5 TU faculty recognized with USM’s highest honor, most of any system institution

March 9, 2021

USM Board of Regents awards recognize outstanding teaching, research, service and mentoring

bor winners

The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents announced its 2021 Regents’ Faculty Awards on Tuesday, and Towson University has five of the 16 recipients of the system’s highest faculty honor—the most of all the member schools.

TU’s honorees—clinical associate professors Karen Day and Elizabeth Crusse, associate professors Katherine Holman, Joel Moore and Natalie Scala—were honored in all four categories of the prestigious awards and represent the College of Health Professions, College of Education, College of Business & Economics and the Fisher College of Science & Mathematics.

"Towson University’s success is driven by an unwavering commitment to academic excellence and transformational student opportunities for mentorship and research with our outstanding faculty," says President Kim Schatzel. "I know you join me in congratulating and thanking these distinguished members of our faculty, who represent the excellence of their colleagues in research, teaching, mentorship and service to the university."

TU was one of just two system institutions with multiple honorees, joining Salisbury, which had two faculty members recognized. This system-wide recognition follows a campus-wide nomination process, which resulted in award winners in all categories. TU shared its campus-wide nominees last week for faculty and staff awards. USM staff awards are announced in the summer.

“I’m very grateful for the effort and excellence of our faculty throughout the past year,” says Melanie Perreault, provost and executive vice president of academic and student affairs. “These honorees are but a representation of our fantastic academy, and I’m proud that these five faculty members have been recognized for how they and their colleagues have fueled exceptional teaching, research, service and innovation at TU."

Institutional faculty nominating committees make recommendations to the institutional presidents, who review nominations and supporting material and forward recommendations to USM Chancellor Jay A. Perman. The Regents Faculty Review Committee makes the final recommendations.

“It’s an honor to recognize these faculty members, whose impact on their students is profound. And while these awards recognize years of dedication, we know that the past 12 months have involved extraordinary challenges unique to COVID,” Chancellor Perman says. “System-wide, our faculty have worked hard to maintain instructional quality under circumstances none of us wanted, and I’m grateful for that. The efforts of these honorees are especially impressive and contribute so much to the USM’s resilience and strength.”

Chancellor Perman and Board of Regents Chair Linda Gooden will recognize the winners as part of the scheduled Zoom meeting of the full board on April 16.

Each award carries a $2,000 prize provided by the institutions and the USM Foundation. Last year, four Towson University faculty members received the highest accolade presented by the board to exemplary faculty.

Learn more about this year's recipients from TU below.

Excellence in Teaching

Karen Day, Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology

linda day

Day’s approach to teaching integrates scientific principles and clinical application to ensure students are equipped with the knowledge and experience they need to be successful speech-language pathologists. She augments her classroom teaching by supervising undergraduate and graduate students in the Speech and Language Center. This past year—in response to COVID-19—Day collaborated with the center director to shift normal, face-to-face clinical teaching to telepractice and clinical simulations.


Katherine Holman, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director for the Teacher as Leader in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) M.Ed. Program


Holman led the development of the Teacher as Leader in ASD graduate concentration and continues to coordinate this growing program, advising students and maintaining a professional learning community for faculty. Her dynamic teaching approach was rewarded with the 2017–18 USM Wilson H. Elkins Professorship. She used the professorship to establish the Connection Immersion and Training Classroom, providing students the opportunity to gain experience implementing evidence-based practices for young children with ASD.


Excellence in Public Service

Natalie Scala, Associate Professor of Business Analytics & Technology Management 


Scala is a nationally recognized expert in election security. Her research is the first academic work to holistically define election threats as coming from cyber, physical and/or insider sources. Her research is critical to improving security at polling places. Scala has involved students from multiple USM institutions into her research projects. This work has led to the creation of training models that question, acknowledge and bring to light election security vulnerabilities.


Excellence in Mentoring

Elizabeth Crusse, Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Nursing


Over her 17 years at Towson University, Crusse has established a strong record centered on mentoring students, practitioners, faculty and community partners. Through the Nurse Education Support Program, Crusse teaches a nurse leadership course, mentoring and advising up to 450 nursing students. Beyond her mentoring impact at TU, she positively affects nursing programs and professionals in the greater Maryland community, working with Good Samaritan Hospital, Stevenson University and the Community College of Baltimore County.


Excellence in Research/Scholarship/Creative Activity

Joel Moore, Associate Professor in the Department of Physics, Astronomy & Geosciences

joel moore

Moore’s work expands Critical Zone Science—the study of the surface and near-surface environment—to urban and urban-fringe areas, where land use and management can cause rapid changes. This work has implications that include sustainable agriculture and forestry, water quality, ecosystem evolution and climate change. Moore is a respected lecturer who is published in top journals in his field. He helps inform public works and public policy, and he facilitates significant student research opportunities.


These honorees will also be recognized at TU’s Annual Faculty and Staff Recognition Event on March 23.

The other honorees include faculty from Coppin State University; Salisbury University; the University of Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore; UMBC; the University of Maryland, College Park; and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.