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Presidential and Board of Regents Awards (2003)

Presidential Research Professor

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J. Kevin Eckert
Professor of Sociology
and Anthropology
Presidential Research Professor, 2003-2006

A prominent scholar in the field of gerontology, J. Kevin Eckert is co-director of UMBC’s doctoral program in gerontology. His most recent book, Assisted Living: Needs, Practices, and Policies in Residential Care for the Elderly, has been praised as one of the largest, most comprehensive studies of residential care/assisted living ever undertaken.

Kevin Eckert is an exemplary researcher by any standard of measurement. His impressive publication record and success in obtaining research funding have made him a leader in the field of gerontology.

Eckert’s research has primarily focused on issues of caregiving and housing for the elderly. Currently, he is collaborating with researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine on a four-year project funded by the National Institute on Aging that examines the medical and functional outcomes for elderly people living in nursing homes and residential care settings. Eckert has authored or edited four books and almost fifty articles for refereed journals or books. Since coming to UMBC in 1987, his research projects have brought over $11 million in funding to the university. Eckert is also the co-director of UMBC’s gerontology doctoral program, one of only six such programs in the nation.

“Dr. Eckert’s work as a scholar, teacher and professional is clearly aligned with UMBC’s mission in the area of public policy, and his work enhances UMBC’s national reputation as a graduate research institution,” says Mary Stuart, chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Others in his field apparently agree, as Eckert has also been the recipient of several awards, including the University System of Maryland Board of Regents Faculty Award for Collaboration, a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship and a Senior Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health’s National Research Service Award program.

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Presidential Teaching Professor

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Alan S. Rosenthal
Associate Professor of
Modern Languages
and Linguistics
Presidential Teaching Professor, 2003-2006

Whether teaching French 101 or a seminar for master’s degree students, Alan S. Rosenthal is regarded as one of UMBC’s best teachers: passionate about his subject, innovative in his teaching methods, and fascinating in the sweep and rich detail of his lectures. A member of the faculty for more than 25 years, he also developed a groundbreaking textbook, Objectif France, and contributed to UMBC’s award-winning France-TV Magazine.

Countless UMBC students have benefited from Presidential Teaching Professor Alan Rosenthal’s innovative teaching style. His contributions to the field of language pedagogy, however, resonate far beyond the confines of Hilltop Circle.

Rosenthal’s enthusiasm for his subject matter and concern for his students and their progress is legendary among colleagues and former students alike. “From the month I arrived at UMBC in 1979 I have heard the students praise his clarity, his careful preparation, and his concern for learning,” says Thomas Field, director of the Center for the Humanities and professor of modern languages and linguistics. “Alan Rosenthal sees his students, not his course material, as the focus of his work, and for this reason he is one of the most sought-after advisors in the department.”

Rosenthal’s research in the field of language pedagogy has also brought UMBC national recognition. During the 1980s, under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, he designed and developed new curriculum for first-year coursework in French using communicative competence training, an approach based on listening comprehension that teaches grammar through subject matter. In 1993, Rosenthal and colleagues Claud Duverlie and Marie Deverneil published Objectif France, one of the first textbooks to use this communicative approach to language instruction. Over the years, Rosenthal’s efforts have helped lead to over $1 million in funding for projects in language pedagogy.

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Presidential Distinguished Professional Staff Award

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Charles R. Brown
Athletic Director
Presidential Distinguished Professional Staff Award Winner, 2003-2004
Under Charles R. Brown’s leadership, UMBC’s athletic, recreation, and physical education programs have flourished; campus athletic facilities have been expanded and upgraded; and student-athletes are held to high academic standards. His most recent achievement, moving the Retrievers into the NCAA America East conference, brings UMBC greater visibility throughout the northeast.

Charlie Brown’s leadership has enabled UMBC’s athletic program to match the university’s academic success. A tireless advocate for the program and its student-athletes, he has developed a successful athletic program with high-quality facilities, as well as a popular recreation and physical education program that serves the entire student body.

“Under his direction, the athletic, recreation and physical education programs have flourished,” says Kathy Zerrlaut, associate athletic director. “The physical education program offers different types of classes that interest the student body. The recreation, intramural and club sports program has increased participation dramatically. Our athletic teams have become successful both in the classroom and on the field.”

The results of Brown’s work are evident. In recent years, UMBC’s athletic facilities have improved dramatically with – among other improvements – the addition of an outdoor pool and the Retriever Activities Center. The Athletic Department has added significant numbers of staff to support both the athletic and recreation programs. UMBC received four consecutive Northeast Conference Commissioner’s Cups, given for the conference’s top overall program.

Perhaps more important, Brown’s efforts to ensure the success of student-athletes on and off the field are equally evident. In the last four years, 18 student-athletes have earned Academic All-America status and for the past year, more than half of all student-athletes had grade-point averages of 3.0 or higher.

