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2008.04.30 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Relations
phone: 402.554.3502 - email:

Faculty Honored at Convocation Event

Omaha - Faculty excellence in teaching, research and service received recognition earlier this month as part of the 2008 University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Faculty Honors Convocation. The event took place on campus April 10.

Phani Tej Adidam, associate professor of Marketing and Management in the College of Business Administration, was presented with the University Excellence in Teaching Award. A nominator wrote that Adidam has mastered the difficult balance of “keeping students engaged while providing them with challenging and cutting-edge knowledge.” His teaching philosophy focuses on helping learners grow cognitively, academically and emotionally. Adidam is also a strong believer in mentoring his students, encouraging them to continuously evaluate and build upon their strengths.

Nicholas Stergiou, professor of biomechanics, received the Distinguished Research of Creative Activity Award for his work and research involving human mobility. He serves as director of the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Biomechanics Laboratory and the Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility. He has secured grants in excess of $5 million, and has authored chapters/sections of nine books, written articles in 55 peer-reviewed journals and published one book about human movement. The Nebraska Research Initiative, University of Nebraska Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, National Institutes of Health, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, American Heart Association and American Geriatric Society have all funded his research.

UNO’s Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award was awarded to Lisa Kelly-Vance, who has served as advisor, mentor and advocate for the Department of Psychology’s countless graduate students for 13 years. Her work extends far beyond the classroom, encompassing research, advising, mentoring and career preparation. A UNO colleague described Kelly-Vance as an “excellent mentor, teacher and role model committed to helping students develop into fully functioning, highly qualified school psychologists.” She has previously received the University Excellence in Teaching Award and the UNO Alumni Outstanding Teaching Award, both in 2002, and the University of Nebraska Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award in 2004.

Maria Anderson Knudtson received the Outstanding Service-Learning Faculty Award. As a lecturer in the English Department, she has incorporated service-learning projects into her courses that have included working closely with the Henry Doorly Zoo on a number of printed projects, including the creation of study guides, brochures, newsletters and hiring manuals. Her service-learning focus has also extended to the local arts community when her students created color catalogues for the Omaha On-line public art project. During the 2007-2008 academic year, Knudtson secured a $5,000 grant, funded by the New York Times, to develop the Newspaper Readership Program with UNO faculty. A colleague said Knudston “exemplifies what a faculty member working with service-learning should embody: developing and coordinating meaningful projects for students; ensuring high quality and effective student work; maintaining excellent relations with community partnerships; and actively supporting service-learning, not only on campus and community-wide, but nationally, as well.”

Donna Dufner, associate professor in the Department of Information Systems and Quantitative Analysis, was also honored for receiving one of the University of Nebraska’s Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Awards (OTICA). Only two faculty members in the NU system received an OTICA. Dufner is widely recognized for exploring new ways to integrate community engagement through Service-Learning into valuable educational experiences. She created an Information Science and Quantitative Analysis course that brought UNO students to South Omaha to help small business entrepreneurs improve their information management and marketing skills, and developed another course in which her students teach basic computer literacy skills to inmates at the Douglas County Department of Corrections. She received the UNO Alumni Outstanding Teaching Award in 2002 and the UNO Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2006. In 2005, Dufner was recognized by the Midwest Consortium for Service-Learning in Higher Education for efforts to integrate Service-Learning into the education of students at UNO.

Nine faculty members were honored with the Alumni Outstanding Teaching Award:

Steven Bullock, Political Science

Juliette Parnell, Foreign Languages

Michele Desmarais, Religious Studies

College of Arts and Sciences

Scott Copple, Accounting

College of Business Administration

Karen Weber, School of Communication

College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media

Saundra Wetig, Teacher Education

College of Education

Roger Sash, Computer & Electronics Engineering

College of Engineering

Bill Mahoney, Computer Science

College of Information Science and Technology

Pauline Brennan, Criminal Justice

College of Public Affairs and Community Service


The following faculty members were recognized for 2007-08 named professorships:

W. Kenton Bales, Music

Robert M. Spire Chair of Music

Richard C. Box, Public Administration

Regents/Foundation Professorship

Gary Day, Art and Art History

Edwin Clark Professor of Fine Arts, Alumni Association Diamond Professorship

Gove Griffith Elder, Mathematics

Maury and Nancy Lipton Professor of Mathematics

Jeffrey A. French, Psychology

D.B. and Paula Varner Professorship

Carolyn E. Gascoigne, Foreign Languages

Peter Kiewit Distinguished Professorship

Moshe Gershovich, History

Charles W. Martian and Mary C. Martin Professor of History

Wendy Guo, Finance, Banking and Law

Nebraska Bankers Association Professor of Banking

Dale A. Krane, Public Administration

Frederic W. Kayser Chair

Wikil Kwak, Accounting

Distinguished Alumni Professorship of Accounting

Thomas Lorsbach,Special Education Communication Disorders

Paul Kennedy Professor of Education, Alumni Association Diamond Professorship

Susan N. Maher, English Peter Kiewit Distinguished Professorship

Tatyana Novikov, Foreign Languages Ralph Wardle Professor of Arts and Sciences, Alumni Association Diamond Professorship

Rebecca J. Pasco, Teacher Education

Margaret Killian Alumni Association Diamond Professorship</p>

Cynthia L. Phaneuf, Theatre

Isaacson Chair

Christine M. Reed, Public Administration

Regents/Foudnation Professorship

Roni Reiter-Palmon, Psychology

Isaacson Chair

Thomas A. Roland, Music

Marguerite Scribante Professorship in Music

David A. Volkman, Finance Banking and Law

Col. Guy M. Cloud Jr. and Patricia Cloud Professor of Investment Sciences

Saundra L. Wetig, Teacher Education

Robert Ackerman Professor of Community Engagement

Jennifer L. White, Health, Physical Education & Recreation

D.B. and Paula Varner Professorship

Sharon E. Wood, History

Charles W. Martian and Mary C. Martin Professor of Western American History

Ilze Zigurs, Information Science & Quantitative Analysis

Mutual of Omaha Distinguished Chair of Information Science and Technology

For more information, call (402) 554-3502.

* * *

UNO will celebrate its 100th anniversary beginning October 8, 2008. This celebration will recognize the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is “UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908.” This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to


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