Our faculty are an important and vital part of all we do. We take great pride in recognizing their achievements in teaching, scholarship, research, creative activity, public service, and mentoring.
The Board of Regents' Faculty Awards are the highest honor presented by the Board of Regents to exemplary faculty members within the University System of Maryland (USM). These awards publicly recognize distinguished performance in 1) Teaching, 2) Scholarship, Research, or Creative Activity, 3) Public Service, 4) Mentoring, and 5) Innovation on the part of faculty members. Each award carries a $2,000 prize provided by the institutions and the University System of Maryland Foundation.
Towson University’s Institutional Faculty Nominating Committee submits its recommendations to President Schatzel for consideration. Final nominations of outstanding TU faculty whose efforts have fueled exceptional teaching, research, service and innovation were then forwarded to the USM Office of Academic Affairs for final selection.
The TU Institutional Faculty Nominating Committee recommended following faculty members for 2019 Board of Regents' Faculty Awards. It is an honor to receive the committee's nomination.
Seth Gitter’s research focuses on a variety of issues in Latin American countries including early childhood development, cash transfers, schooling, migration fair-trade coffee, and quinoa. The recipient of the Teaching Award (2018) for TU’s College of Business and Economics, Dr. Gitter weaves his hands-on field research into many of his courses, where students not only study the theory of economic growth, but explore issues related to underdeveloped countries. By sharing his first-hand experiences with the students, Gitter helps students to look beyond the textbook and classroom to understand the human elements behind economic tables and models. “My students love stories from the countries they study,” he says. “My goal as a teacher is to convince students that learning a complex economic model is worthwhile. Having an idea about the individual people and countries also motivates the students to study harder, since it makes the pursuit seem more worthwhile.”
John McTague joined the faculty at Towson University in the fall of 2012 and teaches courses in American politics, particularly the subjects of religion and politics and political parties, and political methodology. He also teaches a service-learning course on the political foundations of economic and racial inequality in which he combines seasons of the HBO series The Wire with service in East Baltimore that includes picking up trash, tending an urban farm and helping repurpose vacant lots. In the process, says McTague, “they get a much deeper connection to the material,” than they would just reading about it. “I think they care a lot more about what they’re studying,” observes the assistant professor, “when they have this personal experience.”
Michelle Snyder began her tenure at Towson University in 2006. Since this time, this faculty member has taught six courses, which does not include directed readings, independent research, or seminar courses. She was the first faculty member in her department to expand a Cell Biology course into a large, multi-section lecture course housing 60-100 students, while still incorporating a recitation-type style. She also created a new graduate class in Cell Signaling, as well as a Cell Biology Laboratory class, which serves as a model for recently developed Course-Based Undergraduate Research ExperienceS (or CURES).Dr. Snyder has had nothing but superb teaching evaluations, always achieving ratings of well over four points out of five. Her students have said, “she prepared me for an entry-level job within a lab setting,” and “having hands-on experience with lab techniques has been extremely informative.”
Elana Ehrlich has successfully combined her love of teaching with research on virology and ubiquitin, a small protein found in almost all cellular tissues in humans, which helps regulate the processes of other proteins in the body. Her commitment to serving students has led her to the role as a co-principal investigator for the Bridges to the Baccalaureate program that eases the transition for students from community college to Towson University. She said, “Our goal is to make these students competitive to pursue graduate education and careers in biomedical research,” explains Ehrlich. “Towson University embraces a philosophy I share: When you have a talented student, you need to give them the extra boost to take the next step.”
In addition to being a highly productive and engaged faculty member, Nhung Hendy is a suicide prevention advocate. She established the Thao Nguyen Foundation in 2013, in honor of her daughter, to promote awareness of mental illness by advancing educational attainment and research success in discovering new treatment options for mental illness. In addition to running the foundation, she also contributed my time to public service through serving on the Board of Directors at the Mental Health Association of Maryland (MHAM) for 2 years. Of her work, says Dr. Hendy “as my daughter's tragedy happened on campus at Drexel University, I have come to see the duty of a college instructor as a de facto counsellor.” “Our students are stressed out and anxious due to the pressure from parents to succeed, peers to fit in, and their own pressure to satisfy everyone. I personally believe that suicides can be prevented, and I made it my life's mission to help students in distress.”