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Presidential Classified Staff Employee of the Year

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Jane L. Gethmann
Coordinator of the
Student Affairs Office in
the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
Presidential Classified
Staff Employee of
the Year, 2003-2004

“Jane has been a dynamo,” says her department chair. “She is the ‘go to’ person that everyone gravitates toward to get things done,” adds a colleague. “More importantly, she respects the dignity and worth of every individual that she interacts with, regardless of their roles or status.”

From all accounts, Jane Gethmann plays a vital role in ensuring that life runs smoothly in the Department of Computer Science & Electrical Engineering. Described by colleagues as “a dynamo,” “professional,” and “resourceful,” it is apparent that Gethmann is a highly respected and appreciated member of her department.

“Jane Gethmann is the type of individual you want to have on your team,” says Jim Milani, director of administration for the College of Engineering and Information Technology. “She is the consummate team member and is a person that you can rely on to get the job successfully completed. She has been very helpful and supportive and I consider her to be a great friend and colleague. We need more people like Jane at UMBC.”

Gethmann arrived in CSEE in 1997 after working for several years for the Graduate School. She handles a wide range of duties, from managing daily activities of the CSEE Student Affairs Office to leading the department’s move from the Engineering and Computer Science building to the new Information Technology and Engineering building. Despite her many responsibilities, however, she is also quick to offer assistance to anyone who needs it, from faculty and administrators to the department’s many students. Her department has come to depend on her ability to handle a heavy workload competently and efficiently.

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President’s Commission for Women Award

Anne Brodsky
Associate Professor
of Psychology
and Affiliate Faculty, Women’s Studies
President’s Commission
for Women Award
Anne Brodsky is an outstanding researcher and scholar and a dedicated teacher,” says Carlo DiClemente, chair of the Department of Psychology. “Her contribution of her latest book, With All Our Strength, is only the last in a series of wonderful contributions to UMBC. She was one of the first faculty mentors for the office of residential life, is active in promoting women’s studies on campus, has co-developed a diversity course within our department and has contributed to a UMBC-Casey Foundation joint study program.”

Anne Brodsky’s work on behalf of women at UMBC and beyond is being recognized with this year’s award from the President’s Commission for Women.

Brodsky’s research background studying the resilience of women and the role of communities in resisting societal risks such as violence, poverty and racism led to her current work with the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). RAWA is a humanitarian and political women’s organization that has operated clandestinely in Afghanistan and Pakistan for the past twenty-six years. Brodsky has been working with RAWA for more than three years to support their efforts to raise awareness of the plight of women under fundamentalist oppression, to give voice to Afghani women’s lives and concerns and to document the resistance of Afghani women to their oppression. As part of these efforts, Brodsky brought members of RAWA to the United States and UMBC to tell the story of their lives and revolutionary work. Earlier this year, Brodsky published a book about RAWA and her experiences with the group, With All Our Strength: The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan.

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Board of Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Research

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Govind Rao
Professor and Chair,
Chemical and Biochemical Engineering
Board of Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Research

“A founding member of his department, Govind Rao has helped build its international reputation. His cutting-edge research in the area of sensors and instrumentation includes practical applications of fluorescence sensing technology – for example, a dime-sized implant that can be scanned with a laser and used to measure glucose levels in diabetics.

Govind Rao strikes a rare balance for any researcher. He is recognized as a great scholar in his field, but his work also makes significant contributions far beyond the academic world.

Rao’s research examines ways to improve sensors and instrumentation. His work has resulted in low-cost approaches that make many highly precise measurements available outside of a research laboratory setting. In one recent project, he developed high throughput bioprocessing techniques that could revolutionize the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. His work in this area could lead to the development of a massively parallel bioreactor system that could hasten the discovery and production of new drugs.

Since he arrived at UMBC in 1987, Rao has been awarded nearly $4.5 million in external funding from a variety of sources and has been honored several times by his peers. These honors include the 2001 Elmer Gaden Award, given for the most influential paper published in Biotechnology & Bioengineering, and his election as a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Rao was also recently recognized as one of twenty-five finalists for The Daily Record’s second annual “Innovator of the Year” award, which recognizes Maryland residents and companies who have introduced innovations that have had positive effects on their businesses, industries or communities.

“Dr. Rao is an exceptional faculty leader. He is an award-winning teacher, has performed truly outstandingly creative research, inspired students and built impressive collaborations with other USM institutions,” says Shlomo Carmi, Dean of the College of Engineering and Information Technology.

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Board of Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Public Service

E. Wendy Saul
Former Professor, Education
Board of Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Public Service

While well-known for her work promoting science literacy and active learning though the National Science Foundation-funded Elementary Science Integration Project, E. Wendy Saul also has given selflessly of her time and abilities in an international arena. Since 1997, she has volunteered with the Reading and Writing for Critical Thinking project, where she has traveled to Lithuania and Azerbaijan, living under difficult conditions for extended periods of time while working as an expert teacher trainer. Saul has accepted an appointment at The University of Missouri, St. Louis.

