Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Twenty-one faculty and staff members are being honored with the University of Iowa’s 2020 Faculty and Staff Awards. A virtual celebration is being planned for spring.  

Also honored will be recipients of the 2019 Regents Award for Faculty and Staff Excellence, for whom an event planned in spring 2020 was canceled due to COVID-19. The 2020 Regents Awards will be celebrated at the meeting of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, in June.

Read more about the recipients of these awards:

Board of Regents Faculty and Staff Excellence Awards

2020 Faculty and Staff Awards

  • David J. Skorton Award for Staff Excellence in Service
  • The University of Iowa Outstanding Staff Award
  • Richard E. Gibson Merit Staff Award for Innovation and Excellence in Customer Service
  • The Lola Lopes Award for Undergraduate Student Advocacy
  • President and Provost Award for Teaching Excellence
  • James Van Allen Natural Sciences Fellowship
  • Michael J. Brody Award for Faculty Excellence in Service

Board of Regents Staff Excellence Award

Heath A. Davis, Institute for Clinical and Translational Science

heath davis

Davis is an assistant director for biomedical informatics in the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science. They have been a leader in the development and application of data science tools to facilitate and streamline clinical research at UI. Heath has served as a service lead, technical lead, and/or project lead on numerous initiatives that have had a positive impact on the university and state, while enhancing the university’s research reputation. The Research Data Capture (REDCap) service, which provides tools, support, and training for research teams to securely capture and manage research data, is an example of those tools in action. The tools also have been used in multiple statewide and nationwide data-collection projects. Most recently, Davis led more than 50 projects to support COVID-19-related research. They are an active member of the university community and has served on Staff Council as well as in a variety of other service roles.

Trevor J. Glanz, Human Resources

trevor glanz

Glanz is the senior director of compensation and classification and human resources data management. Glanz is a proven leader who is dedicated to developing and implementing solutions to improve effectiveness of his unit. He was instrumental in the redesign project for the UI’s compensation and classification system and served as an advisor for Iowa State University’s P&S classification and compensation redesign project. He frequently acts as a consultant for colleagues in the Board of Regents office, at Iowa’s other public universities, and in the Big Ten. He led the overall strategy for compensation and classification at the UI, providing expertise in the continued development of market-calibrated pay structures consistent with university strategic goals while balancing compliance obligations across multiple state and federal requirements. Recently, Glanz provided his expertise in the development of a suite of HR data dashboards, a significant step in moving the HR community toward a more data-driven culture.

Michael A. Hovland, Office of Enrollment Management


Hovland is the director of enrollment management data analytics. Before his arrival at the UI in 2014, there was no unit responsible for enrollment analytics. In a short time, he built a fully functional unit that conducts enrollment research, develops predictive modeling approaches to make enrollment efforts more targeted and efficient, and is responsible for prospect development to ensure enrollment success with future classes. His unit pioneered a unique student statistician program through which highly talented and motivated undergraduate students in math and statistics do professional-level work alongside fulltime staff. Those students comprise half the total data team. In collaboration with the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council, he co-leads a national effort to standardize admissions data for the many vendors that provide student search data to colleges and universities. Finally, he initiated the first Big Ten Data Analytics interest group that now meets annually at the Big Ten Admissions Meeting.

Brianna M. Marcelo, Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DDEI)


Marcelo is the director of diversity resources within DDEI and oversees training and educational programs related to diversity, equity, and inclusion at Iowa. She was instrumental in developing the Building University of Iowa Leadership for Diversity (BUILD) program that has provided professional development for faculty, staff, students, and community members across the state. She directs the UI’s participation in the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI), a nonprofit leadership training organization, and she is a founding member of the NCBI Heartland Coalition, a network of diversity educators and trainers from the UI, the Medical College of Wisconsin, and the University of Illinois–Springfield. Among new initiatives she has spearheaded are I.C. (Iowa City) Better Bridges, a training program for downtown Iowa City store owners to address concerns voiced by students of color; the establishment of the Pan Asian Council; and efforts to build safer and more trusting relationships with law enforcement.

David F. McCartney, University Archives

david mccartney

McCartney is a dedicated archivist ensuring access to University of Iowa history and highlighting voices that are underrepresented in the archives. McCartney has developed relationships across campus, working with classes or faculty in every department. After publishing an award-winning article on the life of UI student Stephen Smith, a young man from a small Iowa town who found his voice through civil rights activism in the 1960s, McCartney organized the Historical Iowa Civil Rights Network to bring together related repositories and collections from across the state. He also established the Stephen Lynn Smith Memorial Scholarship for Social Justice. He has served as a consultant for many smaller archives and libraries in Iowa and volunteers with smaller nonprofit organizations. He has held many positions in the Midwest Archives Conference, including president, and makes invaluable contributions to the Big Ten Academic Alliance University Archivist Group and the Consortium of Iowa Archivists.

