Leaders in Learning

Photo by Brandon Parigo, Strategic Marketing and Communications

A celebration of faculty achievement

University of Missouri-Kansas City faculty who received endowed professorships, promotions, tenure and other awards of distinction were recognized in 2017 with the Leaders in Learning celebration, an evening of dinner and jazz at Pierson Auditorium.

A video tribute included praise for UMKC faculty from students as well as Kansas City Mayor Sly James.

“I am proud to work among faculty such as yourselves, who have contributed not only to our students’ advancement, but also to Kansas City’s advancement,” said Interim Chancellor and Provost Barbara A. Bichelmeyer. “You’ve sat on boards, served as mentors and given back to our Kansas City community in many ways. UMKC faculty are a key reason why UMKC is the esteemed university it is today.”

Here are those who were recognized at the event:

New Endowed Faculty

Steven Davis, Conservatory of Music and Dance
Rose Ann Carr and Marvin Millsap Missouri Professorship II (Cello)

Brian Klaas, Henry W. Bloch School of Management
Siegmund Harzfeld Professor of Economics and Business Policy

Jodie Wing Lee, School of Dentistry
Dr. S. Orlando Somers Professor of Advanced General Dentistry

Jennifer Waddell, School of Education
Sprint Endowed Professorship in Urban Education


Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure

Mark Brodwin, College of Arts and Sciences
Mark Brodwin joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy faculty in 2011. His research focuses on using infrared imaging methods for discovering and characterizing distant clusters of galaxies. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses for the rapidly growing astronomy program. He has documented his findings in more than 160 peer reviewed papers and has secured over $1 million of research funding. Brodwin has been awarded the 2015 UMKC Faculty Scholar Award and the 2016 NASA Group Achievement Award for the MaDCoWS project (stands for “Massive and Distant Clusters of WISE Survey”). His current collaborations include a dark matter and dark energy study with the Euclid Space Telescope, a European Space Agency mission with participation from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Brodwin is one of only 40 U.S. scientists nominated by NASA to participate in Euclid, which is scheduled for launch in 2021. 

Xiaobo Chen, College of Arts and Sciences
Xiaobo Chen joined the Department of Chemistry faculty in 2011. His expertise is in the field of nanomaterials and renewable energy technologies. Dr. Chen has published over 116 peer-reviewed papers (75 from UMKC), two book chapters and two co-authored books. His work has received over 30,000 citations. He has secured over $775,000 to date, including funding from NSF and industry sources. 

David Freeman, College of Arts and Sciences
David Freeman joined the Department of History faculty in 2011. He teaches courses that focus on the history of Christianity, especially the Reformation, as well as specialized courses on Dutch history. His forthcoming book, A Silver River in a Silver World, which explores Dutch trade in the Rio de la Plata in the late 17th century, will be published by Cambridge University Press.

Seung-Lark Lim, College of Arts and Sciences
Seung-Lark Lim joined the Department of Psychology faculty in 2012. His expertise is in the fields of cognitive neuroscience and neuroeconomics. His publication record includes over 35 peer-reviewed publications. Lim has also been successful in securing funding to support his research, securing, as PI or co-PI, over $600,000 in funding, including a grant of over $360,000 from the National Cancer Institute. In recognition of his outstanding research achievements as a junior faculty member, Lim received a 2015-16 UMKC Faculty Scholar Award.

Nathan Mauck, Henry W. Bloch School of Management
Nathan Mauck joined the UMKC faculty in the Henry W. Bloch School of Management in 2011. He teaches courses in financial management, advanced corporate finance, financial modeling, valuation/M&A, and international finance. Mauck is a gifted teacher, having been named Bloch Favorite Faculty by Bloch’s graduating students in 2014, winning the UMKC Chancellor’s Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015, and receiving the Bloch School’s Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Award in 2015 and 2017. Mauck’s primary research interests include sovereign wealth funds, mergers and acquisitions, behavioral finance, real estate, international and corporate finance. He has 16 publications in leading finance journals and his work has been presented at more than 20 academic seminars and conferences worldwide.

Matthew Osborn, College of Arts and Sciences
Matthew Osborn joined the Department of History faculty in 2011. A historian of early America, Osborn’s research interests include medicine and disease; alcohol, drugs and addiction; popular and literary culture; urban history; and social inequality. His first book, Rum Maniacs: Alcoholic Insanity in the Early American Republic, looks at how delirium tremens shaped our modern conceptions of alcohol and drug abuse. He is currently researching the dawn of American mass culture, looking specifically at America’s first superhero — the Night Hawk — who appeared in a radical labor journal in the 1820s.

