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2011-12 Faculty/Staff AwardsPresident’s MessageCharles W. StegerPresident, Virginia TechEach year, Virginia Tech selects the very best faculty and staffmembers from a university community that abounds with exceptionalperformers and recognizes their extraordinary contributions ina number of categories, from advising students to making an impacton international outreach and research. The various award selectioncommittees recently completed their work, and this publication paystribute to our 2011-12 award recipients. On behalf of the university,I congratulate the winners and thank them for the outstanding workthat helps Virginia Tech to continue inventing the future.


2011-12 Faculty/Staff AwardsAbout the awardsAlumni Award for Excellence inGraduate Academic AdvisingEstablished by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, theAlumni Award for Excellence in Graduate Academic Advisingis presented annually by the Office of the Provost to recognizeVirginia Tech faculty who have been particularly dedicatedto and effective in the advising of graduate students. Recipientsmay be nominated by university faculty or students, areselected by a committee of former award winners, and areawarded a $2,000 cash prize.Alumni Award for Excellence inInternational EducationSponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, theAlumni Award for Excellence in International Education ispresented annually to a Virginia Tech faculty or staff memberwho has had a significant impact on international educationat the university. Selection is based upon contributions to theinternationalization of Virginia Tech, the impact on students,the impact on the campus and community, the significance ofthe initiative, and the sustainability of the initiative. Recipientsare awarded a $2,000 cash prize.Alumni Award for Excellence inInternational Outreach and ResearchSponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, theAlumni Award for Excellence in International Outreach andResearch is presented annually to a faculty or staff memberwho has had a significant impact on international outreachand research at Virginia Tech. Selection is based on contributionsto the internationalization of Virginia Tech, globalimpact, significance of the project, and sustainability of theproject. Recipients are awarded a $2,000 cash prize.Alumni Award for Excellence inUndergraduate Academic AdvisingEstablished by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, theAlumni Award for Excellence in Undergraduate AcademicAdvising is presented annually by the Office of the Provostto recognize Virginia Tech faculty who have been particularlydedicated to and effective in the advising of undergraduatestudents. Recipients may be nominated by university facultyor students, are selected by a committee of former award winners,and are awarded a $2,000 cash prize.Alumni Award for Outreach ExcellenceEstablished by the university’s Commission on Outreach andInternational Affairs with the support of the Virginia TechAlumni Association, the Alumni Award for Outreach Excellenceis presented annually to recognize outstanding contributionsby Virginia Tech faculty members who have extended theuniversity’s outreach mission throughout the commonwealth,the nation, and the world. Recipients are nominated by theirpeers, are awarded a $2,000 cash prize, and are inducted intothe university’s Academy of Outreach Excellence.Alumni Award for Excellence inExtensionSponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, theAlumni Award for Excellence in Extension is presented annuallyto two Virginia Cooperative Extension staff members whohave made outstanding contributions outside the classroom.One award is given to an Extension specialist and one is givento an Extension agent. Each recipient is awarded a $2,000cash prize.1


2011-12 Faculty/Staff AwardsAlumni Award for Excellence in ResearchSponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, theAlumni Award for Excellence in Research is presented annuallyto as many as two Virginia Tech faculty members whohave made outstanding contributions in the area of research.Alumni, students, faculty, and staff may nominate candidatesfor the award. Each recipient is awarded a $2,000 cash prize.Alumni Award for Excellence in TeachingEstablished in 1982 by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association,the Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching is presentedannually to honor two Virginia Tech faculty membersfor teaching excellence. Award recipients are selected by theuniversity’s Academy of Teaching Excellence and are chosenfrom among those faculty members who have received certificatesof teaching excellence from their respective collegesduring the preceding three years. Each recipient is awardeda $2,000 cash prize and is inducted into the Academy ofTeaching Excellence.Edward S. Diggs Teaching Scholars AwardSponsored by the Virginia Tech Academy of TeachingExcellence, the Edward S. Diggs Teaching Scholars Awardwas established in 1992 and is presented annually to threeVirginia Tech faculty members to recognize exceptionalcontributions to the teaching program and learning environment.A cash award is given to each recipient and his or herrespective academic department. A year after receiving theaward, new Diggs Teaching Scholars are invited to lead theDiggs Roundtable, a series of presentations and a discussionrelated to their innovative teaching.The award is supported by an endowed fund establishedthrough an estate gift from the late Edward S. and HattieWilson Diggs. Edward Diggs was a 1914 graduate of VirginiaTech.President’s Award for ExcellenceThe President’s Award for Excellence is presented annuallyto up to five Virginia Tech staff members who have madeextraordinary contributions by consistent excellence in theperformance of their job or a single incident, contribution, orheroic act. Each recipient is awarded a $2,000 cash prize.Provost’s Advising AwardThe Provost’s Advising Award is given annually to recognizea Virginia Tech faculty or staff member who serves undergraduateadvisees in exemplary ways. Recipients are awardeda $2,000 cash prize and are inducted into the university’sAcademy of Advising Excellence.2


Alumni Award for Excellence in International ResearchMichael SaffleMichael Saffle, professor of music and humanities in the Department of Religionand Culture in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences (clahs.vt.edu), hasreceived the university’s 2012 Alumni Award for Excellence in International Research.During his 33-year career at the university, Saffle has built an impressive, extensive, andvaried list of scholarly accomplishments, many of them having international connections.A renowned scholar of composer Franz Liszt (1811-1886), Saffle has been a partof hundreds of publications and presentations, and has earned national and internationalaccolades.Saffle has authored three editions of an internationally acclaimed Liszt research guide,published by Routledge Press. His career includes two Fulbright Scholarships (one a“Distinguished European Chair”), and two Humboldt Fellowships, as well as awards fromthe Rockefeller Foundation and the American Philosophical Society.In 2006, Saffle received one of the top honors in his in his field: a commemorative collectionof essays published as an issue of the e-journal Spaces of Identity. The publicationwas titled The Sound of Interdisciplinarity: For Michael Saffle. It included contributionsby individuals from Austria, Canada, Italy, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom, aswell as the United States.Saffle’s research has enabled him to collaborate with musicologists and other scholarsfrom around the world. He has been instrumental in arranging more than 10 internationalconferences and has been the general editor of the Franz Liszt Studies Series, aninternational collaborative work.“Michael is a meticulous researcher and has done extensive research in internationalarchives,” said Peter Schmitthenner, chair of the department. “While collaborating withother established scholars, he has also fostered the continuance of scholarship in his fieldsof expertise by mentoring emerging scholars. We are indeed fortunate to have in Michael,such a distinguished humanities scholar, representing Virginia Tech to various parts ofthe globe.”Professor of music and humanities, Department ofReligion and CultureCollege of Liberal Arts and Human SciencesSaffle received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah, a master’s degree fromBoston University, a master’s degree from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. from StanfordUniversity.7


