2017 Ray P. Authement Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Chad Parker
Associate Professor of History, Geography and Philosophy
College of Liberal Arts
SLEMCO Professorship in Liberal Arts

Associate Professor of History Dr. Chad Parker began his career with UL Lafayette in 2008. He is the recipient of the SLEMCO Professorship in Liberal Arts and author of Making the Desert Modern (University of Massachusetts Press). He also serves as the graduate coordinator of history, a member of Faculty Senate and Graduate Council. Dr. Parker has represented UL Lafayette at national and international academic conferences as both scholar and educator.

Earning his Ph.D. in transnational history at the University of Indiana at Bloomington, Dr. Parker began working at the University with excitement and vigor. In the spring of 2008, he participated in a roundtable at the Organization of American Historians’ annual academic conference in Seattle. As a result, he brought back with him a fresh set of methods for enhancing his own courses and shared these ideas with faculty and graduate teaching assistants, enabling them to tailor best practices for a diverse student population.

Dr. Parker has won five teaching grants to implement course innovations and improvements. His pedagogical innovations include the development of a roleplaying historical course, “Emergence of Modern America: Greenwich Village,” for which he spent a week in New York City studying as part of the national “Reacting to the Past” teacher training module. He has single-handedly imagined and executed an undergraduate research showcase for history majors’ capstone writing project. The day-long conference provides students with a professional development opportunity to present their research and to invite the community to learn more about the program.

Nominated by fellow and former colleagues, Dr. Parker is strongly supported for the Ray P. Authement Excellence in Teaching Award. Fellow history professor and colleague Dr. Sara Ritchey eloquently explained, “Dr. Parker’s record of excellence in teaching shines immeasurably due to his pedagogical innovations, academic rigor, outstanding commitment to student learning outcomes, and his infectious passion for the subject of his courses.”

Dr. Michael Totaro
Associate Professor of Computing and Informatics
Ray P. Authement College of Sciences

As Dr. Totaro’s freshman Computing and Informatics class begins, he welcomes the students as if they are entering his living room. He inserts a witty pun or two wherever he can and when one student asks him a question, he asks a similar question to the entire class to learn their knowledge of the topic. As Associate Professor of Computing and Informatics at the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences, Dr. Totaro’s students and colleagues hold him in high regard.

A true Ragin’ Cajun, Dr. Totaro earned all four of his degrees from the University, beginning with his Bachelor of Science in 1982. He then went on to attain his MBA, a Master of Science in Telecommunications and finally his Ph.D. in 2007. Dr. Totaro is the Associate Director for Academic Affairs and Undergraduate Education in the School of Computing and Informatics.

Since 1996, Dr. Totaro has taught at the University. He explains his teaching style as employing both a Socratic approach in order to facilitate self-exploration and discovery; and applying a series of experiential activities to help solidify students’ understanding of concepts and ideas. With an impressive Curriculum Vita spanning several pages long, Dr. Totaro is a member of the Graduate Faculty, Level Two and has worked in both the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences and the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration teaching over 11 courses.

As an example of the wonderful work Dr. Totaro has demonstrated, Dr. Xindong Wu, Director and Professor of Computing and Informatics, states “Dr. Totaro works constantly on maintaining currency of his knowledge and experience, which is essential to teaching courses in these areas.” Moreover, Dr. Totaro has also provided students opportunities to “learn experientially the unstructured problems facing Informatics professionals on a nearly daily basis” according to Dr. Wu, Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Dr. Totaro “always has a big heart for his colleagues as well as his students”.

When he’s not educating one of his hundreds of students, Dr. Totaro actively works in the Association of Computing Machinery. He also conducts research activities, writes articles for a number of professional journals, and presents regularly at conferences.

2017 Distinguished Professor Award

Dr. Boyun Guo
Professor of Petroleum Engineering
College of Engineering
Chevron Professorship in Petroleum Engineering I and II
UNOCAL Corporation Professorship in Engineering

A researcher at the University since 2000, Dr. Guo is a recipient of the Chevron Professorships in Petroleum Engineering I and II and UNOCAL Corporation Professorship in Engineering. He is the graduate coordinator for the Master’s Program in Petroleum Engineering. He is also the Director of the Center for Optimization of Petroleum Systems of Energy Institute. He has published 70 peer-reviewed journal papers, presented 64 conference papers, and authored 10 books. His most recent 2nd edition textbook is scheduled to print this month. As graduate coordinator, he was instrumental in creating a curriculum to suit the needs of 21st Century students.

