Presidential and Board of Regents Awards (2008)

L.D. Timmie Topoleski | Thomas Matthew | Danita Eichenlaub | Ethel “Willi” Haskins-Cotton | Claudia Morrell
Christopher Corbett | Cindy Kubiet

Presidential Teaching Professor


L.D. Timmie Topoleski
Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Presidential Teaching Professor, 2008-2011

L.D. Timmie Topoleski, professor of mechanical engineering, has distinguished himself as an outstanding scholar and educator whose engaging teaching has touched and inspired many students at UMBC.

Topoleski serves as graduate program director in mechanical engineering, and under his direction the program has seen a dramatic transformation both in size and quality. Because of his vision and hard work, the Department of Mechanical Engineering received two prestigious Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need Awards from the U.S. Department of Education. These awards helped create a profound transformation in the type and number of graduate students who are entering the program. He continues to provide steady guidance to his students, working with them in addressing difficult advising and mentoring issues.

Teaching undergraduates has always been one of Topoleski’s first priorities. He has taught 11 different undergraduate courses, three of which he created and developed. In addition, he reorganized and restructured two courses in order to introduce case-based learning modules and other elements. One of the courses he developed, Introduction to Design, has become a cornerstone course for the design element of mechanical engineering’s undergraduate curriculum. When Topoleski realized that the writing and oral communication skills of students needed to be improved, he rewrote part of the course to help students strengthen their skills. He subsequently created and taught an honors section for his Strength of Materials class to continue to give students an intensive writing and communication experience.

Topoleski also is active in working with and advising students outside of the classroom. He is a mentor to several Meyerhoff students in the department, mentoring as many as 11 students in recent years. He has been a regular lecturer for the Honors Forum, and he co-developed and co-taught a Humanities Scholars seminar with Jay Freyman, associate professor of ancient studies.

Last year, Topoleski received the Faculty of the Year award from the Honors College for his teaching, and he also has received Humanities Teaching Fellow and Orientation Teaching Fellow awards.

Topoleski earned a B.S. in the interdisciplinary College Scholars Program, and a M.Eng. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, all from Cornell University. He received his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from The University of Pennsylvania.

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Presidential Research Professor


Thomas Matthew
Mathematics and Statistics
Presidential Research Professor, 2008-11

Thomas Matthew, professor of statistics, is an internationally recognized authority on multivariate statistical analysis, bioequivalence testing and statistical tolerance intervals.

As an elected fellow of both the American Statistical Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, Mathew is a member of the most select group of statistical scientists in the field. He is known for his foundational statistical contributions to the field of inter-laboratory data analysis, and his work was recognized with a Youden Award for inter-laboratory testing from the American Statistical Association.

Mathew is the author of one of the leading books in the field, Statistical Tests for Mixed Linear Models, and is currently working on a highly anticipated book on Statistical Tolerance Regions, representing a recent area of research. He has been a co-editor or associate editor of four prestigious international statistics journals, and he has produced 85 original research articles, many of them in leading statistics journals.

Exceptionally prolific in obtaining independent funding for his research, Mathew has received grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Army Research Office.

Mathew has provided a high level of service to UMBC and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. He was instrumental in the creation of the B.S. program in Statistics, including writing the program proposal and helping to create new graduate and undergraduate courses. After graduation, his students often receive prominent positions at universities and in industry. His versatility as a researcher is evident in the doctoral dissertations he has supervised on a wide variety of topics.

Mathew earned a B.S. in Mathematics and a M.S. in Statistics from the University of Kerala, India. He received his Ph.D. in Statistics from the Indian Statistical Institute.

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Presidential Distinguished Staff Award


Danita Eichenlaub
Associate Director, Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology Center (GEST)
Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET)

Presidential Distinguished Staff Award, Professional Staff, 2008-2009

In addition to her outstanding management skills, Danita Eichenlaub has demonstrated leadership in the development of financial systems and controls which are now being modeled across the campus.