Alumni Award for Excellence in ResearchStephen PrinceStephen Prince, professor of theatre and cinema in the College of Liberal Arts andHuman Sciences (www.clahs.vt.edu), has received the 2012 Alumni Award for Excellencein Research.Prince, who joined the Virginia Tech community in 1989, was recognized for hisgroundbreaking work in cinema studies that has advanced the understanding of film asan aesthetic and social medium. He holds an honorary professorship in film and mediaat the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.Prince is the editor of the prize-winning journal Projections: The Journal for Movies andMind. He is a former president of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, the world’slargest organization of film scholars and academics. In addition to numerous essaysfocusing on film history, theory, and criticism, Prince has authored or edited 19 books,17 refereed articles, and 12 book chapters. He was the book review editor for Film Quarterlyfor 11 years, and he has recorded 13 commentaries appearing on DVDs of films byprominent directors Akira Kurosawa and Sam Peckinpah.Prince’s recent book, “Firestorm: American Film in the Age of Terrorism” (ColumbiaUniversity Press 2009), is the first book to examine 9/11 and its aftermath as depicted infilm and television. It evaluates the extent to which filmmakers have exploited, explained,understood, and interpreted the terrorist attacks and the war that followed. The bookhas been reviewed in a number of international periodicals and newspapers, includingChoice, which listed it as an Outstanding Academic Title in 2010.Professor of theatre and cinemaCollege of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences“The range and importance of Stephen’s work is enormous,” said Patricia Raun, head ofthe Department of Theatre and Cinema (www.theatrecinema.vt.edu). “Virginia Tech’sreputation as a significant and comprehensive research institution is enhanced by hisextraordinary scholarship. I find all of Stephen’s work to be insightful and surprisinglyaccessible, even to people unfamiliar with cinematic scholarship.”Prince received a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from the University of Marylandand a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.12


Alumni Award for Excellence in ResearchT. Daniel CrawfordT. Daniel Crawford, professor of chemistry in the College of Science (www.science.vt.edu), has received the 2012 Alumni Award for Excellence in Research.Crawford joined the Virginia Tech community in 2000 and has since been recognized forhis groundbreaking work in theoretical and computational chemistry. Over the past 10years, Crawford has developed a series of quantum mechanical models capable of highaccuracysimulations of the interaction of polarized light with chiral molecules, a classof compounds that includes most modern medicines ranging from chemical sedatives toanti-tumor agents. These new computational tools will shorten the development time ofnew chiral drugs.In addition, Crawford is the first author and lead developer of a suite of quantum chemicalcomputer programs that he and his collaborators distribute freely under an opensourcesoftware license. Computational chemists around the world have applied theseprograms to an array of chemical problems, and 10,000 copies of the program have beendistributed.Crawford has authored or co-authored 88 peer-reviewed publications and received nearly100 invitations from around the world to lecture on his work. In 2009, he was a visitingprofessor at two universities in Norway, and he has active research collaborations withresearchers in 10 different countries.Crawford’s awards and honors include a Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award(2000), Research Innovation Award (2000), and a Cottrell Scholar (2003). He is therecipient of a National Science Foundation Faculty Career Development Award, severalteaching awards, and the 2010 Dirac Medal of the World Association of Theoretical andComputational Chemists as the “outstanding computational chemist in the world underthe age of 40.”Professor of chemistryCollege of Science“In contrast to more approximate models, the rigorous theories developed by Daniel’sgroup allow us to predict, rather than rationalize, the optical activity of a particular molecule,”said David Kingston, University Distinguished Professor of Chemistry.Edward Valeev, assistant professor of chemistry, added, “Daniel attacks some of the mostchallenging problems of today’s computational chemistry. Although his work is rigorousand technically complex, he manages to explain it with superb clarity in lectures andpublications.”Crawford received his bachelor’s degree from Duke University and his Ph.D. from theUniversity of Georgia.13


Alumni Award for Excellence in TeachingJane WemhoenerJane Wemhoener, senior instructor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and HumanSciences (www.clahs.vt.edu), has received the university’s 2012 Alumni Award forExcellence in Teaching.A member of the Virginia Tech community since 2002, Wemhoener was recognized forher outstanding teaching as well as her work in international education, service learning,and student advising.Wemhoener consistently receives among the highest teaching evaluation scores andenthusiastic student comments of faculty members in the Department of English. Herscores average 3.9 out of a possible 4.0 on the Student Perception of Instruction evaluation.With a background in medieval literature and professional writing, Wemhoeneralso teaches courses in children’s literature, women’s literature, and world literature. Inaddition, her international experience has led to the development of a new course in thedepartment, which focuses on applying study abroad learning to students’ undergraduateresearch and writing.A former student in Wemhoener’s women’s literature course writes, “I feel like this coursehas opened my eyes about the problems women have faced and continue to face. As anengineering major, I do not often have this kind of experience.” A student in her BusinessWriting course said, “Business Writing is the most useful class that I have ever takenin my 15-plus years of formal education. While this is an extremely bold statement, Istand behind it.”Instructor of EnglishCollege of Liberal Arts and Human SciencesUnder Wemhoener’s leadership, the department’s study abroad program has flourished.Four student groups have travelled to England since 2008. Another group will travel thissummer.Beyond the department, Wemhoener has chaired the university’s China Studies TaskForce and, with a cross-college faculty team, has written a Fulbright grant proposal withthe intent of making China studies an integral part of the university’s curriculum. Shealso advocates for international education on a statewide level in her role as executivedirector of the Virginia Council for International Education. In addition, she is thecoordinator of a four-year program in Tanzania to develop professional writing skills formedical students.“Jane is a gifted, generous, and highly effective teacher, whatever assignment the departmentgives to her,” said Joseph Eska, professor and head of the English department. “Shehas made a difference in the lives of numerous students from across the university and isone of the faculty members who students remember when they graduate.”Wemhoener has been recognized with the college’s and university’s outreach awards, aninternational faculty development award, and has served on the college’s Advisory Committeeon International Initiatives and its diversity committee.14She received her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Saint Louis University andcompleted course work for her Ph.D. at Ohio State University.


