Presidential and Board of Regents Awards (2013)

Manil Suri | Constantine Vaporis | Timothy Lynch | Peggy Major | James Grubb | Tülay Adalı | Suzanne Ostrand-Rosenberg Nagaraj K. Neerchal | Arlene Wergin | Janet Magruder | Lee Hawthorne Calizo

Presidential Teaching Award


Manil Suri
Professor, Mathematics and Statistics
Presidential Teaching Award, 2013-2016

Manil Suri joined the UMBC faculty in 1983. Today, as a professor of mathematics, he has made significant contributions in the field of Numerical Analysis, obtaining hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants for research at UMBC. Suri is also an internationally recognized writer; his works have been published in major publications including The New Yorker, Newsweek and Washington Post Magazine.

Suri’s interest in teaching often expands outside of our campus, and his work, both inside and outside the field of mathematics, repeatedly engages audiences with UMBC. He has attracted tens of thousands of viewers on YouTube via his videos in mathematics, has spoken on mathematical topics on NPR and the BBC and has explained mathematics to artists and writers at artist colonies. Currently, he is working on a cutting-edge project meant to make math accessible to a range of students: an e-book that combines animated video, film and fiction to explain mathematical concepts in simple terms.

Having worked with a range of students – from high school level to graduate level – Suri is known as a teacher that goes above-and-beyond in the matters of instruction. He is not only consistently successful in the communication of lessons, but also excels in teaching what it takes to become successful overall in the academic realm. He is known by UMBC students as an instructor that is willing to work just as hard as his students to ensure that everyone is able to learn the material.

Suri earned his M.S. and Ph.D in mathematics from Carnegie-Mellon University.

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Presidential Research Award


Constantine Vaporis
Professor and
Director of Asian Studies
Program, History
Presidential Research Award, 2013-2016

Constantine Vaporis, whose research has dramatically influenced standard histories of East Asia taught in American coursework, came to UMBC in 1989. His dedication to allowing others to access East Asian culture and history has culminated in the creation of the Asian Studies Program at UMBC, which began in 2012, a program he has been working to establish for a decade.

Vaporis’ skills in his area of study are unmatched, and he has earned an international reputation as a top scholar able to succeed in a challenging field, usually inaccessible to non-native Japanese. He is the author of several influential publications including essays and monographs that have been path-breaking in the field. Among them, his work Tour of Duty, garnered international praise, and was nominated for rare prizes including the International Convention of Asia Scholars Book Prize for the Best Study in Humanities, a prize awarded only once every three years. His most recent publication, an interpretive source reader, has been considered by international scholars as one that will “greatly enhance” undergraduate teaching in courses of pre- and early-modern Japanese and East Asian history.

He is known by his colleagues as a generous and effective teacher willing to lend his expertise in many efforts meant to increase accessibility to his area of research at UMBC. In addition to leading the effort to secure an Asian Studies Program at UMBC, he has held the position of Graduate Program Director for the Historical Studies M.A. program, chaired two promotion review committees, served on department and university search committees and served for two years on the University Faculty Review Committee.

Vaporis earned his M.A. and Ph.D in East Asian studies with a concentration in history from Princeton University.

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Presidential Distinguished Staff Award


Timothy Lynch
Assistant Director, Summer, Winter and Special Programs
Presidential Distinguished Staff Award, Professional Staff, 2013-2014

Since graduating from UMBC in 1987, Timothy Lynch’s commitment to student service, has been unwavering in dedication. Lynch joined the UMBC staff in 1993 as part of the Continuing and Professional Studies Department; in 2003 he began serving as the assistant director for the Office of Summer, Winter and Special Programs.

In his role as assistant director, Lynch regularly works between students, faculty and administrators, to make the enrollment process manageable for all of those involved. His high level of follow through and helpfulness continuously assuage the anxieties students hold while attempting to supplement their educations with special programming, or outside of the spring and fall semesters. Additionally, over 500 students each year, the visiting student population, rely heavily on Lynch’s assistance to navigate the enrollment process for all courses. His friendly demeanor and thorough habits make students feel welcome to the UMBC community, and his interactions are appreciated as unmatched in their level of assistance during the college enrollment process.

When Timothy Lynch is not working directly with students, he is working to make their enrollment experience better. Lynch has been instrumental in implementing remedy tracking to handle students’ inquiries, making it easier for students to view the schedule of classes, developing a mobile optimized summer website and in expanding social media channels so that students can have more enriching experiences during the summer and winter periods.

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Peggy Major
Program Management Specialist, Honors College
Presidential Distinguished Staff Award, Non-Exempt Staff, 2013-2014

Peggy Major joined the UMBC staff in 1995 in the Albin O. Kuhn Library Reference Department. Her diligence in the organization of complex classification systems and assistance in the creation of a library website, during a period of major structural reforms in the building, proved essential in the development the Library’s centrality in the education of UMBC students.