Dr. Guo also has a registered patent, a method and apparatus for generating, transporting and dissociating gas hydrates, which has three major advantages: the formation and transportation of gas hydrates under low temperature and pressure; the relative ease and low cost of transporting gas hydrates in mobile tanks and its adaptability to gas hydrate transport in relatively undeveloped areas. With an impressive résumé, Dr. Guo has dedicated his life to serving the U.S. oil and gas industry. Much of his time is focused on new technology development for increased energy supply and environmental protection. More than $2.5 million in grants from NASA and the Department of Energy validates Dr. Guo’s research and dedication to Petroleum Engineering.

Dr. Guo bears a number of awards across the college, community, national and international levels including the College of Engineering’s 2016 Researcher of the Year and Senior Faculty for Research and Development Awards. NASA named him a Faculty Fellow in 2003 and 2004 and he received the Society of Petroleum Engineers International’s Outstanding Technical Editor in 2000 and 2010.

When speaking of Dr. Guo, Yannis C. Yortsos, Editor in Chief of Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) states, “his contributions make the review process a success and further SPE’s mission to provide a means of collecting and disseminating valuable technical information.”

Corey Saft, M.A.
Professor of Architecture
College of the Arts
Contractors Educational Trust Fund Professorship in Art and Architecture

Professor of Architecture and licensed architect Corey Saft arrived at UL Lafayette in 2003. He quickly moved up, attaining the rank of full tenured professor in 2014. Mr. Saft fosters his craft and professional experiences while creating innovative research opportunities. A licensed architect, he is the owner of SaftArchitecture, which has allowed him to leverage collaborative partnerships with his students.

When Professor Saft became tenured in 2014, he also attained his Real Estate Development Certificate from the Urban Land Institute, Washington DC. He is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, a member of the American Institute of Architects and is a LEED Accredited Professional with the Green Building Certification Institute. From 2014-2016, he was awarded the UL Lafayette Research Excellence Award recognizing those demonstrating exceptional scholarship in their respective academic colleges. In 2017, Professor Saft was nominated for the National Architectural Accrediting Board, which accredits professional degrees in Architecture offered by institutions accredited by a U.S. regional accrediting agency.

Professor Saft has authored and presented a number of peer-reviewed publications, including two recent invitations in 2016 in Portland, OR and San Luis Obispo, CA focusing on design entrepreneurship, a topic in which he is very passionate. One of his proudest moments includes participation in the National Historical Designation of Lafayette’s Freetown/ Port Rico neighborhoods. Professor Saft has made huge advances in lowering the triple bottom line, especially in hot, humid South Louisiana. The triple bottom line in architecture is the social, economic and environmental response to housing, which helps indicate the ongoing success of a community.

Dr. Douglas C. Williams, Director of the Center for Innovative Learning and Assessment Technologies, wrote “Professor Saft’s outstanding research productivity, meaningful integration of research, teaching, and service will continue to bring international recognition to the University… he is most deserving of this award.”

2017 Leadership in Service Award

Brian Kelly, M.F.A.
Professor of Visual Arts
College of the Arts
Coca- Cola Professorship in Art and Architecture

Dedicated to hands-on teaching and community engagement through practice-based learning, Professor of Visual Arts Mr. Brian Kelly is well respected by his students and colleagues across campus. Professor Kelly has taught in the College of the Arts since 2009 and expanded his professional experience while lending his knowledge to all of the students he teaches. He earned his MFA in Printmaking and went to study in-depth non-toxic Intaglio Printmaking as well as Plate, Photoplate, and Waterless Lithography. He served as an Artist in Residence in San Paulo, Brazil where he produced “Brazilian Yankee Doodle”, Lithographic edition of 30. Professor Kelly is solely responsible for instruction, development of curriculum, grading, and running of beginning through advanced printmaking. He manages the studio and daily operations of the printmaking shop. Since 2004, he has been a recipient of the Coca-Cola Endowed Professorship and has secured grants helping to facilitate the Marais Press project, teach silkscreen/lithographic printing technology equipment, and multiple STEP grants for printing hardware. Professor Kelly’s grant writing success has resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars for the College of the Arts.

For over 18 years, Professor Kelly has served as the Coordinator of Marais Press, a vehicle for bringing in 93 artists lectures and workshops from around the country. Since 2000, artists have brought with them their skills and worked with the students in an intimate setting. Last year, Professor Kelly organized the “4th Annual: This Printmaking Thing We Are Doing: An Undergraduate Printmaking Symposium” at Fletcher Hall allowing students the opportunity to assist in both organization and execution of the event.