Alumni Award for Excellence in TeachingAlan WeinsteinAlan Weinstein, assistant professor in the Department of Music in the School of PerformingArts and Cinema (www.sopac.vt.edu) in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences(www.clahs.vt.edu), has received the university’s 2012 Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching.A member of the Virginia Tech community since 2003, Weinstein was recognized for hisexceptional musicianship, tireless work ethic, and great compassion for his students in theDepartment of Music (www.music.vt.edu).Weinstein consistently receives among the highest teaching evaluation scores of facultymembers in the department. His scores average between 3.9 and a perfect 4.0 on the StudentPerception of Instruction evaluation. His teaching assignments are broad, encompassingone-on-one instruction in applied cello and double bass, as well as small group chamber musiccoaching. Each semester, he teaches Creativity and Aesthetic Experience to more than 1,100non-major students seeking to fulfill their fine arts requirement.A former student writes: “I loved this class. Professor Weinstein made great connections tocurrent events and modern arts and culture.”Another student writes: “Thank you for an enriching class that truly opened my eyes to thevarious forms of art I encounter day to day.”David E. Gagnon, a former student of Weinstein’s from 2003 to 2007 said, “It takes a skilledteacher to combine high standards with personal kindness, and Alan has succeeded. AlanWeinstein is easily the finest cello instructor under whom I have studied.”Since 2003, Weinstein has developed applied cello, bass, and chamber music courses for musicmajors and minors. Participation in these courses has increased tenfold since that time. Otherachievements include winning the Phi Beta Kappa Sturn Award for Faculty Excellence inCreative Arts or Performance, teaching numerous master classes throughout the United Statesand Europe, and grants for teaching and outreach from the U.S. Department of Educationand the National Endowment for the Arts, among others.Assistant professor, music, School of PerformingArts and CinemaCollege of Liberal Arts and Human SciencesWeinstein is also co-founder of the Virginia Tech String Project, an organization providingstring instruction to elementary students as part of a program to recruit and train future stringmusic educators. He is also a founding member of the nationally award-winning KandinskyTrio, artists-in-residence at Roanoke College for more than 20 years.“Alan is a uniquely gifted and successful teacher,” said William J. Crone, associate professor anddepartment head. “He is a demanding, yet compassionate teacher, and his students continuallyrise to meet the challenges he puts before them.”Weinstein received a bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory and a master’sdegree from the Eastman School of Music. He performs regularly on major concert venuesthroughout the United States and Europe.15


EDWARD S. DIGGS TEACHING SCHOLARS AWARDSAnthony T. “Terry” CobbAnthony T. “Terry” Cobb, associate professor in the Department of Managementin the Pamplin College of Business (www.pamplin.vt.edu), has received the university’s2012 Edward S. Diggs Teaching Scholars Award.Cobb has been faculty member in the Department of Management since 1978. He hasa record of teaching excellence that has long been recognized at both the undergraduateand doctoral levels.He has received college’s Doctoral Teaching Award, the Warren L. Holtzman OutstandingEducator Award, and the Certificate of Teaching Excellence.Cobb has developed a unique pedagogy of using self-managed student teams in hisclasses to address and solve complex projects. His textbook, “Leading Project Teams: AnIntroduction to the Basics of Project Management and Project Team Leadership” (2nded. Sage Press) is designed for instructors in professional programs to introduce theirstudents to project management tools and techniques and then using those tools notonly in their teams working on complex problems, but also to carry with them into theirprofessions.Students and alumni have supported Cobb’s many teaching awards, and their commentsoften tell of how their experiences in his self-managed teams have helped them laterin their careers. The department has made the skill of developing and leading teams acentral feature of its curriculum, and students in organizational behavior are taught howto develop and lead self-managed teams based on Cobb’s model.Associate professor, managementPamplin College of Business“We find that our students then go on to use and refine those skills in the other courses inour curriculum,” said Anju Seth, R.B. Pamplin Professor of Management and departmenthead.Cobb received his bachelor’s degree from California State University, Northridge; a master’sdegree from Wayne State University; and a Ph.D. from the University of Californiaat Irvine.16


Edward S. Diggs Teaching Scholars AwardLee CooperLee Cooper, clinical associate professor of psychology in the College of Scienceand director of the Psychological Services Center (www.psyc.vt.edu/outreach/psc), hasreceived the university’s 2012 Edward S. Diggs Teaching Scholars Award.Cooper has been a member of the faculty since 1998. In addition to the administrativeand supervision duties of running the Psychological Services Center, he is the instructorfor one clinical practicum course each semester and teaches a graduate class in clinicalassessment each year. Cooper uses a learning enhancement tool based upon principles ofexpertise development for graduate students seeking to become clinical scientists, whichmay include being a researcher, therapist, or teacher.“The core component of my teaching philosophy and method is to impart the need forcontinuous and deliberate professional practice and reflection, whether it is conductingtherapy, teaching, or research,” Cooper said. “To teach and encourage reflectivity, I striveto create a safe yet challenging supervisory relationship.”As students practice clinical strategies, they are encouraged to reflect on their experiencesand receive feedback on their performance. Students can then modify their ownstrategies and challenge their mastery of the strategies with clients or with problemsoutside their preferred area of interest or expertise. This type of reflective process is a keycomponent to developing personal expertise, Cooper said.Cooper regularly uses this performance model on his own teaching skills and has proposedenhancing other teachers’ performance with a forum for organized, collaborative,and ongoing interchange. The forum will offer faculty members an environment wherethey can practice their skills and receive effective feedback from their peers.“It is fair to say that Lee has a passion for teaching and that his passion translates to excellence,both in clinical supervisory training and classroom teaching,” said Bob Stephens,professor and department head. “His excellence in teaching has been documented repeatedlyvia high student ratings, peer evaluations, and personal testimonials from studentshe has mentored.”Clinical associate professor, psychologyDirector, Psychological Services CenterCollege of ScienceCooper received a Certificate of Teaching Excellence Award in 2008.He received his bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University and a master’s degree andPh.D. from the University of North Carolina atGreensboro.17


Edward S. Diggs Teaching Scholars AwardMarian MollinMarian Mollin, associate professor of history in the College of Liberal Arts andHuman Sciences (www.clahs.vt.edu), has received the university’s 2012 Edward S. DiggsTeaching Scholars Award.Mollin has been a member of the faculty in the Department of History (www.history.vt.edu) since 2000. Her teaching awards and honors range from successful curriculumand program development to effective mentoring and advising. She is dedicated to fosteringa strong sense of community and belonging in both students and colleagues.She is also instrumental in fostering the introduction of effective technology into the historyclassroom and has received two XCaliber team awards for her efforts.“Students laud Marian’s teaching for the ways in which she pushes them to think outsidethe box and to learn from each other through in-class discussions and online interaction,”said Mark Barrow, professor and department chair.Mollin has proposed a teaching enhancement project that would develop a peer-mentoringprogram for undergraduate history majors engaged in independent research projectsand senior theses.“Undergraduate student scholars usually pursue their projects in isolation from eachother,” Mollin said. “They have little sense of belonging to a larger community of studentscholars. Most do not even know who else among them is engaged in research.”Associate professor, historyCollege of Liberal Arts and Human SciencesMollin’s peer mentoring program involves creating small groups of student researcherswho meet weekly to set research and writing goals, share ideas and insights about sources,provide constructive feedback on each other’s work, and encourage group members toreach their research goals. Mollin said this mentoring process would provide a sense ofcommunity and create peer accountability.“A peer-mentoring program thus has the potential to empower and connect student researchersand to successfully augment the formal guidance they receive from their facultymentors,” she said.Mollin received her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree andPh.D. from the University of Massachusetts.18