Jennifer R. Teitle, Graduate College

jen teitle

Teitle is the assistant dean for graduate development and postdoctoral affairs in the Graduate College. She has been instrumental in constructing a robust, student-centered professional-development program for graduate and professional students that is recognized as a model for other institutions across the country. She led initiatives that include working with campus partners to improve graduate and postdoctoral mentoring, and building collaborations across colleges to increase the number of national awards and fellowships won by UI graduate students. She organizes the Graduate College’s Open Doors career-development events, which connect alumni working in diverse careers with current students. She also was instrumental in developing the popular Three Minute Thesis event, which helps students learn to speak effectively about their research to nonspecialist audiences. Committed to inclusivity, she has been a key leader for the Summer Research Opportunity Program for underrepresented undergraduates. She has collaborated to bring multiple major educational grants to campus. 

David J. Skorton Award for Staff Excellence in Service

Karisa Harland, Department of Emergency Medicine

karisa harland

Harland is an associate research scientist and director of research operations in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She has been instrumental in building a robust and productive clinical research program. Under her leadership, the department saw a 350% increase in annual research productivity over a five-year period. An accomplished public health researcher in the field of rural health and injury prevention, she also has been involved in education, launching the Emergency Department Resident Research Program (through which physician trainees complete research projects as part of a structured program) and integrating epidemiology PhD students into the department’s research analysis group.  She was recently selected director of the Data Coordinating Center for Project COVERED, a $5.4 million CDC-funded project to understand factors associated with health care worker acquisition of COVID-19.  Attracting this project was prestigious for the UI and is a testament to the infrastructure Harland has built.

John R. Laverty, Office of Enrollment Management Data Analytics

john laverty

Laverty is senior associate director in the Office of Enrollment Management. His extensive record of service to the university includes representing professional and scientific staff for six years as a member of UI Staff Council (UISC), during which he served on or chaired numerous committees and served as president of UISC in 2017–18. His leadership accomplishments during his UISC tenure include spearheading the Volunteer Time Release Policy, which codified the institution’s commitment to volunteerism by staff. He has served on the Funded Retirement and Insurance Committee, the Path Forward Steering Committee, and the Faculty and Staff Budget Committee. Outside of the university, he has a long history of involvement with public schools, including being elected to three four-year terms on the Board of Education for the Cedar Rapids Community School District, with four years as president.

The University of Iowa Outstanding Staff Award

Alissa F. Doobay, Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development

alissa doobay

Doobay is a licensed psychologist, supervisor of psychological services, and a nationally renowned advocate for gifted and twice-exceptional students (students who are both gifted and impacted by an area of disability). She is a highly sought-after speaker for professional conferences locally and nationally, including those hosted by the Iowa Talented and Gifted Association and the National Association for Gifted Children. As senior psychologist at Belin-Blank’s Assessment and Counseling Clinic, she has trained and mentored countless graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in counseling and school psychology, and her legacy already includes a national network of psychologists who are well-prepared to meet the needs of gifted and twice-exceptional students. She is a longtime member of the UI’s ASD Committee, which seeks to better understand and improve the experiences of UI students who identify as autistic or as on the autism spectrum.

Lisa R. DuBrava, College of Pharmacy

lisa dubrava

DuBrava, an assessment and accreditation manager, was an important author of the College of Pharmacy’s comprehensive assessment plan and made extraordinary contributions to improving the use of technology tools, data collection and analysis, and other initiatives supporting the PharmD program. Aside from overseeing day-to-day assessment and accreditation efforts and supporting the assessment committee, DuBrava manages the program’s learning portfolio courses. With advanced expertise, she is responsible for implementing, administrating, or supporting the college’s assessment and curriculum tools, such as ExamSoft, a system to deliver secure examinations electronically and provide assessment data; eValue, used to schedule student experiential rotations, track student co-curricular hours, and evaluate students, preceptors, courses, and instructors; and ifolio, a system through which students document academic and professional development. Most notably, DuBrava conceptualized and worked with information technology colleagues to develop NewView™, a revolutionary curriculum-mapping tool. DuBrava has delivered national presentations and published regarding her assessment efforts.  