Mark Patterson, School of Pharmacy
Mark Patterson joined the School of Pharmacy faculty in 2010. He conducts research examining the impact of work climate on medication errors and teaches a course on the economics of medicine. Patterson has published eight peer-review articles, including an editorial about high prescription drug prices. The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy recently funded Patterson with a highly competitive grant to study the workflow impact on medication errors in rural nursing homes. Pharmacy students recognized Patterson as runner-up Teacher of the Year in 2015 and colleagues at Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy recognized him as one of their top peer reviewers in both 2010 and 2017.

Paul Rulis, College of Arts and Sciences
Paul Rulis joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy faculty in 2011. His research focuses on the theme of computational condensed matter physics and materials science, emphasizing the development of electronic structure methods and the application of them to outstanding or novel materials problems. Rulis teaches a cross-section of graduate and upper-division undergraduate physics courses in which he strives to engage his students with recent developments in the scientific literature. Rulis has published over 60 peer-reviewed papers and has presented his work to a wide range of national and international audiences. He was recently notified that the National Science Foundation intends to support a $1.2 million collaborative research project that he is leading to develop methods for designing amorphous molecular solids with tailored structures. 

Raol Taft, School of Education
Raol Taft joined the Division of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies in the School of Education in 2010. As a special educator, his focus on teaching is applied behavior analysis for teachers and classroom management. His program of research includes a concentration on families of children with Reactive Attachment Disorder and the family/school relationships with the schools that serve their children. This research has resulted in initial publications in an area of high need. He has published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at national and international conferences such as the American Educational Research Association and the Council for Exceptional Children. He has been highly active in his service efforts with the Classroom Management Special Interest Group (SIG) of the American Educational Research Association, serving as Current SIG chair and having served terms as past program chair and past vice chair.

Ye Wang, College of Arts and Sciences
Ye Wang joined the Department of Communication Studies in 2011. She holds a Ph.D. in journalism with a research focus on interactivity and engagement on websites and social media. She has conducted research on engagement on branded social media sites, interactivity within online health communities, cause-related marketing, crosscultural communication and advertising education. Her work has been published in a variety of leading journals in her field and she has also co-authored several book chapters on online communities and journalism education.

Promotion to full Professor with Tenure

Mun Y. Choi, School of Computing and Engineering
Mun Y. Choi is president of the University of Missouri System. He is the 24th president in the history of the University of Missouri System and began in his position on March 1, 2017. Choi’s 24-year career in higher education includes his previous position as provost and executive vice president at the University of Connecticut, one of the nation’s top 20 public universities in the latest U.S. News and World Report rankings. Since 2012, he has overseen a budget of $700 million while working with 1,500 full-time faculty, 31,000 students and 2,000 staff members across 12 schools and colleges, including schools of medicine, dentistry and law.

Brian Klass, Henry W. Bloch School of Management
Brian Klaas joined the UMKC faculty as dean and professor of management of the Henry W. Bloch School of Management in 2017. He has published extensively in such areas as human resources, dispute resolution and labor relations. His work has been published in some of the leading journals in his field, including the Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Human Resource Management, Personnel Psychology, Industrial Relations and Journal of Management. He also has served on the editorial boards for a number of these journals and has had his research funded by organizations such as the Society of Human Resource Management, the Upjohn Institute and the Gevity Institute.

Tenure at the rank of Associate Professor

Mary Gerkovich, School of Medicine
Mary Gerkovich joined UMKC in 2004 and became faculty in the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics in 2009. She teaches graduate courses in the department’s master’s and doctoral programs and serves as the department’s coordinator for the IPhD program. Gerkovich’s research activities primarily focuses engagement in medical care among patients with chronic conditions and discovery of health knowledge from large, multi-factorial datasets. She has developed collaborations with faculty across the university as well as with colleagues at other universities, and this is reflected in her publication record of over 75 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters.

Sejun Song, School of Computing and Engineering
Sejun Song joined the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering as an associate professor in 2013. His research team conducts research in the area of trustworthy computing software and systems including resilient and secure network and system management, network softwarization and virtualization, cloud and fog computing and Internet of Things. He previous held positions at Texas A&M University, College Station, Cisco Systems and Honeywell Research Lab. Over the past four years he has been awarded over $1.1 million in funding as a principal investigator for his collaborative projects from several agencies, including NSF, AFOSR, Cisco Systems, Huawei, NASA, CDC, TAMU, UMKC, KT Research and ETRI. His significant scholarly contributions have been recognized through receipt of several best research video/paper awards from Mobisys 2014, ICCCN 2014, and CIEC 2013.