President’s Award for ExcellenceJim StroupJim Stroup, senior photographer for University Relations at Virginia Tech, has receivedthe university’s 2012 President’s Award for Excellence.Stroup joined the Virginia Tech community in 2008. Since that time, he has repeatedlyshown dedication to getting superb photographs for the university and its publications.In Stroup’s nomination packet, Photography Manager Michael Kiernan stated “Jim’sstriking photographic images present Virginia Tech in the best possible light, and hiscreative concepts continually promote and support the university’s initiatives and excellenceto a wide variety of audiences. A distinction of Jim’s is his consistency in producingexcellent photographs throughout the year and how often he will go the extra mile to getthe best possible images.”Kiernan said Stroup also continually volunteered for assignments and sought out challengingprojects.“He is always looking for better ways to do things, such as getting fireworks photos from ahelicopter during a night football game at Lane Stadium,” Kiernan said. “It took a weekof phone calls and paperwork to get such a shot done. Not many people are aware of theplanning that is involved for many of our photographs.”Larry Hincker, associate vice president for University Relations, endorsed Stroup’snomination.“As a former photographer myself, I have always been impressed by Jim’s ability not justto create beautiful imagery, but also to communicate a message … and to support oramplify the work in which the photo is used,” he said. “I am aware just how much efforthe puts into each assignment and how often he goes beyond mere requirements. Hisstunning photographs help the rest of us create great advertisements, websites, publications,news releases, and exhibits.”PhotographerUniversity RelationsStroup took first place in the University Photographers Association of America (UPAA)monthly image competition, was runner-up for the UPPA Photographer of the Year, andreceived UPPA’s print publication competition “Best of Show” for his cover image onVirginia Tech Magazine’s “Savoring #1” (www.vtmagazine.vt.edu/spring11/index.html)issue last year. He was also voted University Relations Communicator of the Year earlierthis spring.19


President’s Award for ExcellenceEllen KruparEllen Krupar, librarian for the Pamplin College of Business (www.pamplin.vt.edu),has received the university’s 2012 President’s Award for Excellence.As a college librarian, Krupar provides guidance to students conducting research andcollecting data for academic projects. She was nominated for the President’s Award basedon her extensive and selfless service as a community volunteer, specifically to the VirginiaTech Police (www.police.vt.edu). Krupar is co-founder of the Campus Police SupportGroup, an organization established to support logistical needs to the department duringcrisis and emergency situations.“Ellen’s commitment was invaluable to the police department in the wake of OfficerDeriek Crouse’s line-of-duty death,” said Police Chief Wendell Flinchum. “She workedtirelessly to provide food, drinks, and other support to the department around the clock.”Her organization of resources included other volunteers, local business support, andtransportation of goods to critical support locations.“At any time of day or night, Ellen was there making sure everything was being lookedafter,” Flinchum said. “Her enthusiasm to remain actively engaged and open to the needsof our department was evident by her willingness to remain available on a moment’snotice and to respond in the capacity of a volunteer.”Krupar’s other community volunteer efforts include Literacy Volunteers of the New RiverValley, Christiansburg Friends of the Library, Virginia Special Olympics, and the YMCA.LibrarianPamplin College of Business“In my 25-plus years of experience in public safety, I am unaware if I have ever metanyone as committed to volunteer service and public safety support as Ellen,” Flinchumsaid. “She has embraced complete ownership of the university’s motto Ut Prosim (That IMay Serve).”Other members of the support group include Leisa and Don Osborne, Sam and PaulaVan Curen, Lynn Bird, and Nikki and Brian Early.20


President’s Award for ExcellenceCharles “Stanley” WilliamsCharles S. “Stanley” Williams, maintenance supervisor of the Virginia Tech powerplant, has received the university’s 2012 President’s Award for Excellence.Williams’ service to the university has spanned 29 years, 26 of them as manager. Duringthat time, he has directed maintenance and repair activities to keep the steam plant notonly operating, but also performing at its peak efficiency to ensure the most cost-effectivedelivery of thermal energy to the university.“Stanley consistently performs his duties with the highest level of integrity and dependability,often under difficult circumstances,” said John Beach, director of utilities andstrategic initiatives for facilities services. “An example of his high level of dedication occurred last winter when the plant experienceda major steam leak in a primary steam line. Even after just completing a 10-hourshift, Williams promptly reported to the initial call and went above and beyond toensure his employees’ safety and to coordinate the required materials and steps for repairs.“As a result of his extraordinary efforts, the repairs were completed with no noticeable lackof service to the campus,” said Byron Nichols, associate director of utility systems.In his nomination packet, Williams was cited as consistently performing his duties withdistinction and attention to needed safety details. He was recently recognized by his peersas Facilities Services Employee of the Year.“While the service Stanley offers in his position is normally not noticed by others on campus,his role in the maintenance of the steam plant is critical to ensuring that academicactivities can continue without interruption,” Nichols said.Maintenance supervisorVirginia Tech Power Plant21


President’s Award for ExcellenceSusan HaymoreSusan Haymore, lead advising coordinator in the College of Science (www.science.vt.edu), has received the university’s 2012 President’s Award for Excellence.For more than 13 years, Haymore has translated department- and college-level responsibilitiesinto significant improvements in the areas of curriculum and advising that havebeen implemented campus-wide. One of Haymore’s nominators stated that she had “setthe tone and standard for the college to work diligently on behalf of students and treateach one with the utmost respect, integrity, and compassion.”The College of Science serves more than 3,500 undergraduates and delivers 100,000student credit hours per semester to the university.“Rather than simply meeting the responsibilities of her position, Susan has consistentlyexceeded them, and she has emerged as the point person in the college to whom departmentaladvising staff turn for clarification of policy and advice on difficult advisingissues,” said Jill Sible, professor of biological sciences and associate dean for curriculum,instruction, and advising for the college.Last year, Haymore worked with the Office of the University Registrar to make the college’scurriculum review process electronic. As a result, course proposals can be trackedthroughout the review process. The savings to the university will be significant becausepaper copies of each course proposal will no longer be needed. The system will alsogreatly reduce the lag time it takes from the inception of a course or degree proposal tothe completion and acceptance into the course catalog.Lead advising coordinatorCollege of Science“I am humbled by this award,” Haymore said. “But I didn’t accomplish anything bymyself. I have a lot of support from my colleagues in the college as well as other collegeacademic units, the graduate school, the registrar’s office, and the Center for Assessment,Evaluation, and Educational Programming.”Another example of Haymore’s initiative was her development of a self-assessment formfor all students going on academic probation. The assessment requires students to considerthe many facets of their lives that may have contributed to academic troubles and todevelop a plan to utilize available resources to improve their academic performance.“A number of other colleges have requested this form so that they might adopt a similarpractice with their at-risk students,” Sible said.Haymore currently serves on eight college and university committees, including the EnvisioningVirginia Tech Presidential Task Force to develop the next University StrategicPlan.“Susan generates innovative solutions to some of our most pressing problems for how tobest advise and teach an ever-increasing number of undergraduate science majors,” Siblesaid.22


