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Four CAS faculty members earn the college's 2011 Excellence Awards

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In an annual tradition, the four recipients of the College of Arts and Sciences' 2011 Excellence Awards were notified of the college's highest honor not through letters or emails but by a surprise classroom visit from Dean George Watson, bearing the good news.

The annual award programs "recognizes our faculty's outstanding contributions to the life of the University," Watson said, and called this year's recipients "a terrific group of eminent scholars and educators."

The honorees were formally presented their awards at this year's "CAS: Celebrating Achievement and Success" event, held Thursday, May 19, in Gore Hall.

This year's recipients are:

  • Iris Busch, assistant professor of German and Spanish, Outstanding Teaching Award;
  • Alfinio Flores, Hollowell Professor of Mathematics Education, Outstanding Advisement Award;
  • Eric Rise, associate professor and associate chair of sociology and criminal justice, Outstanding Service Award; and
  • Michael Shay, associate professor of physics and astronomy, Outstanding Scholar Award.

Iris Busch Teaching

Busch is assistant professor of German and Spanish in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature.

In nominating her for the award, her students noted her innovative teaching style and repeatedly referred to her as "the best professor" and someone who "goes beyond the call of duty."

Busch has designed Spanish programs for school-aged children at the Early Learning Center, organized service-learning components at area elementary schools, directed numerous study abroad trips and supervised nearly one dozen foreign language student teachers in the state.

She is an active member of the American Association of Teachers of German as well as the Delaware Representative of the National Network of Early Language Learning.

The Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher Award is based on student and peer evaluations, alumni testimonials, number and range of courses offered, involvement in individual instruction, quality of advisement and mentoring, demonstrated commitment to student welfare and development and acknowledged reputation in teaching.

Michael Shay Scholarship

The Arts and Sciences Outstanding Scholar Award is based on publications, professional honors, receipt of competitive grants, scholarly contributions to one's field and acknowledged reputation in scholarship.

Michael Shay, associate professor, is a world-renowned expert in magnetic reconnection in plasmas and an expert in several different types of numerical simulations used to study plasmas.

In his less than six years at the University, he has secured more than $4 million from the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Department of Energy, and he has published 59 articles in the field's most prestigious academic journals.

In nominating him for the award, the committee wrote, "The college is very fortunate to have recruited such an outstanding young scholar to advance the mission of the University of Delaware."

Shay joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy in 2005 and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2010.

Eric Rise Service

The Arts and Sciences Outstanding Service Award is based on extraordinary service within the college, University, academic profession and larger community. Quality of service is reflected in recognitions and awards, testimonials from colleagues and demonstrated impact on the quality and effectiveness of the organization in question.

Eric Rise, an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, was nominated for the Outstanding Service Award because he "represents a role a role model for outstanding service to his department, the college, the university, his profession, and to the community at large."

Rise has chaired numerous committees in the University and served as a member of many more, including the Path to Prominence review committee, five faculty search committees, and as chair of the Breadth Requirement subcommittee for the college.

He is regarded as "an expert on undergraduate degree requirements and is frequently called by administrators, the Faculty Senate office, the college advisement office, and other departmental advisers and staff to answer questions about the undergraduate programs," according to Ronet Bachman, chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice.

Rise holds joint appointments in history, legal studies, and the Honors Program. He has been associate chair in his department since 1997.

Alfinio Flores Advisement

Flores, who joined the UD faculty in 2007, is recognized by his department for providing "careful and caring' advisement to the secondary mathematics education majors. This semester, he has 60 advisees.

"Dr. Flores has touched my life and so many other students," wrote one advisee in a supporting letter. "He cares so much about all students and he is definitely a role model for future educators."

In addition to advising, Flores maintains an active research role. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, directed 18 projects, co-authored four books, edited three and served on numerous doctoral dissertation committees.

"He is indeed a diligent, dedicated, and caring student advisor, mentor, professor, and researcher," says his Department of Mathematics Interim Chair David Edwards. "It is amazing and rarely heard of that a professor is able to spend so much time advising so many students while maintaining a nationally recognized and robust research program."

The Arts and Sciences Outstanding Advisement Award is based on excellence in academic advisement of undergraduate students. Criteria include the number of students advised and the quality of advisement, availability to advisees, communication with students regarding their academic needs and individual progress, knowledge of college programs and requirements, and overall impact on students through advising within the college and beyond. 

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In an annual tradition, the four recipients of the College of Arts and Sciences' 2011 Excellence Awards were notified of the college's highest honor not through letters or emails but by a surprise classroom visit from Dean George Watson, bearing the good
10/27/2011
 
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