David Thurmaier, Conservatory of Music and Dance
David Thurmaier joined the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance in Fall 2013 as associate professor of music theory. His main charge upon hiring was to rebuild and update the undergraduate music theory course sequence to make it more competitive with aspirational institutions; this project has transformed what was formerly a lackluster experience for our music majors. In addition to his expertise in music theory pedagogy, in his time at UMKC he has published several refereed articles and book chapters in his two research areas, the American composer Charles Ives and the Beatles. In March 2017, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach and research in Spring 2018 at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic, where he will explore connections between Czech and American undergraduate music theory curricula as well as study the reception of the Beatles’ music during communism.

Promotion to the rank of full Professor

Hadara Bar Nadav, College of Arts and Sciences
Hadara Bar-Nadav joined the Department of English Language and Literature faculty in 2007. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in poetry, modern and postmodern poetry and poetics, as well as 20th-century American literature and African-American literature. She is the author of numerous award-winning publications including Lullaby (with Exit Sign), awarded the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize; The Frame Called Ruin, runner up for the Green Rose Prize; and A Glass of Milk to Kiss Goodnight, awarded the Margie Book Prize. In 2017 she received a prestigious National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship. Her latest book, The New Nudity, will hit shelves this fall.

Jared Bruce, College of Arts and Sciences
Jared Bruce joined the Psychology Department faculty in 2007. He is a clinical neuropsychologist with nationally recognized expertise in the areas of multiple sclerosis and sports concussion. He received the 2012 Chancellor’s Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has over 75 peer-reviewed papers and has been highly successful in securing funding for his research. Over the past four years he has been awarded over $600,000 in funding as a principal investigator and over $1.8 million in funding as co-Investigator for his collaborative projects. His significant scholarly contributions have been recognized through his appointment of fellow status in the National Academy of Neuropsychology, as well as receipt of the American Psychological Association’s Early Career Award in Neuropsychology.

Loyce Caruthers, School of Education
Loyce Caruthers joined the UMKC faculty in 2001 and currently serves as chair of the Educational Leadership, Policy and Foundations division in the School of Education. Caruthers teaches courses to prepare prospective school administrators for school leadership and doctoral students to conduct qualitative research. Her research involves the use of voice through narrative and critical race theory for exploring phenomena related to race, class, gender and other differences that may influence educators’ beliefs and perceptions, and ultimately, their work in schools. Recent publications include a co-authored book, Great Expectations: What Kids Want from Our Urban Public Schools and manuscripts in the Journal of Black Studies and Journal of Negro Education.

Kun Cheng, School of Pharmacy
Kun Cheng joined the Pharmaceutical Sciences Faculty in 2007. He has over 52 peer-reviewed papers, two books, two journal theme issues, and has been awarded $4.3 million in funding as a principal investigator from NIH, DoD and American Cancer Society. Cheng’s research focuses on the development of novel therapeutics for breast cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer and liver fibrosis. His significant scholarly contributions have been recognized by the 2011 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists New Investigator Grant Award and the 2013 UMKC Trustees Faculty Scholar Award. He is a gifted teacher and received the UMKC Chancellor’s Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2013.

Nancy Day, Henry W. Bloch School of Management
After serving as an HR practitioner and consultant, Nancy Day joined the Henry W. Bloch School of Management faculty in 1991. She specializes in workplace issues related to rewards, diversity and attitudes. She has published over 40 peer-reviewed papers and proceedings, and is notable for publishing one of the first articles investigating LGBT workplace issues in a top-tier business journal. She served as chair of the Bloch School’s Department of Business Administration from 1998 through 2001, interim associate dean from 2001 to 2002, and director of the Executive MBA program from 2001 to 2003. Since 2010, she has held the role of UMKC faculty ombudsperson. Day has served on the boards of the Midwest Academy of Management and WorldatWork (formerly the American Compensation Association), and is active in the Academy of Management and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Andrew Granade, Conservatory of Music and Dance
Andrew Granade joined the Conservatory of Music and Dance faculty in 2005 and currently serves as professor of musicology and associate dean of graduate studies. He is a gifted teacher, receiving the Chancellor’s Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching (2010) and the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Excellence in Teaching Award (2010). He is also an accomplished scholar, receiving the Conservatory’s the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Excellence in Research/Creativity award in 2015. In addition to numerous peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, Granade published in 2014, Harry Partch: Hobo Composer in the prestigious University of Rochester Press.