President’s Award for ExcellenceBonnie AlbertsBonnie Alberts, administrative assistant for the Center for Instructional Developmentand Educational Research (www.cider.vt.edu) and the Office of Assessment andEvaluation (www.aap.vt.edu), has received the university’s 2012 President’s Award forExcellence.The services the two offices provide to the university are broad and extensive. Over thepast five years, Alberts has been part of the growth of the two offices, which togetherhave doubled in size, scope, and responsibility.During that time, Alberts has learned to scale up traditional administration support;manage grant-based financial transactions; develop solutions to new financial, purchasing,travel, and human-resource situations; direct international assignments and events; andcommunicate new policies to a larger constituency.“Though the amount of work is often overwhelming, Bonnie demonstrates a strong senseof perseverance in getting the job done,” said Ray Van Dyke, director of academic assessment.“She consistently displays a positive attitude.”Alberts is a valuable team player, not only in the office where she works, but across theuniversity. She has taken on numerous leadership roles on committees and is consideredby many of her colleagues to be a source of information and support.“Bonnie continuously exceeds expectations for the financial responsibilities for this job,”Van Dyke said. “Though she is responsible for two very different budgets and accounts,she works meticulously to ensure compliance with university standards. Her ethicalconduct is beyond reproach.”Alberts is also recognized for going beyond all expectations in providing a warm, invitingatmosphere. She makes it a point of knowing and appreciating everyone she comes incontact with each day.Administrative assistantCenter for Instructional Development andEducational ResearchOffice of Assessment and Evaluation“Bonnie is among the top 5 percent of administrative support professionals I have workedwith in my 30-plus years in education,” Van Dyke said. “She is an outstanding representativeof the university.”23


Provost Award for Excellence in AdvisingChristina McIntyreChristina McIntyre, associate director of University Honors (www.univhonors.vt.edu), has received Virginia Tech’s 2012 Provost Award for Excellence in Advising.McIntyre has served in University Honors since 2007. Before that, she served as anundergraduate advisor and assistant department head in the Department of HumanNutrition, Foods, and Exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (www.cals.vt.edu).“Through the years, Christina has displayed a truly superior capacity in advising forhundreds of students in her charge with patience, care for their academic performance,and integrity,” said Terry Papillon, director of University Honors. “She exhibits a trueconcern that the student experiences the best the university has to offer.”McIntyre serves as advisor to students seeking the honors baccalaureate, the highestdegree designation offered by the university. She also helps students who are applying formajor national scholarships, matching students with relevant scholarships, and guidingthem to put together an effective application. Her encouragement and expertise have ledto many Fulbright, Udall, Truman, Goldwater, and National Science Foundation scholars.She has also worked to make University Honors more accessible to transfer studentsand non-traditional students.Former advisee Caitlyn de Kanter wrote, “Christina let my ideas grow by offering subtleadvice that helped them develop into my own plan, not hers. She is the reason I am currentlyin my first year of medical school.”Associate directorUniversity HonorsMcIntyre received her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Virginia Tech.24


Sporn Award for Excellence in Teaching Introductory SubjectsSuchitra SamantaSuchitra Samanta, instructor in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program (www.wgs.clahs.vt.edu) in the Department of Sociology and adjunct professor in the Departmentof Religion and Culture in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences (www.clahs.vt.edu), has received the 2012 Sporn Award for Excellence in Teaching IntroductorySubjects.A member of the Virginia Tech faculty since 2003, Samanta has established herself as anextremely popular and highly effective teacher. She teaches introductory courses, such asAsian Religions, Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies, and The Asian AmericanExperience.“Suchitra teaches these courses with great seriousness and aims for her students to gainan ‘insider’ perspective on these subjects,” said Peter Schmitthenner, associate professorand head of the Department of Religion and Culture. “Unlike many insiders who have atendency to romanticize their own culture, Suchitra conveys this perspective with a criticaleye with reference to comparable issues within the United States.”Samanta is noted for constantly working toward enhancing her teaching. She has beeninvolved with two different faculty study groups on teaching social justice and globalcitizenship. She developed several new courses; one in particular was in response tostudent demand.“Suchitra’s ability to foster critical thinking in courses where faculty routinely encounterstudent resistance makes her success as a teacher all the more remarkable and valuable,”said Barbara Ellen Smith, professor of women’s and gender studies.One student wrote, “Class discussions got me thinking in a way I never had before. Sheopened my mind and encouraged me to grow as an individual.”Another student wrote, “This class gave us the knowledge to engage diversity and fostercompassion for fellow students and community.”Samanta received two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.Assistant professor, Women’s and Gender StudiesProgram, Department of SociologyAdjunct professor, Department of Religion andCultureCollege of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences25


William E. Wine AwardJack WebsterJack Webster, professor of ecology in the College of Science (www.science.vt.edu), hasreceived the university’s 2012 William E. Wine Award.In his 36 years in the university’s Department of Biological Sciences (www.biol.vt.edu),Webster has established himself as an exceptional teacher-scholar.According to the department’s honorifics committee members and department headBrenda Winkel, students see that Webster fosters a high degree of student involvementin both teaching and research. “Most remarkable is that one in five students who havewritten comments on their evaluations over the years have noted that he is one of thebest teachers they have had at Virginia Tech,” Winkel said.Webster’s overall Student Perceptions of Teaching scores average 3.65 out of a possible4.0. He has received three departmental teaching awards and a Certificate of TeachingExcellence from the college.Since joining the Virginia Tech faculty in 1975, Webster has taught 11 different coursesranging from sophomore-level Principles of Ecology to a graduate-level course in ModelingStream Ecosystems.In 1978, Webster, along with Professor Fred Benfield, started the Stream Team to traingraduate students in the team approach to ecosystem research.Professor, ecologyCollege of Science“Jack’s graduate students are research leaders at universities, in industry, research foundations,and in government agencies, all of whom write letters that underscore similarattributes of exceptional advisor and mentor,” Winkel said.One former student, Laura Johnson, who currently manages a National Science Foundationproject as a post-doctoral research associate at Indiana University noted that Websterhad high expectations, which gave her and several others confidence and enthusiasm forstream ecology and conducting research.Webster is also a world-renowned researcher, having secured $6.3 million as a principalor co-principal investigator on grants, and another $32 million as a contributing memberof research teams involving several other universities. He has published 100 peerreviewedpapers and 35 book chapters. Two of his papers were published, one in Scienceand one in Nature, the leading journals in the scientific community.Webster received his bachelor’s degree from Wabash College and his Ph.D. from theUniversity of Georgia.26