Eichenlaub supervises all aspects of the administrative and financial management for two research centers, GEST and JCET. She has merged the two administrative staffs from the centers into one team and monitors sponsored research funding of $20-25 million annually.

As one of the original PeopleSoft peer mentors, Eichenlaub is frequently consulted for her expertise in business processes and the management of a large administrative unit. She serves on the HR-Finance Advisory Board and the HR Upgrade Committee.

Eichenlaub takes time to train business staff across the campus in business specialist skills, helping them to be more efficient in their jobs. She is acknowledged as a mentor by the Centers’ nearly 200 research faculty. Her diligence, perseverance, knowledge and ownership of the Centers makes an important difference to both her colleagues and UMBC. Despite her large workload, she brings a teaching attitude and patience to every situation.

She received her B.A. in Physics and M.A.S. in Administrative Science from The Johns Hopkins University.

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Ethel “Willi”

Insurance Program Specialist, University Health Services (UHS)
Presidential Distinguished Staff Award, Non-Exempt Staff, 2008-2009

Ethel “Willi” Haskins-Cotton’s dedication and initiative has greatly enhanced the services UHS provides to the campus community. She patiently spends time helping international students, graduate assistants and other students, many of whom are managing their own health care for the first time, understand the complexities of medical insurance.

Haskins-Cotton established a third-party billing program enabling major insurance companies to reimburse many of the medical services UHS provides. Because of her hard work, UHS has been able to expand its range of services at a time when many college health centers have had to decrease services due to funding shortages.

Her responsibilities include negotiating with major insurance companies, providing information to patients, overseeing medical coding and managing the billing office. She is the key point person for members of the UMBC community who have insurance and billing questions. She manages the UMBC student insurance enrollment process for graduate assistants and international students, and acts as ombudsperson for all students enrolled in UMBC’s student health plan.

Because of her outstanding foresight, Haskins-Cotton has been the catalyst for ideas that improve efficiency at UHS, including the creation of a separate “check-out” area for patients that greatly reduces the number of calls and questions about student bills.

An outstanding team member and supervisor, Haskins-Cotton goes beyond her responsibilities to assist UHS staff. For example, she volunteered to become the office point person for technology issues, teaching herself many of the complexities involved in using the software and then training her coworkers.

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President’s Commission for Women Achievement Award


Claudia Morrell
Executive Director, Center for Women and Information Technology (CWIT)
President’s Commission for Women Achievement Award 2008-2009

Claudia Morrell is regarded as one of the foremost experts on gender issues in technology in the world and a role model and advocate for young women at UMBC and beyond.

As executive director of CWIT, Morrell developed the CWIT Scholars Program, which provides scholarships and programmatic support to young women and men pursuing their undergraduate degrees in information technology and engineering. The CWIT Scholars Program currently retains 94 percent of its students, a rate that exceeds the normal rate of retention for students in these majors.

During Morrell’s tenure at CWIT, the Center has grown from two employees to 41 staff, including students and faculty who work to support girls’ and women’s participation and advancement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Under her leadership, CWIT has developed successful initiatives at every level—from K-16 and workforce issues to technology entrepreneurship—including Computer Mania Day, a program which educates middle school girls about careers in technology; an after-school tech program and summer camp for girls at six Baltimore middle schools; and the ACTiVATE program, which helps women start their own technology businesses.

Morrell also was successful in drafting legislation that was signed into law on May 26, 2004 that established the first statewide Governor’s Task Force on the Status of Women and Information Technology. The Task Force recently released the highly endorsed report, In the Center of the Storm: Addressing the Challenge of Maryland’s Tightening IT Labor Market.

She speaks at state, national and international events on issues of gender and IT, including recent presentations at the United Nations and the World Bank. She developed the first International Symposium on Women and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in 1995 and established the International Taskforce on Women and ICTs. In addition, she helped organize the Global Trends in Technology: Propelling Women into Leadership forums in 2006 and 2008.

