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Celebrating Excellence

UMKC Faculty and Staff Awarded for Teaching, Research, Community Engagement

Laughs, cheers and standing ovations permeated the room as University of Missouri-Kansas City faculty and staff were rewarded for their excellence in teaching, research and community engagement during the “Celebrating Excellence” faculty and staff awards ceremony.

“Celebrating Excellence” began eight years ago as an annual tradition for recognizing the achievements of UMKC faculty and staff. Friends and colleagues joined 23 awardees in Pierson Auditorium April 25 to celebrate their accomplishments in higher education.

Each year hundreds of suggestions are submitted to the awards nominating committee, recommending highly qualified faculty and staff for awards based on their departmental and community contributions, mentorship and support of students, and their success in research. “Celebrating Excellence” displays a key component of a nationally recognized university such as UMKC – caring and experienced personnel who are dedicated to the university’s mission of putting students first.

A few of the highest awards presented include the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, presented to Gerald Wyckoff, professor of molecular biology & biochemistry in the School of Biological Sciences; and Trustees Faculty Awards, presented to Jeff Johnson, assistant professor of marketing and supply chain management in the Bloch School, and Simon Friedman, professor of pharmaceutical science in the School of Pharmacy.

Recognition was also given to Allen Rostron, associate dean and professor in the School of Law and recipient of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and two UM System President’s Award recipients: Wai-Yim Ching, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Physics in the College of Arts & Sciences’ Department of Physics and Astronomy; and Joan McDowd,  professor of psychology in the Department of Psychology (also in the College of Arts & Sciences).

One of UMKC’s highest honors, the Chancellor’s Award for Career Contributions to the University, was presented to Chris Brown, professor of counseling education and psychology in the School of Education, for her “history of engagement with the university community and a career that has significantly advanced the mission, vision, and values of the university.”

“Colleagues say her positive attitude is contagious and inspiring. Students love her, faculty trust and appreciate her, and her dean’s office staff admired her and thrived under her leadership,” said Denis Medeiros, dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs, who served as master of ceremonies.  Brown, who served as interim dean of the School of Education from 2014 until 2016, received a standing ovation for her leadership, service and commitment to UMKC.

UMKC Provost and Executive Vice-Chancellor Barbara Bichelmeyer closed the ceremony with a special recognition in celebration of the fast-approaching retirement of Medeiros.

Medeiros has served more than 35 years in higher education and has been with UMKC since 2011. In appreciation of his service, Bichelmeyer surprised him with a special presentation of a framed kangaroo watercolor painting created by artist Tom Corbin.

The 2017 “Celebrating Excellence” award ceremony honored the following:

2017 Research Award Recipients

N.T. Veatch Award for Distinguished Learning and Creative Activity ($1,000)Simon Friedman, Professor, Pharmaceutical Science, School of Pharmacy

Trustees Faculty Fellowship Award ($15,000) – Simon Friedman, Professor, Pharmaceutical Science, School of Pharmacy

Trustees Faculty Scholar Award ($5,000) – Jeffrey Johnson, Assistant Professor, Marketing and Supply Chain Management, Henry W. Bloch School of Business

Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Researchers, Scholars, and Artists ($1,000 each)

  • Richard Delaware, Teaching Professor, Mathematics & Statistics, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Leonard Dobens, Professor, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, School of Biological Sciences
  • Diane Filion, Professor, Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences

2017 Teaching Awards

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring ($1,500)Leonard Dobens, Professor, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, School of Biological Sciences

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching ($1,500) Gerald Wyckoff, Professor, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, School of Biological Sciences

Chancellor’s Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching ($1,500) – Kimberly Langrehr, Assistant Professor, Counseling and Educational Psychology, School of Education

Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching – Allen Rostron, Associate Dean and Professor, School of Law

Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching ($1,500)Brian Hare, Associate Teaching Professor, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, School of Computing and Engineering

ELMER F. PIERSON GOOD TEACHING AWARD, Business Nathan Mauck, Assistant Professor, Finance, Henry W. Bloch School of Business

ELMER F. PIERSON GOOD TEACHING AWARD, LawTimothy Lynch, Associate Professor, School of Law

ELMER F. PIERSON GOOD TEACHING AWARD, DentistryRobert Edwards, Clinical Professor, Endodontics, School of Dentistry

ELMER F. PIERSON GOOD TEACHING AWARD, MedicineDarla McCarthy, Associate Teaching Professor, Basic Medical Sciences, School of Medicine

2017 Staff Awards

Student Affairs Student Mentor Staff Award ($1,500) Mary Allison Joseph, Office Support Assistant, Political Science, College of Arts & Sciences

Staff Council Dedication Award ($1,500)Sandra Smith, Senior Student Support Specialist, Council on Curriculum, School of Medicine

Chancellor’s True Unsung Hero Staff Award ($1,500) Hea-Kyung Shoemaker, Senior Business Support Specialist, Dean’s Office, College of Arts & Sciences

Chancellor’s Education First Staff Award ($1,500)Elizabeth Johnson, Senior Library Information Specialist, University Libraries

2017 Service and Engagement Awards

Chancellor’s Award for Embracing Diversity ($1,500 each)

  • Uzziel Pecina, Assistant Teaching Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Foundations, School of Education
  • Scott Curtis, Research & Liaison Librarian, Public Services, University Libraries

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Community Engagement ($1,500)Johanna Nilsson, Professor, Counseling and Education Psychology, School of Education

Chancellor’s Award for Career Contributions to the University ($5,000)Chrisanthia Brown, Professor, Counseling and Education Psychology, School of Education


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