The recipient of dozens of awards and grants, Professor Kelly is the first to thank his colleagues, former mentors and students for his accomplishments. Students often ask him to chair their thesis committees and he’s built a reputation for never saying no. His colleagues see him as a professor indeed, but also a confidant and beacon of the printmaking industry. John Hawthorne, fellow professor, believes Kelly has a voracious work ethic and since arriving at the University, “he has developed his primary discipline into a highly respected and nationally recognized program grounded in a comprehensive integration of service and classroom instruction.”

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2016 Ray P. Authement Excellence in Teaching Award

Shelly Leroy
Senior Instructor of English
College of Liberal Arts

As an instructor for the English department, Shelly Leroy began her career with UL Lafayette in the fall of 2004. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and went on to complete her Master of Arts in English as well, specializing in scientific and technical communication. Since 2013, she has served as senior instructor, co-designing core courses in the online graduate certificate program in professional writing.

Leroy is a certified online teacher and online course designer, credited with redesigning face-to-face courses for online delivery. As one of the first faculty to earn ULearn certification from the Office of Distance Learning, Shelly has applied her knowledge in the development of the online courses for ENGL 360, ENGL 365 and a pilot course for ENGL 357.

As an advocate and practitioner of a student-centered teaching approach, Shelly remains mindful of the wide variety of majors, proficiencies, and learning styles of her students. She aims to conduct well rounded courses for a vast and diverse profile of students across the campus. Leroy is considered to be a source of knowledge, facilitator, mentor and advocate for her students and department. She is known for her rigorous grading standards, challenging assignments and expectations of professional standards and behavior.

Dean Jordan Kellman speaks of Shelly Leroy as a “prolific department, college and University citizen.” She is a pioneer in online teaching dedicated to using technology to maximize further student development.

Shelly Leroy, according to Department Head Dayana Stetco, is “one of the English Department’s most talented, caring, and valued teachers. She is one of the University’s most important contributors to distance learning, but also a most innovative and dependable teacher invested in her students’ future.”

Dr. Patricia Mire
Master Instructor of Biology
Ray P. Authement College of Sciences

Microscopes, plants, and all things science surround Patricia Mire’s Billeaud Hall lab and are an indisputable testament of her love for biology. Ignited at an early age, Patricia Mire’s interest in biology was inspired by a middle school teacher. Earning both her Bachelors of Science Education and Ph.D. in Biology from UL Lafayette (USL), Dr. Mire spent a number of years teaching as a secondary science and gifted biology teacher. Today, Dr. Patricia Mire serves as master instructor of biology and adjunct graduate faculty in the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences.

Throughout her years of service at the University, Dr. Mire has taught approximately 7,000 students spanning from first time freshmen to Ph.D. students. Her use of innovative pedagogical approaches, even in lecture style courses, motivates students to explore and participate in classroom discussion. Demonstrating phenomena like electronegativity and dancing the “lipid shuffle” are examples she incorporates to aid students in better understanding complex concepts.

Students have bestowed a number of awards recognizing Dr. Patricia Mire including Outstanding Advisor for the last 10 years, Freshman Professor of the Year by Alpha Lamda Delta and Preprofessional Society Outstanding Instructor. Professor and Department Head Paul Leberg is pleased to receive excellent evaluations from students speaking highly of her instructional abilities.

Additionally, Dr. Patricia Mire is active in new course development having solely developed three courses: BIOL 206 Biology for Education Majors, SCI 101 Orientation for Biology Majors, and BIOL 230/231/232 Cell and Molecular Biology. She has contributed to the development and restructure of five additional courses and continues to update lectures, labs and active learning activities.

According to Dr. Leberg, “Dr. Patricia Mire exemplifies the qualities of an outstanding instructor and distinguished educator. I am impressed by the energy and imagination that she brings to the classroom.”

2016 Distinguished Professor Award

Dr. Emad Habib
Professor of Civil Engineering
College of Engineering

Dr. Emad Habib joined the University in 2003 as assistant professor after earning his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering in 2001. As a multi-disciplinary researcher, Dr. Habib is a national and international expert in the area of hydrology and coastal research. His pioneering work has assisted in major research advances in flood prediction and forecasting and is widely applied in satellite and radar precipitation algorithms by U.S. agencies such as NASA and NOAA.

Dr. Habib also conducts research work in the field of coastal restoration and water resource management, working with the Lower Mississippi River Forecasting Center and the Statewide Flood Control Program for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. He collaborates with the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to address uncertainties in eco-hydrology prediction models.

$2 million in financial funding has been generated from the most competitive federal agencies, such as the National Science Foundation as a result of Dr. Habib’s research endeavors. Over 50 published papers, five book chapters and editorials, and more than 25 papers in conference proceedings are a further testament of his favorable view by independent peers and experts.

