April 12, 2017

14 earn teaching, junior faculty awards

Fourteen faculty members have received teaching awards from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The honors include the 2017 College Distinguished Teaching Awards, the Annis Chaikin Sorensen Award and the Harold and Esther Edgerton Junior Faculty Award.

The Annis Chaikin Sorensen Award is an annual award that recognizes an individual for outstanding teaching in the humanities. Winner of the 2017 Sorensen award is Julia Schleck, associate professor of English; winner of the 2017 Edgerton award is Maital Neta, assistant professor of psychology.

Candid about her own methodologies and her place in the profession, Schleck carefully demonstrates how one can successfully integrate theoretical concerns with one’s personal engagement with the past, always mindful of the practical challenges facing present-day scholars and teachers in a changing academy.

Her contributions to teaching extend well beyond the classroom, and include mentoring undergraduate theses and graduate research, teaching practicums for graduate students, and discussions of course design and pedagogical techniques with her colleagues.

Schleck has written a thoughtful and inspirational teaching statement in which she compares her teaching to improvisational jazz – how carefully listening to students and responding to the class allows her to draw students into the material and to make connections between their lives and the literature they are reading. Students respond enthusiastically to this approach.

Neta has developed an ambitious research program, capitalizing on a number of crosscutting methods from psychology and neuroscience to examine individual differences in response to emotional and social ambiguity.

Neta explores the use of state of the art brain imaging and analysis techniques to advance the understanding of the biological mechanisms of the valence bias. This project will support the broad, long-term objective of developing new approaches to predict percent and treat the negativity bias associated with mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Paralleling outstanding achievements in the research arena is Neta’s drive as an instructor. She has received excellent evaluations from her students, commenting on her expertise and confidence. She is committed to integrating her research and education efforts, including continuing to provide opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to gain valuable research experiences in her lab.

The College Distinguished Teaching Awards recognize consistent excellence in teaching. Winners of the 2017 honor, organized by college, are:

Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources– Elizabeth Walter-Shea, professor, School of Natural Resources.

Arts and Sciences– Elizabeth Enkin, assistant professor of modern languages and literatures; Emily Hammerl, assistant professor of practice of anthropology; Alexander Sinitskii, associate professor of chemistry; Kelly Stage, assistant professor of English; Daniel Toundykov, associate professor of mathematics; Manda Williamson, assistant professor of practice of psychology.

Education and Human Sciences– Linda Young, associate professor of practice of nutrition and health sciences; Wayne Babchuk, assistant professor of practice of educational psychology; Dipra Jha, assistant professor of practice of nutrition and health sciences.

Business Administration – Troy Smith, assistant professor of management.

Engineering – Yusong Li, associate professor of civil engineering; Joseph Turner, professor of mechanical and materials engineering.