William E. Wine AwardMitzi VernonMitzi Vernon, professor of industrial design in the College of Architecture andUrban Studies (www.caus.vt.edu), has received the university’s 2012 William E. WineAward.A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1995, Vernon has established herselfas an exceptional teacher and innovative design scholar. Her career spans 20 years ofpractice and teaching in industrial design, engineering, and architecture.Vernon has been the recipient of several patents and grants supporting her research inusing design to teach science to children. She is the principal investigator and originatorof the highly successful Fields Everywhere project, which involved faculty members andstudents from across the university, and has been awarded national and university grantstotalling $215,000. Vernon’s total research funding is $1 million.“Mitzi is highly regarded nationally and internationally as a top researcher, scholar, andeducator,” said Jack Davis, the Reynolds Metals Professor of Architecture and dean of thecollege. “She has won numerous awards, all of which are the result of her curriculum innovation,engagement of students in research, and professionalism and entrepreneurshipwithin the industry.”“My time in Mitzi’s studio was the most challenging, gratifying, and productive of myacademic career,” said Mars Mashburn, who earned a bachelor’s degree in industrialdesign in 2000 and is now director of product development for Tramontina USA Inc.“In her studios, one perceives a rigor and discipline that reflects on the commitment toquality that she shares with her students.”Vernon was awarded the 2010 Design Excellence in Scholarship Award in the School ofArchitecture + Design and a Favorite Faculty Award by the Office of Residence Life. Shewas named an Edward S. Diggs Teaching Scholar, Teacher of the Week, Scholar of theWeek, and a Dell ReGeneration International Design Scholar.Professor, industrial designCollege of Architecture and Urban Studies“In the classroom, Mitzi is brilliant,” said Richard M. Goff, associate professor andassistant department head for undergraduate programs in engineering education. “Sheis always well prepared, creative, insightful, and engaged in meaningful dialogue withstudents.”Vernon received her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro,a master’s degree from Stanford University, and a master of architecture degreefrom Virginia Tech.27


William E. Wine AwardBillie LepczykBillie Lepczyk, professor of dance in the Department of Theatre and Cinema (www.theatrecinema.vt.edu) in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences (www.clahs.vt.edu), has received the university’s 2012 William E. Wine Award.A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1983, Lepczyk has established herselfas an exceptional teacher-scholar. In addition to her academic background, she has had adance career appearing on stage, television, and motion pictures.“Billie’s passion for dance, heart for educating students, and sharing her expertise in bothacademic and community settings is exemplary,” said Kerry Redican, professor of healthsciences in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. “She is recognizedworldwide as an eminent dance educator and a pioneer in dance style analysis.”Her scholarship on dance style and movement analysis serves as required reading fordance majors at many institutions in the United States and throughout the world.Creative Dance is among the 13 courses Lepczyk has developed and taught at VirginiaTech. This course is part of the university’s Liberal Education Curriculum. Lepczyk hasbeen invited to give presentations and workshops on the creative dance curriculum atstate, national, and international conferences. As a summer Fellow in the university’sCenter for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, Lepczyk produced an educationalCD ROM called Creative Dance.In one of Lepczyk’s class evaluations, a student said, “I found it particularly exciting thatthe most important lesson in this class was to stay outside of the box.” Another noted, “Ididn’t even realize my own creativity until this class, and I think it has helped me feelmore comfortable brainstorming ideas for everything I do.”Professor of dance, Department of Theatre Artsand CinemaCollege of Liberal Arts and Human SciencesLepczyk’s average rating on Student Perception of Instruction evaluations is 3.78 out of apossible 4.0. She has developed 13 dance courses and a concentration in dance. She wasinstrumental in developing the Dance Company of Virginia Tech and the ContemporaryDance Ensemble.Psycology alumnus Daniel I. Smith said, “Dr. Lepczyk gave us the structure to really lookinto ourselves and pull out the creativity that we all have inside us, but rarely get thechance to explore. This class has been a life-changing experience.”Lepczyk received numerous recognitions, including National University Dance Educatorof the Year in 2009 and two Certificate of Teaching Excellence awards.Lepczyk has a master’s degree and an Ed.D. from Columbia University, where she was aTeacher’s College Fellow. She is a Fellow of the International Council of KinetographyLaban and also the Research Consortium of the American Alliance of Health, PhysicalEducation, Recreation, and Dance.28


XCaliber Award: Individualexcellence as an individual involved in teaching with technologyFrancis QuekFrancis Quek, professor of computer science in the College of Engineering (www.eng.vt.edu) and Fellow of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (www.icat.vt.edu), has received the university’s 2012 XCaliber Award for excellence as an individualinvolved in teaching with technology.Quek received the award in recognition of his contributions to technology-assisted learningin Physical Computing for Computer Scientists, a class for graduate students withconsiderable knowledge and expertise in broad areas of computing.Quek’s class encourages students to leverage as much of their prior knowledge as possiblewhile they acquire new skills in rapid prototyping in electronics and physical-objectconstruction. He creates an environment where students do not see the physical world asa barrier to computing, but rather see opportunities to innovate hardware and softwaresolutions in relation to the physical world.The solutions students pursue are a combination of their prior knowledge along withrapid prototyping skills acquired through learning activities in class.In the course, students serve as apprentices to their own learning. They engage in aseries of projects and provide instruction and information as subjects are encounteredin the projects. After starting with small projects as background, students are ultimatelyresponsible for two major projects that they propose and develop in teams of two orthree people each. The professor provides hands-on help as needed, and students discussprojects in class so that all may benefit from sharing problems and solutions.Example projects include a digital sound sequencer, light-emitting diodes, and a multisensorplush toy.“Although I had little background in electrical engineering, my experience of the coursewas very positive,” said Sharon Chu, graduate student in computer science. “I particularlyenjoyed the fact that the focus of the class was not on grades, but on actually learningto build computationally enhanced artifacts, which could help us in our research.”Professor, computer scienceFellow, Institute for Creativity, Arts, andTechnologyCollege of EngineeringQuek received his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and Ph.D. from the University ofMichigan.29


