Three Husker researchers earned the University of Nebraska’s most prestigious awards for research, creative activity, teaching and engagement.
Those collecting the President’s Faculty Excellence Awards for the University of Nebraska–Lincoln are David Hage, professor of chemistry; Colleen Medill, professor of law; and Dennis Molfese, professor of psychology.
The universitywide honors, announced April 3, recognize faculty whose work has had a strong impact on students, university and state.
“The University of Nebraska is one of the most important drivers of our state’s economic competitiveness and quality of life. Our faculty, who are among the nation’s leaders in what they do, deserve a great deal of the credit,” said NU President Hank Bounds. “These faculty carry out our missions of teaching, research and service on a daily basis. I’m honored to serve among such dedicated and talented colleagues and to lift up their work to the university community and all Nebraskans.”
Winners — selected by a universitywide committee of faculty and, in the case of the engagement award, community members — receive $10,000 each, a presidential medallion and an engraved plaque. Awards will be presented at a luncheon hosted by Bounds this spring.
Medill, Robert and Joanne Berkshire Family Professor of Law, received an Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award. The honor recognizes faculty who have demonstrated meritorious and sustained records of excellence and creativity in teaching.
Medill is recognized nationally for her innovative teaching techniques in the areas of employee benefits law, property law and professional legal skills development. Among her peers, she is known as a “teacher of teachers” who explains and models her techniques through the extensive teachers’ manuals that accompany her textbooks.
Medill’s first law school textbook, “Introduction to Employee Benefits Law: Policy and Practice,” has been used at more than 40 accredited law schools.
She is also a leader in the integrated teaching of doctrinal theory, legal skills and the professional ethical responsibilities of lawyers.
While with Nebraska Law, Medill has twice been selected by students as Professor of the Year and has been honored with the Alumni Council’s Distinguished Faculty Award. She teaches three of her four courses using textbooks that she authored.
Both Hage and Molfese received Outstanding Teaching and Creative Activity honors. The awards recognize individual faculty for outstanding research and creative activity of national and international significance.
Hage, Hewett University Professor of Chemistry, joined the university in 1989. He has carried out research at the interface of chemistry, biochemistry and clinical chemistry for more than 30 years.
Hage’s work has focused on the creation and development of new detection and separation methods for chemical and biochemical analysis for important applications in the life sciences, pharmaceutical research and environmental testing. He has published more than 285 scientific papers, book chapters and books in these areas.
He has also edited a handbook in the area of affinity chromatography, his field of scientific expertise, and holds six patents in this area. In addition, Hage has written several college-level textbooks on the topic of chemical analysis.
Hage is currently editor-in-chief for the Journal of Chromatography B and is a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry.
Molfese, Mildred Francis Thompson Professor of Psychology, is the founding director of Nebraska’s Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior. A developmental cognitive neuropsychologist who has been continuously funded since 1975, Molfese has extensive experience in conducting large-scale, longitudinal studies recording brain imaging and behavior measures from newborn and older infants, toddlers, preschool, school-age children, adolescents and adults.
Molfese revolutionized understanding of brain structure-function relations across the lifespan and broke new ground investigating dynamic brain changes associated with the short- and long-term development of language, social interactions, memory and cognitive processes from birth into adulthood. In research supported by NASA and the National Institutes of Health, Molfese and colleagues noted the detrimental effects of sleep loss on daily functioning and problem-solving skills on earth and in outer space.
Molfese’s research using neuropsychological and multiple brain imaging techniques to study the effects of concussions on athletes noted even one concussion significantly impairs brain functioning.
Other universitywide award winners include:
Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Activity — Tammie Kennedy, associate professor of English, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Innovation, Development and Engagement Award — Joseph Evans, professor of psychology at the Munroe-Meyer Institute and the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska, University of Nebraska Medical Center; and Nicholas Stergiou, professor and distinguished community research chair in biomechanics, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Universitywide Departmental Teaching Award — Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy, University of Nebraska Medical Center. Read more about all of the universitywide honors.