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Board of Regents Staff Award for Excellence

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Ramona V. Arthur
Director of Off-Campus Student Services
Board of Regents Staff Award for Excellence

Ramona V. Arthur has been instrumental in helping commuter students have meaningful connections both on campus and in the off-campus communities where they live. She is especially known for engaging students in service-learning opportunities, from Red Cross blood drives to Habitat for Humanity projects, and has been particularly active in connecting UMBC students as mentors to young students in local schools.

From organizing social activities to initiating a mentoring program for transfer students, Ramona Arthur’s 23 years of service to the UMBC community reflect her extraordinary commitment to the welfare of students. Her vision has allowed UMBC to offer countless activities and services that offer students opportunities for enrichment and greater academic achievement.

Arthur arrived at UMBC in 1980 as program director for the then-new University Center. Under her leadership, the activities and services offered within the walls of the University Center expanded dramatically. She has been the driving force behind a number of initiatives to address the needs of UMBC’s diverse student body, including the Graduate Student Involvement Council, the Cross-Campus Student Advisory Committee, the Commuter Relations Board and the Commuter Assistants’ Living & Learning Communities.

Ramona Arthur now serves as director of off-campus student services, an office that she created. In recent years, she also developed the Transfer Student Network that provides extra support for transfer students as they adjust to life at UMBC.

“The foundation for Ramona’s success,” says George Preisinger, director of transportation services and special projects, “lies in her intrinsic belief in students and in her desire to provide them with opportunities to understand, value and contribute to their diverse communities. Whatever the function, Ramona keeps the welfare of students in the forefront of her efforts, serving as caregiver, teacher, mentor and shaper of attitudes and relationships.”

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Gregory L. Bagwell
Postal Services
Supervisor
Board of Regents Staff Award for Excellence

A roving goodwill ambassador for UMBC, Gregory L. Bagwell “gives 200% every day” to a job and the campus that he loves, overseeing all operations for the UMBC mailroom and supervising a staff of four. He is widely known and highly respected on campus for both his exceptional customer service and his contagious, positive attitude.

Mail delivery is a campus service often taken for granted, but Greg Bagwell brings uncommon enthusiasm and exceptional customer service to this usually overlooked task. Bagwell’s rare combination of extensive knowledge, unfailing courtesy, positive attitude and diligence has made him one of the most recognized people at UMBC.

Bagwell’s career at UMBC began in 1984 when he was hired as a mail processor; after twelve years as a mailroom employee, he was promoted to its supervisor. In his current position, Bagwell oversees all of the daily operations of the university’s mailroom, which handles 2.3 million pieces of mail annually. In addition to his administrative duties, Bagwell supervises four staff members and continues to handle his own mail delivery route.

It is Bagwell’s commitment to customer service, however, that makes his work so invaluable to the entire campus community. He is quick to offer his advice and services to his customers to ensure that their mailings arrive in a timely fashion. His work has also been vital to the success of the Comm Store, the university’s first full-service postal center.

“One of Greg’s strongest traits is his ability to bring with him a genuine sense of passion and enthusiasm in all that he does,” says Yvette Mozie-Ross, director of admissions. “Greg greets his colleagues with a bright smile and energetic ‘hello’ with each and every passing.”

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Andrea Spratt
Assistant Director
of the Learning
Resources Center
Board of Regents Staff Award for Excellence

A mathematics educator, Andrea Spratt is committed to students’ academic success. Throughout the course of more than a dozen years at UMBC, she been praised by both students and their parents and by faculty and staff for her ability to listen carefully and to tailor interventions – from individual tutoring to class instruction and program design – to meet each student’s needs.

As assistant director of UMBC’s Learning Resources Center, Andrea Spratt has played an important role in the academic success of countless students. Spratt’s many contributions to improving the services of the LRC reflect her commitment to helping all students learn.

Spratt handles the administrative duties associated with the center’s daily operations, but still finds time for instruction and special projects. As a career mathematics educator, she takes special interest in helping students improve their math skills. The students who she instructs become not only proficient, but also confident in their newly discovered abilities. Spratt also proposed and implemented the ALEKS program to the math department. ALEKS is a self-paced, web-based arithmetic and algebra review course that is offered to new freshmen who wish to work towards a higher math placement during the summer before their first semester. Of the students who complete ALEKS and retest, ninety percent place into a college-level math course, significantly easing the enrollment crunch in Math 106.

Students, their parents, and her faculty colleagues alike have noted Andrea Spratt’s exceptional work. Theresa Davis, director of the Learning Resources Center, says, “Andrea’s exceptional educational leadership and expert teaching skill have impacted thousands of students through direct instruction, program development, and organizational and community activity. Andrea is a consummate professional and an educator’s educator.”

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View Previous Presidential Faculty and Staff Award Recipients
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