XCaliber Award: GROUPexcellence as a group involved withtechnology-assisted teachingTaking inspiration from a blind Virginia Tech student enrolled in multivariatecalculus, a four-member team developed technology that helped a visuallyimpaired student understand the effects of complex mathematical formulas. As aresult, the team has received the university’s 2012 XCaliber Award for excellence asa group involved with technology-assisted teaching.Members of the award-winning team include Christopher Williams, assistantprofessor of mechanical engineering and engineering education, College of Engineering(www.eng.vt.edu); Austin Amaya of Urbana, Ill., doctoral student, mathematics,College of Science (www.science.vt.edu); Ethan Groves of Middletown,Va., junior, computer engineering, College of Engineering; and Jacob Moore ofBlacksburg, Va., doctoral student, engineering education, College of Engineering.From left: Ethan Groves, Austin Amaya, ChristopherWilliams, and Jacob Moore.The team wanted to develop a method of displaying a wide range of complicatedmathematical objects in a tactile way and chose 3-D printing as the means. Thisprinting is capable of quickly fabricating complex 3-D shapes layer-by-layer froma digital representation of a physical model. The team created 3-D representationsof mathematical functions using mathematical modeling and computer aided draftingsoftware. The resulting representations are saved in a standardized file format,which can allow for a broad distribution of the created models to other students viaemail.This technology is capable of quickly fabricating complex 3-D shapes, uses a digitalrepresentation of physical models that interfaces well with existing mathematicalmodeling software, is easy to operate, and has a standardized file format that allowsfor broad distribution of created models via email to other students.With continuous feedback from Williams and Chelsea Cook of Newport News,Va., a sophomore physics major in the College of Science, the team identified distincteducational needs to be addressed and developed types of models accordingly.By understanding the common surfaces students needed to know and particularsurfaces used in class and for homework, the team was able to create tactile modelsof those surfaces for the visually impaired student to carry and use as needed.“Since I consider myself primarily a tactile learner, multivariate calculus was difficultat first because I had no physical experience with the shapes and surfaces the classwas discussing,” said Cook, who is blind. “This is why having these models was socrucial.”Where sighted students would receive figures or graphs to explore, understand,and describe or use, the visually impaired student used a tactile model to explorefor understanding and visualizing the meaning of complex mathematics with herfingers. Such tactile 3-D models may also aid learning in sighted students who havedifficulties visualizing abstract geometries from 2-D representations.30


XCaliber Award: GROUPexcellence in creating and applyingtechnologies on a large-scale team projectA five-member team made up of faculty members from three different collegeshas received the 2012 XCaliber Award for excellence as a group involvedwith technology-assisted teaching.Members of the award-winning team include Eloise Coupey, associate professorof marketing, Pamplin College of Business (www.pamplin.vt.edu); EdwardDorsa, associate professor in the School of Architecture + Design (http://archdesign.vt.edu),College of Architecture and Urban Studies (www.caus.vt.edu);Ronald Kemnitzer, professor of industrial design, School of Architecture +Design, College of Architecture and Urban Studies; Thomas Martin, associateprofessor of electrical and computer engineering, College of Engineering (www.eng.vt.edu); and Lisa McNair, associate professor of engineering education,College of Engineering.The team was recognized for its work in the Interdisciplinary Product DevelopmentStudio. The group was further commended for designing and developinglearning activities involving smart objects, a phenomenon that is estimated to beseveral years away from being adopted within the industry.From left: Tom Martin, Eloise Coupey, Ed Dorsa, RonKemnitzer, and Lisa McNairThe Interdisciplinary Product Development Studio is a team-based experience inpervasive computing, where smart devices blend seamlessly, both physically andcognitively, with the user’s environment. Examples of student projects includedesigning dorm rooms to better support students with disabilities, creatinginnovative helmets for firefighters, and developing diabetes management productsfor children and their caregivers. The team has received a grant from theNational Science Foundation to support and assess the course.Students practice 21st-century skills, such as interdisciplinary teaming, usercentereddesign, and product placement, organized around project-based learningactivities in a studio setting. The open-ended projects create situations where,before solving a problem, students must determine the “right” problem to solve.The faculty team has developed a learning environment that promotes collaborationand a pedagogical model that enables interdisciplinary approaches to designproblems. Faculty team members act as facilitators to the students as they workin self-formed and self-managed teams.31


Staff career achievementPatricia BakerPatricia Baker, retired fiscal technician in the Department of Engineering Scienceand Mechanics (www.esm.vt.edu) in the College of Engineering (www.eng.vt.edu), hasreceived the 2012 Staff Career Achievement Award. Baker retired in 2011 after 22 yearsof service to the university.PatriciaBakerDuring her tenure, Baker was known for her deep commitment to self-improvement andprofessional development. She began in the department as a receptionist and retired asfiscal technician, an illustration of her dedication to lifelong learning.In 1994, Baker was the only staff member of the department who was familiar withMicrosoft Word. She increased her professional skills with training from the controller’soffice, the Office of Sponsored Programs, and an Office Software Skills training program.When the department was a volunteer pilot group for the implementation of HokieMart,Baker served as a trainer, teaching 50 faculty and staff in its use.“Pat was a gem to have on our team,” said one of her nominators. “She consistentlyperformed her duties and exceeded what was expected. She often helped other staffmembers with unexpected deadlines and did not hesitate to help out during the absenceof other staff. She served as a dedicated employee who worked extra hours to get the jobcompleted, not because she was asked to but because she was concerned that a deadlinemight not be met.”Retired fiscal technician in the Department ofEngineering Science and MechanicsCollege of EngineeringBaker served on the department’s strategic planning committee in 2004 and brought aunique staff-oriented perspective to the vision and planning of the task. She was a memberof the department’s disaster preparedness committee and participated in numerousactivities to enhance the department’s image.“During my 33 years of academic life at two land-grant universities, I have not seen afiscal technician more capable than Pat Baker,” said Romesh Batra, Clifton C. GarvinProfessor of Engineering Science and Mechanics. “Even though her workload increased,as my colleagues were very fortunate to attract considerable funding from a variety ofsources, she pleasantly and efficiently took over the additional work.”32