Barbara P. Pooley, English-Philosophy Building

barbara pooley

Pooley is an administrative services administrator in the English-Philosophy Building (EPB) and works with the three academic units within the building: English, philosophy, and rhetoric. She supervises or works closely with 15 staff members and handles personnel matters for more than 100 faculty and graduate teaching assistants. Among her many highly valued skills and talents are her problem-solving ability, her expertise in accounting, her supportiveness as a supervisor, and her calm flexibility in dealing with challenges such as those presented by the pandemic. She has a reputation for being prepared for anything, and often prevents problems from happening before they occur. She has worked creatively to make EPB more welcoming and navigable for its many users, including the thousands of students who pass through daily (in non-COVID-19 times). Her efforts have helped build a strong sense of community among faculty and staff in the building.

Eric R. Rossow, Division of Student Life

eric rossow

Rossow is senior advisor to both the vice president for student life (VPSL) and the associate vice president and dean of students (DOS). During a time of transition, he has enthusiastically taken on additional responsibilities and worked tirelessly to ensure consistent and efficient operations. His wide-ranging duties include past supervision of the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU) administrative office and Welcome Center as well as oversight of numerous projects and initiatives for the IMU, DOS, and VPSL. These include student success initiatives, veteran services programs, student organization support, staff development, and managing large events on campus, such as political candidate and elected official visits and public demonstrations. He is involved with strategic planning, assessment, and managing policy revisions. A former member of student government, he has assisted the DOS and VPSL in working effectively with student leaders. He helped form the inaugural Dean of Students Advisory Board, ensuring the board members represent a variety of student identities and experiences.

Jan C. Waterhouse, Human Resources

jan waterhouse

Waterhouse is the senior human resources (HR) director for policy and compliance and has a record of excelling in multiple roles on campus. She has worked in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity as a compliance officer and Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator; in the College of Nursing as assistant dean for finance and operations; and in the College of Engineering as finance director and senior HR director. Her current responsibilities include leadership of Faculty and Staff Disability Services, Employee and Labor Relations, and Faculty and Staff Immigration Services. She assumed leadership of the Path to Distinction pilot program—an Office of the Provost initiative to advance diversity and equity in faculty search and hiring processes—at a critical time, and has led the program to positive results. She is a member of the Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT) Planning Committee and leads a CIMT Planning Team workgroup to address HR issues related to COVID-19 to plan for the fall 2020 semester.

Xin Zhang, Division of Student Life

xin xhang

Zhang, an application developer, has created online solutions that allow the university to better serve staff and students. He is dedicated to outstanding service, creative problem-solving, and collaboration.  Examples of his work include critical contributions to the housing-assignment process and development of a system for students to apply for (and staff to review and award) scholarships. More recently, he developed an online ordering service for UI Dining to accommodate students remaining on campus after courses moved online during the spring 2020 semester because of COVID-19. He then developed a second application that allows UI Dining to respond to a potential emergency closure of Burge Market Place without a break in service or an increase in COVID-19 exposure for students. He addressed modification requests from multiple contributors and went live with both applications within three weeks this spring.

Richard E. Gibson Merit Staff Award for Innovation and Excellence in Customer Service

Christopher Pestalozzi, Department of Physics and Astronomy

christopher pestalozzi

Pestalozzi is a machinist who has demonstrated creativity and innovation in his work with the department’s Van Allen Observatory. The observatory, located on the roof of Van Allen Hall, serves students in astronomy labs, is used to test instruments that will be deployed at the Iowa Robotic Observatory in Arizona, and welcomes many individuals and groups that visit to tour and observe the facility each semester. When a lightning strike in August 2020 rendered the electronics of the telescope mount and dome inoperable, he quickly took ownership of the project, going above and beyond to repair and vastly improve the process. He also took the initiative to aid in additional lightning strike-recovery efforts. Because of Pestalozzi’s high-quality, self-motivated work, the observatory is once again able to serve students and the public.

Barbara J. Simon, Human Resources


Simon is a secretary in the human resources organizational development department and oversees student employees for University Human Resources (UHR). Her responsibilities range from recruiting, hiring, and onboarding student employees to managing, recognizing and, rewarding their performance to coaching and launching them into careers after college. Because of her care and mentorship, most student employees stay in contact with the department for years after they graduate. Simon serves as a web liaison for several departments within UHR and was a member of the core team that redesigned and relaunched the UHR website in 2019. She became an essential resource for training, troubleshooting, and support and continues to drive innovation. As program administrator for UI Tuition Assistance and the Mary Jo Small Professional Development Program, and provider of program support for several other programs, Simon helps ensure UHR provides high-quality programs in the most efficient and effective way possible.