Morrell received a B.S. in Industrial Relations with Honors in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Loyola College of Maryland and a M.S. in Industrial Relations from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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Board of Regents’ Faculty Award for Mentoring


Christopher Corbett
Professor of the Practice, English
USM Board of Regents’ Faculty Award for Mentoring, 2007-2008

Christopher Corbett is an award winning journalist who has dedicated himself to helping UMBC students achieve a high level of skill as undergraduate reporters and success in internships and jobs in the field.

While teaching nearly all of the journalism courses offered by the Department of English since 1990, Corbett has served as the faculty advisor to The Retriever Weekly. He led its student editors and writers to three Reese Cleghorn Fellowships in recent years, and has helped hundreds of undergraduates hone their critical thinking, writing and editing skills.

Among Corbett’s greatest contributions at UMBC is identifying internships and jobs in journalism for undergraduates. He has supervised dozens of students in placements with news organizations in the Baltimore-Washington area, and graduates have gone on to full-time jobs at many of these organizations. Recent graduates are currently working for National Public Radio, the Baltimore Sun, the Annapolis Capital, the Maryland Gazette, the Easton Star Democrat and the Chesapeake Business Ledger, as well as for newspapers in North Carolina, Alabama, Kansas, California and other states. Several of Corbett’s mentees have won major professional awards.

Corbett’s former students attest to the extraordinary quality of his mentoring. They describe him as “the best sort of newspaper advisor, always making wise suggestions for improvement but never imposing his will,” “an active ally for UMBC students who want journalism jobs,” and a teacher/advisor who made sure his students “were equipped with the skills to be competitive and succeed.” Students seek his counsel on important career decisions long after they have graduated from UMBC.

From 1977 until 1984, Corbett worked for the Associated Press, first as a staff writer and legislative reporter in Hartford, Connecticut, then as news editor for the Middle Atlantic states, based in Baltimore. From 1985 to 2000, he worked as a nationally syndicated travel writer for the Universal Press Syndicate, publishing in the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times, among other prominent newspapers. Since 1994, he has been a regular columnist for Baltimore’s Style magazine. He is the author of the novel Vacationland and a history of the Pony Express, Orphans Preferred. He is currently working on a history of the 19th century American West. Corbett has received numerous awards for his work, most recently the Excellence in Journalism Award for Editorial Writing from the Society for Professional Journalism.

Corbett received his B.S. in Speech from Northwestern University.

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Board of Regents’ Award, Outstanding Service to Students


Cindy Kubiet
Director of Sports Medicine, Athletics
USM Board of Regents’ Award, Outstanding Service to Students, 2006-2007

For 29 years, Cindy Kubiet has provided exceptional sports medicine service to student-athletes participating in inter-collegiate sports at UMBC.

In addition to her responsibilities involving student-athletes’ general health care, Kubiet focuses on program and policy development, budget management, recruitment and training. She supervises and trains a staff that has grown to include four assistant trainers and 10-15 student-trainers, and she coordinates the activities of two team physicians and other health care professionals who treat student-athletes.

Kubiet established a training program that includes recruitment, educational forums, clinical experiences and a career development and mentor program. Throughout her service to UMBC, many of her student-trainers have entered health care professions. Her holistic approach toward working with student-athletes led to the creation of a life skills program in 1986. This three-credit course, Introduction to Health Behaviors, is required for all UMBC student-athletes and covers such topics as study skills, coping strategies, eating disorders, dating violence, decision making, alcohol education and stress management.

In addition, Kubiet has coordinated sports medicine efforts for such events as the Maryland State Games, the First and Second Rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships, the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championships and numerous NCAA Youth Education Through Sports Clinics and conference championships. She also helped plan the creation of the athletic training rooms at UMBC Stadium and the Retriever Activities Center.

Kubiet earned her B.S. in Health, Physical Education and Recreation from the University of Pittsburgh and her M.S. in Education (Athletic Training/Sports Medicine) from the University of Virginia.

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