Staff career achievementSandra CriggerSandra Crigger, retired program support technician in the Department of Management(www.management.pamplin.vt.edu) in the Pamplin College of Business (www.pamplin.vt.edu), has received the 2012 Staff Career Achievement Award. Crigger retiredin 2012 after 36 years of service to the university.Prior to joining the department, Crigger was employed in electrical engineering, geosciences,and materials engineering. She began her tenure in the management departmentin 1984 and served as administrative assistant for four department heads. As one nominatorsaid, “Sandy was unquestionably the rock that each department head relied on forher loyalty, dedication, and expertise.”“Sandy took pride in continuously developing her skills, so that she was, in all the timethat we knew her, a walking compendium of policies and procedures,” another nominatorsaid.SandraCriggerIn 1988, Crigger completed the New River Community College supervisory developmentcurriculum and was awarded the Career Studies Certificate, graduating with aperfect grade point average of 4.0. She also earned a Virginia Tech Certificate in OfficeSoftware Skills. Crigger received the President’s Award for Excellence in 1997 and thedepartment’s Staff Excellence Award in 2011.In addition to her duties as administrative assistant, Crigger volunteered to take on therole of chief academic advisor in the department in 2005. At the college level, Criggervolunteered to assist with new student summer orientation, was a member of the PamplinAdvising Forum, and in 2009, she received the Provost’s Advising Excellence Award.“When Sandy retired, she left a major void in our department,” a nominator said. “Shewas universally admired and respected for her graciousness, her knowledge, and herexpertise. She was a wonderful role model for all of our staff.”Retired program support technician in theDepartment of ManagementPamplin College of Business33


Staff career achievementEmily OliverEmily Oliver, retired staff assistant in the dean’s office in the College of Liberal Artsand Human Sciences (www.clahs.vt.edu), has received the 2012 Staff Career AchievementAward. Oliver retired in 2011 after 38 years of service to the college.During her tenure, Oliver served five deans, a faculty body that grew from 100 membersto more than 400 members, and a staff body that grew from 25 members to more than100 members. “Her adaptability was remarkable,” one nominator said. “She faced allthese changes with good humor and commitment.”“Her work was characterized by its quality, work ethic, and devotion to the university,” accordingto another of her nominators. “She was able to sustain this level of performancebecause she took such professional pride in her college being considered an exemplaryuniversity citizen.”Another comment said, “Emily was respected among staff, faculty, and administrators ofthe college and across colleges and took the lead to be office manager and planner. Shethoroughly understood the mission of the college and of the office she served. She wasthe front door to the dean’s office and created an appropriate environment of helpfulnessfor students, faculty members, and administration of the university.”Retired staff assistantDean’s office in the College of Liberal Arts andHuman SciencesOne of Oliver’s many examples of outstanding performance over the years was the wayshe approached the tenure and promotion process. Her wealth of information on howthe process worked and what documentation was required at each level was infinite. Oliver’sfiles and advice on the university procedures served as valuable resources to the deanand committee chair each year to ensure that there were no procedural issues betweenreview levels.Another example of Oliver’s value to the college and university was her demeanor andperformance during and after April 16, 2007.“Her strength and compassion supported the entire college community and impactedfamilies in a way that gave all comfort and highlighted the fact that the college wasall about the human experience and the inextricably important value that it placed onhumanity,” a nominator said.34


Staff career achievementTracey KeisterTracey Keister, retired office manager in the Department of Materials Science andEngineering (www2.mse.vt.edu) in the College of Engineering (www.eng.vt.edu), hasreceived the 2012 Staff Career Achievement Award. Keister retired in 2011 after 11 yearsof service to the department.Keister joined the department in 1999 after she retired from the U.S. Navy, where sheserved for more than 20 years. In the nearly 12 years that Keister worked in the department,she was an invaluable member of its operations.“Tracey’s skills in communication and organization reflected her military background andallowed her to multitask effectively, no matter with whom she was working,” said onenominator. “Her professionalism always showed, ensuring that everyone’s needs were metduring their short visits or years of study.”During her tenure, Keister was in contact with any group or individual with which thedepartment collaborated, coordinated, or responded to for any reason. She served aschair of the College Association for Staff Engineering.“As with everything else she did, her performance in this position was exemplary, exhibitingthe highest level of professionalism and courtesy toward her peers,” another nominatorsaid.Keister was in charge of such details as textbook ordering and coordinating with facultyand staff to complete required university documentation. She also coordinated visits bydignitaries, seminar speakers, advocacy board members, international students, and administrators.She worked closely with the department head, ensuring that the myriad ofdocumentation and meeting coordination were handled with ease. She also ensured thatstudents, faculty members, and visitors were given the appropriate time and attention ofthe department head and additional staff.Retired office manager in the Department of MaterialsScience and EngineeringCollege of Engineering“As chair of the department’s advisory board, I have often called upon Tracey for logisticaland administrative support for our annual board meeting,” said Warren White, chair ofthe department’s external advisory board. “From managing hotel accommodations tohelping with the difficult task of coordinating the scheduling needs of 10 or more attendeesat each meeting, I have been supported as if Tracey were my office manager. I amproud of the high percentage of attendance at these board meetings, and I am convincedthat, without the support of Tracey and her team, they would not have been as successfulas they were.”35


Staff career achievementMargaret ZelinskiMargaret Zelinski, retired business manager for the Department of Industrial andSystems Engineering (www.ise.vt.edu) in the College of Engineering (www.eng.vt.edu),has received the 2012 Staff Career Achievement Award. Zelinski retired in 2011 after 15years of service to the university.As business manager, Zelinski managed the department’s budget and developed monthlyforecasts of income and expenditures. She put systems in place to provide high-qualityinformation in flexible formats and managed all personnel, payroll, and visa activitieswith impeccable accuracy and legal compliance.Additionally, Zelinski handled all general accounting functions for the department andwas often lauded for her prompt billing and payments. She managed all departmentalscholarships, fellowships, and foundation accounts, as well as all budget developmentand project expenditures for funded grants in the department.“In all these roles, her performance was exemplary,” one nominator said. “As a businessmanager, a highly professional staff member, and a person, there is nobody better thanMargie Zelinski.”Prior to joining the department, Zelinski worked in University Development (www.givingto.vt.edu), where she served as the director of gift accounting and assistant to thevice president.Retired business manager for the Department ofIndustrial and Systems EngineeringCollege of Engineering36


Message fromAlumni RelationsSince the 1950s, when the Alumni Association created the firstfaculty excellence awards, Virginia Tech alumni have proudly helpedto recognize faculty and staff members whose exceptional performanceenhances and contributes to the university’s three-part missionof learning, discovery, and engagement. I join with our 220,000living alumni in commending these notable awardees for their hardwork and achievements.Congratulations to our 2011-12faculty and staff award winners.Thomas C. Tillar Jr.Vice President for Alumni RelationsVirginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, national origin, politicalaffiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Anyone having questions concerning discrimination or accessibility should contactthe Office for Equity and Access.

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