With a vision for integrating research and education, Dr. Habib led a multi-institutional effort funded by the National Science Foundation to develop “HydroViz” – an educational platform promoting problem and place based education. Awards and recognition attributed to Emad include the American Society of Civil Engineers “Best Journal Paper”, the ASCE Environmental and Water Resources Institute “Watershed Council Excellence Award, and more. He has supervised 21 graduate students and continues to serve on numerous University committees. Dr. Habib is the holder of the Stuller Endowed Professorship and the Professorship in Water Studies.

Dr. Ken McManis, Department Head of Civil Engineering states, “I feel proud of Dr. Habib’s work, his outstanding research and scholarly record. Emad has a strong commitment to our academic programs and excels in his instructional and service efforts to the Department, College and University.”

Dr. John Tetnowski
Professor of Communicative Disorders
College of Liberal Arts

World renowned researcher and professor of Communicative Disorders, Dr. John Tetnowski arrived at UL Lafayette in 1998. He quickly moved up, attaining the rank of full professor in 2006. Since 2002, John has held the Ben Blanco/BoRSF Endowed Professorship and currently serves as coordinator for the M.S. and Ph.D. programs within the Department of Communicative Disorders.

His research focuses on the field of fluency disorders, commonly known as “stuttering” in the U.S. Dr. Tetnowski believes in producing meaningful research to generate positive change for individuals with communication disorders and the professionals that serve them. His published works include 66 refereed articles and chapters ranging from conference proceedings to the most respected journals in his field.

John is one of three Board Certified Fluency Specialists and Mentors in the state of Louisiana – of only 200 in the nation. He is a top researcher, scholar and talented clinician, recognized as a nominee for the Dicarlo Award by the Louisiana Speech Language Hearing Association. In 2013, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association commemorated him as a Fellow recognizing his achievements to clinical service and education, academic teaching and research, and administrative services to the ASLHA.

As a founding member of the Lafayette Chapter of the National Stuttering Association, Dr. Tetnowski established an adult and teen support group benefiting families in the community who are directly or indirectly affected by stuttering. At the University, John’s influence and contributions promote quality graduate education. Dr. Nancye Roussel says he is always looking for new horizons for the graduate programs and feels very passionate about doing so.

Dean Jordan Kellman shares, “Dr. Tetnowski is dedicated to making the fruits of his scholarly research available to a wide public, including those who stutter and clinicians, and it’s fair to say that his research has had a significant impact on clinical practice and on the lives of many with fluency challenges.”

2016 Leadership in Service Award

Geoff Gjertson
Professor of Architecture and Licensed Architect
College of the Arts

Licensed Architect and Professor W. Geoff Gjertson is renowned among students and colleagues across campus for his dedication to teaching, hands on, practice based learning that engages the community. Serving 11 years at UL Lafayette, he is the holder of the Lafayette Coca-Cola/BoRSF Endowed Professorship in Architecture and a 2010 recipient of the Ray P. Authement Excellence in Teaching Award.

Geoff Gjertson is co-founder of the Building Institute, a design-build endeavor combining mentorship with real world experience. Service learning is a crucial component of Gjertson’s teaching and research. His philosophy focuses on development of student led coalitions of public, private, industry and university partners in the design and construction of community buildings such as the award winning Beausoleil Louisiana Solar Home and the recent Gridshell project. Through his innovative approach, students are immersed in full project management and integrated design.

As the inaugural recipient of the Leadership in Service Award, Gjertson sets the highest standard for teaching through service learning. Graduate student Richard Arcuri, Jr. shares, “Service cannot just be defined as volunteerism. Behind service lie management, logistics, volunteer hours and funding. Professor Gjertson has consistently performed on all of these fronts.”

President/CEO of United Way of Acadiana, Margaret Trahan, speaks of Geoff’s notable ability to bring the community together… “Geoff brings together people and organizations with the passion, resources and expertise to get things done, all while adding value to the student learning experience and producing something of lasting benefit to a community.”

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2015 Ray P. Authement Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Pegge L. Alciatore
Assistant Professor of Biology
Ray P. Authement College of Sciences

Dr. Pegge Alciatore, assistant professor of Biology, received her Master’s in Zoology and Doctorate in Education from Oklahoma State University. She has dedicated 35 years to teaching anatomy and physiology at UL and continually receives exceptional student evaluations.

Each academic year, Dr. Alciatore advises over 300 biology majors, all incoming freshmen, all Biology Honors students, and senior biology majors in preparation for graduation. Her commitment and passion for teaching resonate throughout the community, as Dr. Paul Leberg, head of the Biology Department observes,“It is striking that whenever I enter a local hospital, medical, or dental office, veterinary clinic, or physical therapy practice, and the staff, doctors, or nurses [learn] that I am a faculty member in biology, I am universally told of how important Dr. Alciatore was in their lives.”