Upon becoming Program Management Specialist for the Honors College, Major continued to provide invaluable resources for students, following the progress of all students in the Honors College from acceptance through graduation. Though applications for acceptance into the College continue to grow dramatically each year, Major’s astute attention to detail and persistence assure that the Honors College maintains its level of excellence. In addition to overseeing all admittance procedures for candidates, Major creates regular statistical reports for the department, manages the Honors College database and audits all graduating seniors to be sure each is on track to complete the full Honors certificate requirements.

Throughout the evolution of her departments, Major has been recognized by her colleagues as a pillar of reliability; she is known for the way her kindly presence, warmth, generosity and volunteerism influence all who encounter her.

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Board of Regents’ Award for Excellence in Teaching


James Grubb
Professor, History
USM Board of Regents’ Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2013

James Grubb, who joined the faculty in 1983, has continuously been recognized for his exemplary work and dedication to research and teaching in the classroom. He has earned national recognition as one of the foremost scholars of the Italian Renaissance.

As a professor whose research is highly regarded in his field, Grubb finds ways to integrate the research practice into his teaching in order to ensure that his students learn the importance of learning from a number of sources in the field of history. The materials extend past the usual textbooks and text documents, as he encourages students to interpret works of art, letters, ledgers and diaries – often taken from his actual research into Italian archives – providing students the opportunity to gain experience working as historians do.

In his duties as Coordinator of Undergraduate Advising, Grubb has a reputation for engaging with students and faculty at all times to ensure students’ academic success. He is an advisor for the Religious Studies Department, the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Program and various history honors societies. Additionally, Grubb routinely serves on several thesis committees and oversees independent study and graduate research.

Grubb, whose teaching reaches hundreds of students each year, is admired by students for his mentorship and passionate, adaptive teaching style in which he is able to design coursework accessible for all of those in the classroom.

James Grubb earned his Ph.D in History from the University of Chicago.

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Board of Regents’ Award for Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity


Tülay Adalı
Professor, Computer Sciences and Electrical Engineering
USM Board of Regents’ Award for Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity, 2013

Since joining the faculty in 1992, Tülay Adalı has made numerous, significant contributions to her field, developing a strong research practice supported by lasting, collaborative relationships with local and international organizations and agencies. She is the recipient of several honors, including the National Science Foundation’s prestigious NSF Career Grant.

Adalı’s stature in her discipline is based on a number of landmark contributions, recognized by scholars as findings that have redefined the study of statistical signal processing. Her innovative contributions have solved problems that previously could not be addressed with traditional methods of statistical analysis. Recently, she has been elevated to the level of Fellow by the institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and by the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and has been selected as a 2012-2013 IEEE Distinguished Lecturer.

Her research in statistical signal processing centered upon medical data analysis has made UMBC a major contributor in research for major medical institutions in the area, and nationwide. She has developed a number of powerful data-driven solutions for medical image analysis and fusion software that has been widely used in the medical field.

She is known by her students as an active mentor who works hard to prepare Ph.D candidates for success, and known by her colleagues as someone willing to work tirelessly to make connections with researchers in other institutions for the benefit of the department.

Tülay Adalı earned her M.S. and Ph.D in electrical and computer engineering from North Carolina State University.

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Board of Regents’ Award for Excellence in Mentoring


Suzanne Ostrand-Rosenberg
Professor, Computer Sciences and Electrical Engineering
USM Board of Regents’ Award for Excellence in Mentoring, 2013

Suzanne Ostrand-Rosenberg joined UMBC in 1977 and serves as the Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Chair of Biochemistry. Her reputation as an authority in the field of cancer immunology research, and her commitment to the subject extends beyond the UMBC community; she been a member of the Maryland Stem Cell Commission since 2006 and has served on the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Counselors since 2009.

Ostrand-Rosenberg runs an internationally recognized cancer immunology research lab in which she has trained students at all levels of study. The combination of her state-of-the-art research methods and dedication to encouraging students interested in pursuing research, often prepares students far beyond the scope of the research activity of their peers. Her trainees have received external fellowships, travel awards for attendance at national and international conferences and have had their findings published in prestigious scientific journals. She is active in the UMBC MARC U*STAR program and managed one of the first Undergraduate Research Experience (REU) programs on campus, BCURE (Breast Cancer Undergraduate Research Experience).

She often provides advice and direction for new and young faculty on writing grants and on balancing teaching, research and service, whenever possible, and devotes time to the advancement of women in STEM fields through various programs and activities.

She is held in high regard by those who encounter her as someone willing to unselfishly lend her time to all students and colleagues whom ask for assistance.

Suzanne Ostrand-Rosenberg received her Ph.D in immunology from the California Institute of Technology.