John Herron, College of Arts and Sciences
John Herron joined the Department of History faculty in 2003. His expertise is Environmental History, 19th Century America, and the American West. A teaching award winner, his scholarly accomplishments include a monograph published by Oxford University Press, five peer-reviewed papers, four book chapters, a recently published biography of Henry Bloch’s wartime service, and an impressive collection of essays and reviews, as well as two forthcoming works on local history currently under contract, one with the University of Pittsburgh Press and the other with the University Press of Kansas. Herron has also created an impressive track record of presenting his research to the general public through a combination of publications in popular outlets such as the Chronicle of Higher Education and Harper’s Magazine, and in public lectures and exhibitions, documentary film consultations, and museum collaborations.

James Murowchick, from the College of Arts and Sciences
James Murowchick joined the Geosciences Department faculty in 1988. His expertise is in mineralogy and geochemistry with research focusing on iron sulfides, including formation and transformation reaction mechanisms, investigated using X-ray diffraction, computational chemistry and petrographic methods. He is also a dedicated teacher known for creating high impact learning experiences for his students, and dedication recently honored through the university’s establishment of the James B. Murowchick Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Research.


Promotion in Librarian Rank

Ayyoub Ajmi
Ayyoub Ajmi joined UMKC School of Law in Sept. 2013. He currently serves as the acting director of instructional technology and associate director of the Law Library. His favorite part of his job is finding ways to use existing resources or build open source technologies to drive efficiency. His most recent contribution is the implementation of an Open Source event management system which saved the School of Law $17,000+ since May 17. Ajmi writes and speaks frequently on the topic of technology and innovation in libraries. 

Sandy Rodriquez
Sandy Rodriguez joined the University Libraries in 2008. She has successfully managed three grants totaling over $675,000 to provide access to historic radio broadcast recordings and to implement an open source digital repository for special collections. She is an accomplished and recognized expert in preservation and access standards for audiovisual, music and digital materials, receiving numerous invitations to speak at national and international conferences; election to the Board of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections; and appointment as the Music Library Association’s representative on the MARC Advisory Committee, an international standards organization that maintains and develops the library cataloging standard. As an advocate of the underrepresented, she co-founded Women in Recorded Sound, an open collective that empowers women who work with or have a general interest in recorded sound.

Jen Salvo -Eaton
Jen Salvo-Eaton joined the University Libraries faculty in 2013. As the head of resource sharing for the Libraries, she has significantly transformed the interlibrary loan service, which fulfills over 18,000 requests each year from students and faculty. She founded a regional special interest group for interlibrary loan practitioners and was named the 2016 Outstanding New Librarian by the Missouri Library Association. As the head of Graduate Student Services for the Libraries, she helped establish the Graduate Writing Initiative, a campus-wide effort to improve and maintain the quality of graduate student writing by providing workshops, online resources and personalized help. She was also the principal investigator for the Amigos Library Services Opportunity Award, a grant to create a digital and physical display of library resources to support student writing.

Kristy Steigerwalt
Kristy Steigerwalt joined the University Library’s faculty in 2011. She is a pharmacist and clinical medical librarian. She has been recognized through her appointment as a fellow in the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Leaders in Libraries program. She has also received international recognition for her work in providing timely information at point of care to physicians, students and residents through the Wolters Kluwer Health Sciences Librarians Make a Difference program. Stiegerwalt has contributed to peer-reviewed publications in the field of medicine, in addition to her numerous scholarly contributions to the field of librarianship at a variety of local, regional and international conferences. 

Danielle Wellemeyer
Danielle Wellemeyer has been an information literacy librarian with UMKC Libraries since 2014. She co-created the library’s innovative integrated instruction program serving General Education courses; she is a dynamic teacher and communicator, and presents regionally and nationally about information literacy theory and practice. Wellemeyer contributes to her field as a programming committee member for The Collective academic library conference, and established a pathway for library career development by creating Information Literacy Fellowships for library science graduate students. Within the library and campus community, Wellemeyer is a leader and innovator who displays a talent for drawing people together and enacting change through relationship building. She uses her expertise in communication to develop opportunities for the library and its users to have meaningful and useful interactions that contribute to student success.

Jessica Williams
Jess Williams was appointed an information literacy librarian at UMKC Libraries in 2014. Jess co-created a new and nationally unique instruction program which reaches 2,500 undergraduate students each year. Using her skills in instructional and graphic design, Williams developed original online learning objects to enable this new, flipped-classroom curriculum. Through her prolific regional and national presentations, Williams has been able to communicate her passions and expertise about pedagogy and assessment in the library, productivity techniques and the rewarding experience of supervising and mentoring graduate fellows.

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