Joanna Maxwell (Basuray) has worked in critical care and emergency centers before her clinical concentration in pediatric nursing. In teaching nursing and health care, Dr. Maxwell has developed and offered transcultural health care courses and in 2014, TU awarded her with the President’s Diversity Award for her dedication to cultural diversity in her professional role. At the community level, Dr. Maxwell has dedicated 17 years to serving the local refugee and immigrant populations through health care initiatives such as community health fairs and health promotion education. At the Goodnow Community Center in Baltimore, this work has served over 500 men and women from diverse ethnic populations such as Congo, Eritrea, Nepal, Somalia, Sudan, and Syria, and engages graduate and undergraduate students as volunteers. Of her motivation for these efforts Dr. Maxwell says, “my interest in transcultural nursing and the promotion of multicultural education is driven by my philosophy to serve humanity in my professional role as a nurse educator.”
In addition to the many presentations Alex Storrs performs at the Watson-King Planetarium, he also goes out to the local community to perform a significant amount of public service. He uses TU’s portable planetarium to travel to local schools, scout troops, and other functions and perform shows, and works with local teachers through the Project Astro program to help infuse astronomy topics into the curriculum. Outside of university and school settings, Dr. Storrs gives presentations for organizations such as the Baltimore Underground Science Space, the Harford County “Science Café”, the Fairhaven Retirement community, the Baltimore County Public Library, and numerous local amateur astronomy clubs. He says, “I use the planetarium not only to inform, but to inspire attendees with thought-provoking presentations on a wide variety of topics. I often include some examples of everyday interest, including issues of inclusion and civil rights where possible.”
Dr. Jerome is a behavioral exercise scientist with a research focus on empowering people to make lifestyle changes that will improve their mental and physical health. He has expertise in the design, implementation and evaluation of evidenced based approaches to change behaviors in order to improve physical and mental health. In the past three years, Dr. Jerome has authored five publications focused on behavior change to reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and has applied this expertise to help adults with serious mental illness improve their physical health. Looking ahead, Dr. Jerome said, “I will maintain my dedication to high quality research which will include both local student-community focus research continued collaborations with colleagues around the world.”
John Sivey’s research group has established an international reputation for pioneering studies in the areas of aquatic and environmental chemistry. His laboratory specializes in fundamental and applied research aimed at advancing our understanding of (1) the chemistry of disinfectants (particularly chlorine and bromine) in systems essential to public health (including drinking water, wastewater, and pools) and (2) the environmental fate of “inert” agrochemicals, which (despite their inert classification) have significant (bio)activity in the environment. Since arriving at TU in 2012, John Sivey has mentored a diverse group of research students, from both TU and Johns Hopkins University. His students say, “Dr. Sivey’s drive and determination is obvious to us, students, and it is his devotion that pushes us to grow and excel.” They continue, “his drive serves not only as an example of scholarship, but as a motivator for us to be scholars of the same caliber.”
Vincent Thomas’ choreography has been presented at various national and international venues including Barcelona and Madrid, Spain, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Scotland, and Avignon, France. He has performed worldwide, including at the World Congress on Dance Research in Athens, Greece, and the International Choreographer’s Showcase in Bari, Italy. A recipient of numerous grants, Thomas’ is multi-dimensional company VTDance builds on the use of contemporary dance, improvisation, text/ movement, a variety of sound sources, and collaborations with other artists, including dancers, musicians, poets, visual artists, and others [to be discovered]. Professor Thomas says, “my goal is to help students stretch their capacity to make a positive impact on the world. I teach techniques and concepts, yes, but the relevance of those in different aspects of life – that’s the real power.”
The Distinguished Faculty Service Award is the most prestigious faculty honor at Towson University. It is given to a faculty member who has dedicated 20 or more years to higher education at Towson University, or at TU and other professional employers in their field.
Among the factors to be considered are:
Each September, a call for faculty nominations is posted in TU Today. Any member of the university community may nominate a TU faculty member that meets the criteria.
The recipient will be an individual who has made a significant contribution through his or her teaching, scholarship, and participation in university affairs. The recipient of the award will receive $2,500 and be presented with the award during the Winter Commencement for their respective college. Nomination forms are typically due in early October. Please contact Janet DeLany for additional information about the selection process.