's degree students—85-90 per year. Under her guidance, speech-language pathology graduate student retention rate is between 95-100 percent,  the student pass rate for the national praxis exam is 100 percent, and the graduate employment rate is 100 percent.

Excellence in Mentoring

Johnson has served as a mentor to an untold number of students, alumni, faculty, community members and administrators in her 16-year tenure. She is a cofounder of the College of Health Professions' Minority Student Mentoring Group, for which she serves as faculty adviser. Her role modeling, advocacy and support for students extends beyond their time on campus. Johnson regularly provides mentoring for minority students and works with new faculty entering clinical supervision for the first time and faculty outside the department when they need a resource for language-related activities. 

Broadwater has a 10-year record of guiding and assisting students to find meaningful employment as art educators after graduating from TU. Under her leadership the placement rate for art education graduates is close to 95 percent hired right after graduating. She frequently continues mentoring her students through their first years of teaching as well as serves as an Honors College mentor. More than 23 years ago, Broadwater founded a partnership with the Baltimore City community through an initiative called the City Kids Art Program, whose goal is to bring urban youth from Baltimore City to Towson University where they have the opportunity to explore the arts in a teaching and learning collaboration with art education students, and the Career and College Prep Program, mentoring children regarding what kinds of courses they should sign up for in high school in order to be ready for college applications. 

Excellence in Public Service

Rook has been a contributor to the US Navy's Regional Security Education Program (RSEP) for the last several years and a commentator on defense and security-related issues, particularly in the Middle East. He has been deployed with RSEP teams 17 times—eight in the last three years—for 10-14 days each tour on-board ships traveling through the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea. During his tours he gives numerous presentations and provides knowledge not only about strategic situations but also cultures, affinities and expectations to Naval leadership and Marines who may face direct contacts with unfamiliar environments. He has also delivered presentations to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Financial Crimes Division, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and a special meeting of a North Korea Study Group held at the American Enterprise Institute.

Excellence in Scholarship, Research or Creative Activity

Brand has achieved national and international recognition for her path-breaking research work and for the treatment applications built upon that work. She specializes in the assessment and treatment of trauma-related disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and dissociative disorders (DD). She is the primary investigator for two major lines of research: assessing DD accurately and conducting a series of DD treatment studies. During the last three years, Brand has published 31 research articles and five book chapters, she has two books under contract with Oxford University Press, and she has served as a keynote speaker at conferences around the world. She is a frequently called upon by national news organizations, and she has created a website, TeachTrauma, which provides ready-to-use slide show presentations, classroom activities, syllabi, and research studies. 

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The 2017 award is Lazar's second. He last received recognition from the USM Board of Regents in 2010-11 with a public service award. Throughout his tenure, he has pursued a groundbreaking research agenda focused on improving technology for people with disabilities. His research has been a significant contribution to his field, where he has published papers in top-tier journals and written a number of influential textbooks. His work on improving computer interfaces for Blind users has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Maryland Technology Development Corporation and has resulted in a number of high-impact conferences and journals. Lazar has removed a number of barriers that make user interfaces inaccessible to Blind users. One such contribution is the development of accessible web security features known as CAPTCHAs; his research has resulted in two US patents and two licensing agreements between TU and outside organizations.

Related - TU's Jonathan Lazar wins SIGCHI Social Impact Award
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The awards are presented in four categories: public service; teaching; mentoring; and research, scholarship, and creative activity.

Institutional Faculty Nominating Committees make recommendations to the institutional presidents, who review nominations and supporting material and forward recommendations to the Chancellor.  The Regents' Faculty Review Committee makes the final recommendations.