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Board of Regents’ Award for Innovative Excellence


Nagaraj K. Neerchal
Professor and Chair, Mathematics and Statistics
USM Board of Regents’ Award for Innovative Excellence, 2013

Nagaraj K. Neerchal has been a member of the Mathematics and Statistics Faculty since 1986, and is known as an exemplary researcher in the field of applied statistics. Since becoming chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics in 2006, he has developed a reputation as a pioneer for educational and administrative initiatives.

As a member of a department responsible for providing foundational courses for UMBC’s undergraduates, Neerchal’s actions have proven crucial in maintaining the level of excellence in education for students while enrollment grows. His development of the Quiz Zero initiative – a complex assessment of a student’s preparedness for a particular math course – has greatly improved student success in foundational math courses. Students take Quiz Zero at the start of the semester, and receive immediate feedback for their preparedness for particular math and stat courses, allowing them to make more informed decisions. Neerchal has also lead the department in the creation of hybrid learning material for statistics courses, blending the resource-efficient elements of online instruction with face time with the instructor. The development of these projects has not only enhanced student learning opportunities, they allow students’ interactions with faculty to become more valuable.

Neerchal is also a co-founder for the Center of Interdisciplinary Research and Consulting (CIRC), which has been a major contributor to active learning at UMBC. It combines the training of graduate students with professional consulting, and has become the host of a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU).

Nagaraj K. Neerchal received his Ph.D in Statistics from Iowa State University.

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Board of Regents’ Award for Exceptional Contributions to the Mission of UMBC


Arlene Wergin
Director, International Education Services
USM Board of Regents’ Award for Exceptional Contributions to the Mission of UMBC, 2013

Narlene Wergin began a career in student advising and international student development in 1981, and has held the position of Director of International Educational Services (IES) at UMBC since 1990. By leading the university’s international population through a period of unprecedented growth, she has transformed IES into the robust, supportive department it is today.

Upon Wergin’s entrance into UMBC, she confronted tasks and responsibilities that were not previously undertaken by a single staff member or department. She initiated visa management for faculty, expanded international student assistance to continue past the issuance of entry documents, and helped students with ongoing issues related to their immigration status and their adjustment to new surroundings. Additionally, the growth of IES has dramatically increased the accessibility of travel abroad programs for any degree-seeking UMBC student, as it has increased counsel on program availability, financial aid and credit transfer. Wergin’s contributions to the management of IES continue to increase the recognition of UMBC overseas, and make international students and faculty feel welcome at UMBC.

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Janet Magruder
Business Manager, Center for Art, Design & Visual Culture
USM Board of Regents’ Award for Exceptional Contributions to the Mission of UMBC, 2013

Janet Magruder began working at the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture (CADVC) over 13 years ago. Her commitment to several programs and organizations at UMBC, and her representation of the University as part of several University System of Maryland committees and boards is part of what makes her contributions to the University continuously successful.

As Business Manager, Magruder often handles complex, multi-faceted budgets for a variety of public programs initiated by the CADVC, including in-house and travelling exhibitions, K-12 educational outreach programs and community outreach projects. Most recently, she has handled the CADVC’s largest grant to date, for the highly successful, multimedia exhibition, For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights, which she manages in addition to the regular supervision of all budgetary activity for the CADVC’s annual programming schedule. During a seven-year period of substantial growth in funding and public programming for the CADVC and Imaging Resource Center (IRC) from 1999-2006, Magruder took initiative as Business Manager for both departments. She also served in the same position for the Innovation and Design Lab until 2009.

Janet Magruder’s performance, known by her co-workers for its high level of dedication, integrity and drive, continues to increase the success and visibility of the CADVC, as well as the educational life of UMBC.

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Jakubik Family Endowment Staff Award


Lee Hawthorne Calizo
Director, Office of Student Life
Jakubik Family Endowment Staff Award, 2013-2014

Since joining the staff in 2001, Lee Calizo has helped reshape the face of UMBC for students by envisioning and creating exciting, welcoming campus programs that support our diverse community. Her passion to enhance the quality of the college experience for UMBC students is rooted in her dedication to higher education, a field which she has worked in since 1993.

Under her leadership, student extra-curricular involvement and the perception of life on campus has changed dramatically. Calizo has been instrumental in the execution of UMBC’s Homecoming celebration through collaboration with several departments, and she has taken a leadership position in the coordination of UMBC’s fall and winter Welcome Weeks. Additionally, Calizo is personally responsible for Convocation’s Student Processional, and the Leave Your Mark Program, both projects that have enhanced students’ feelings of personal responsibility, pride and ownership for UMBC.

She has broadened the impact and effectiveness of UMBC’s Mosaic Center for Cultural Diversity and Interfaith Center, serves as an active member of the Women’s Center Advisory Board, and has been an organizer and presenter for the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders.

Calizo’s leadership continues to make students feel inspired by their UMBC affiliation, and she is known for the strong sense of mutual respect and common purpose she builds within teams.

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