She has been recognized as an outstanding teacher and advisor, honorary alumna for the College of Nursing, Pan-Hellenic Council teacher of the month in 1996, 2001 and 2006, andPre-professional Society Distinguished Professor.She serves as a faculty senate member and on four university committees. In addition, Dr. Alciatore has been effective in gaining considerable financial funding for her department as a National Science Foundation Fellow and Director of Department of Energy and NCAA-funded programs.

Even when grants are rejected, according to Dr. Paul Leberg, head of the Biology Department, her ambition does not waiver, “…Pegge has easily donated thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of her time obtaining needed materials, repairing instructional equipment, or renovating student spaces when other funding was not available. I am unaware of any other faculty member who has come close to making the sorts of contributions Pegge has made for the benefit of our students.”

Dr. Ross Chiquet
Master Instructor of Mathemetics
Ray P. Authement College of Sciences

Dr. Ross Chiquet is a master instructor for the Department of Mathematics. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from UL in 2009. Ross has taught at the University for the last 12 years and presently serves as assistant department head. Over the last year his service to the University encompasses appointments to 13 departmental committees, six of which he chaired. His administrative and teaching duties do not leave him with an abundance of free time, but he holds himself to high standards, committed to an open door policy for all students – current, former and even those not enrolled in his courses.

His commitment to training young mathematicians has garnered him a true fan club. Both his students and colleagues offer him high acclaim. His students consistently rate him as a “great teacher” dedicated to their success. Fellow faculty members describe him as “an effective blend of rigor, humor and understanding; a mentor to many.”

While his students each semester may change, his teaching philosophy remains the same: Ross focuses on keeping an open and comfortable classroom environment while maintaining authority. His focus is on teaching preparation and the success of hisstudents – not only in the courses he may teach, but in all related courses.

Dr. Keng Deng, department head for Mathematics, speaks highly of Ross, “His teaching reputation within the student body has grown over the years, and he has a unique ability to motivate students to learn mathematics. Ross is able to explain complicated concepts in a way that everyone can understand, and his command of the course material is seamless.”

2015 Distinguished Professor Award

Dr. Paul L. Klerks
Professor of Biology
Ray P. Authement College of Sciences

Dr. Paul Klerks, professor of Biology, received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. He earned his Ph.D. in the biological sciences of ecology and evolution from Stony Brook University.

During the course of his career, Dr. Klerks has published 54 articles in his field’s most notable journals with his works being cited over 1,100 times. His ongoing research investigates the ability of aquatic organisms to assimilate to different environmental stressors and the potential long-term effects of such.

He has helped generate over $6 million in research and graduate funding and currently chairs the Vice President of Research’s Coastal Research Excellence Strategy Taskforce. Dr. Klerks has mentored 19 graduate students to completing their degrees and is presently advising four.

The head of the Biology Department, Dr. Paul Leberg, comments, “… Dr. Klerks exemplifies the qualities of a distinguished professor. He is an outstanding scholar with an international reputation that allows him to attract both research funding and outstanding students. In addition, he is a dedicated instructor and is active in service both inside and outside the University.”

Dr. Klerks holds the Harold & Adele Comeaux Board of Regents Professorship in Biology and was named Exceptional Reviewer of 2014 by Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

Dr. Chan Kiat Lim
Associate Professor of Music
College of the Arts

Dr. Chan Kiat Lim, a native of Malaysia, came to the U.S.A. in 1995 and received music certifications in piano, violin, and theory. He received his Bachelor’s of Music degree from West Virginia University and his Master’s and Doctoral degrees from theCollege-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. As an associate professor, Dr. Lim teaches applied piano, piano literature, graduate pedagogy and class piano.

He is the co-author of the online curriculum eNovativePiano, a revolutionary multi-media resource used for eLearning and distance learning. This innovative curriculum provides new direction in piano instruction and has been lauded by music educators throughout the world.

American Pulitzer Prize and Grammy award winning composers such as William Bolcom and Ned Rorem have offered high acclaim for Dr. Lim’s creativity, skill and talent.Gordon Brooks, dean of the College of Arts states “…Not only is Dr. Lim a master teacher, but he is passionately committed to the creation of 21st century approaches to connecting people to music – through new ways of presenting music, and through new ways of teaching music.”

As a world-renown performer, Dr. Lim has performed in Mexico, Italy, Greece, Romania and is a two-time performer at the most prestigious Steinway Hall in New York City, New York. He is the current holder of the Margaret Chauvin Steen Villemez Music Professorship.