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2012.03.27 > For Immediate Release
contact: Anthony Flott - UNO Alumni Association
phone: 402.554.2989 - email:

UNO Alumni Association Honors Nine With Teaching Award

Omaha - The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Alumni Association celebrates the 16th year of its Alumni Outstanding Teaching Awards program when it presents the honor to nine faculty members during the UNO Faculty Honors Convocation Breakfast Thursday, April 12.

Association President Lee Denker will present the awards, established in 1997 to honor distinguished teaching in the classroom. Peer committees in each college choose recipients, each of whom receives a $1,000 award. Denker will present recipients with commemorative tablets during the convocation breakfast in the Milo Bail Student Center.

With the 2012 awards the association will have issued $140,000 since the program’s start. Brief descriptions of recipient research interests and educational backgrounds follow:

Jennifer Blaskovich
Jennifer Blaskovich is an assistant professor in the College of Business Administration whose primary teaching focus is accounting information systems and managerial accounting. Her research focuses on behavioral judgment and decision-making issues, with a focus on information systems. Blaskovich has taught at UNO since 2007 and previously was an assistant professor at Saint Louis University. She also has extensive professional experience, including two years as controller for Frontier Investment Management in Overland Park, Kan. An Omaha native, she earned a B.S. in accounting in 1993 from Northwest Missouri State University, graduating magna cum laude. She earned an M.B.A.from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (2000) and her Ph.D. in accounting from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2005).

Daniel Hawkins
Daniel Hawkins is an assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. He joined the UNO faculty in 2006 and his research and teaching interests are in the area of family sociology and the sociology of sport. He has taught several courses at UNO, including social statistics, American family problems, sociology of fatherhood, and the graduate research methods sequence. He also is the graduate chair of the sociology Master's program and the faculty advisor for the Sociology Club. He earned a B.S. in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2000), and an M.A. (2002) and Ph.D. (2006) in sociology from Pennsylvania State University.

Dennis Hoffman
Dennis Hoffman is a professor in UNO’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. He also coordinates the UNO school’s undergraduate degree program on the Omaha campus. Hoffman’s primary focus is race and justice, carried out through his two passions, teaching and community engagement. Courses he teaches currently are Survey of Criminal Justice and Terrorism. He also belongs to several teaching circles; his present circle in the College of Public Affairs and Community Service focuses on racial diversity in higher education. Hoffman earned a B.A. from the University of Northern Iowa in 1971, an M.A. from Drake University in 1974 and a Ph.D. from Portland State University in 1979.

Elizabeth Leader-Janssen
Elizabeth Leader-Janssen is an assistant professor in the Special Education and Communication Disorders Department of UNO’s College of Education. Her primary focus is training teacher candidates to be instructional strategists in educating students with disabilities. She teaches undergraduate and graduate methods courses on campus and through distance education. She advises graduate students seeking to be endorsed in mild to moderate disabilities and is faculty advisor to the Student Council for Exceptional Children. Her research interests are inclusive practices for students with disabilities, reading and writing instruction for struggling students, and using technology to facilitate learning. Leader-Janssen earned three degrees in special education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln: a B.S. (1999), M. Ed. (2001) and Ph.D. (2006).

Stacie Petter
Stacie Petter's expertise relates to Managing software projects, evaluating success of information systems and understanding research methods. An assistant professor in UNO’s College of Information Science and Technology (IS&T), she teaches courses in the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs in the areas of project management and management of information systems. She joined IS&T’s department of information systems and quantitative analysis in 2009. Since the fall of 2011, Petter also has led a UNO engagement link to connect students, faculty, staff and community members to participate in initiatives to recruit, retain and support women in information technology. Petter has degrees from Berry College (B.S., 1999) and Georgia State University (M.B.A., 2002; Ph.D., 2006).

Marshall Prisbell
Marshall Prisbell has been actively teaching and researching in the communication discipline for nearly 35 years. He joined UNO’s School of Communication in 1984. Most recently he has taught courses on interpersonal communication, nonverbal communication, persuasion, interpersonal conflict and communication and human relationships. His research interests range from examining the nature of close personal relationships to the study of human interaction in the classroom between students and instructor. Since 1977, Dr. Prisbell has been an active participant and attendee at numerous communication conferences and conventions. He earned a B.A. (1976) and M.A. (1978) in speech communication from West Virginia University and a Ph.D. in 1981 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Hamid Sharif-Kashani
Hamid Sharif-Kashani is the Charles J. Vranek Distinguished Professor of the College of Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Omaha Campus. He also is director of the university’s Advanced Telecommunications Engineering Laboratory (TEL) and is chair of the Graduate Committee in the Department of Computer and Electronics Engineering on the Omaha Campus. Sharif-Kashani’s research interests include different areas of wireless communications and advanced microprocessors/microcontrollers. He has published more than 200 refereed research articles in international conferences and journals and has been the recipient of a number of teaching and research awards. He has served on many international journal editorial boards and currently is the co-editor-in-chief for the Wiley Journal of Security and Communication Networks. He earned degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Iowa (B.S., 1982), University of Missouri-Columbia (M.S., 1984) and University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Ph.D., 1996).

Andrew Swift
Andrew Swift's primary focuses are probability, statistics and operations research. Swift teaches a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses in those areas, as well as courses in other mathematical areas, such as actuarial mathematics. Swift also supervises many independent studies with students who are interested in further expanding their knowledge of these topics. He is the founder of the mathematics department's "Cool Math Talk" series, which aims to expose undergraduate students to interesting applications of mathematics. Swift's research interests include data analysis, Bayesian statistics and statistics in sports. He is active in the American Statistical Association's section on Statistics in Sports and has served as a resource for various media outlets, including ESPN and the Omaha World-Herald. A native of England, he has a B.A. and M.A. in mathematics from the University of Oxford. In 2001 he earned a Doctor of Science degree from George Washington University.

Steven Torres
Steven Torres is an associate professor of Spanish in UNO’s department of foreign languages and literature. He teaches courses for graduate and undergraduate students on language, literature and culture. Torres has published articles on Spanish and Latin American literature and film and is the author of a book on Miguel de Unamuno. Much of his current research focuses on the development of metacultural discourse in Spain. Torres also is the editor-in-chief of Revista de ALCESXXI: Journal of Contemporary Spanish Literature and Film and serves on the executive committee of the International Association of 21st Century Spanish Literature and Film (ALCESXXI). A native of Valencia, Spain, he has a B.A. from Nebraska Wesleyan University (1995) and an M.A. (1998) and Ph.D. (2006) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Alpha Xi Delta

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves, regional, national and life. 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.


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