The Lola Lopes Award for Undergraduate Student Advocacy

Claudia Gabriela Rivera, Tippie College of Business Undergraduate Program Office

gabriela rivera

Rivera, associate director for diversity, equity and inclusion, formerly served as multicultural specialist in the Center for Diversity and Enrichment (CDE). In the CDE, she helped more than 1,000 students transition successfully to college through her leadership of the Iowa Edge and Storm Lake Scholars programs, which bring new first-year underrepresented minority and first-generation students onto campus one week early for intensive academic preparation. At Tippie, she co-directs the Tippie Gateway program that focuses on recruiting populations underrepresented in business. She also created the BizEdge Mentoring Program, which connects pre-business and business students of color and first-generation students in Tippie with peer mentors, faculty, and staff. Since 2014, she has advised the Alpha Upsilon Chapter of Lambda Theta Nu Sorority and has been instrumental in planning the chapter’s yearly Latina Youth Leadership Conference for middle school students from surrounding communities.

President and Provost Award for Teaching Excellence

Nancy Abram, Tippie College of Business

nancy abram

Abram is an associate professor of practice in the Tippie College of Business Department of Marketing. She has taught both at the undergraduate level and in the MBA program. She regularly delivers the large course Introduction to Marketing Strategy, for which she was the first to develop an online format. She was instrumental in a major restructuring of the department’s undergraduate program curriculum. Passionate about mentoring for career preparation, she works actively to promote and enable student participation in co-curricular activities such as professional trips and workshops. She further supports undergraduate student success through her role on the collegiate Teaching and Learning Committee. As faculty advisor for two student organizations and mentor for the Women in Business student organization, she received the department’s Wendell A. Smith Teaching Award in 2016–17, was selected Faculty of the Year by the collegiate student senate in 2017–18, and received the Collegiate Teaching Award in 2018–19.  

Stella Burch Elias, College of Law

stella burch elias

Elias, a professor and Chancellor William Gardiner Hammond Fellow in Law, teaches large-enrollment core law courses such as Civil Procedure, in which she uses innovative approaches to teach students foundational legal doctrine and how to think critically about the law and to promote justice for all. She also teaches upper-level courses on complex topics, such as her seminar Advanced Immigration Law and Policy, for which she created a curriculum that enables students to make a real-world difference by working on legal policy matters for community clients. She directs the college’s London study abroad program and was critical to its reconceptualization as a two-week winter session program, which is now among the college’s most sought-after learning opportunities. A dedicated mentor and advisor, she prioritizes building meaningful relationships with her students to support their success. She received the university’s James N. Murray Faculty Award in 2015 and the Collegiate Teaching Award in 2018.

Julie Kleinschmit, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

julia kleinschmit

Kleinschmit is a clinical associate professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ School of Social Work. She has served as coordinator of the Sioux City Part-Time Master of Social Work (MSW) program since 1999. She directed the MSW program from 2015 to 2018, overseeing four sites across the state, and in 2017 she led development of the university’s online MSW program, which launched in 2018 with her as coordinator. To serve students who are primarily adult learners with families and full-time jobs, Kleinschmit pioneered innovative teaching solutions involving online and flipped hybrid courses, as well as ways of connecting students around the state with one another. She also has mentored more than 130 individual student projects. She is nationally recognized for her work with rural communities and has become a national leader in the development of high-quality online programming for social work education. She is currently focused on anti-racist social work and encouraging social workers to take self-care seriously.

Suresh M.L. Raghavan, College of Engineering

suresh raghavan

Raghavan, a professor of biomedical engineering, teaches courses to all levels of engineering students. Student feedback speaks to his highly effective teaching style and his emphasis on deeper understanding of concepts. He provides research opportunities and mentoring to students and medical fellows in his research lab, including many undergraduate students who have continued their education in graduate schools and pursue research careers. Deeply committed to students’ career success, he works diligently to establish and maintain industry relationships that continue to provide students with development opportunities. As an active leader in the American Society of Mechanical Engineering Bioengineering Division, Raghavan has promoted student success at the national level through his efforts to introduce innovative programs that provide undergraduate and graduate engineering students across the country with valuable career-exploration activities and connect employers with students. He is actively engaged with the Fulbright community in the state of Iowa.

James Van Allen Natural Sciences Fellowship

Andrew Forbes, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

andrew forbes

Forbes, an associate professor in biology, studies the origins and maintenance of insect diversity. With the Van Allen Fellowship, he will use specialist insects to track the “lost” histories of crop plants that may have been domesticated in North America and later forgotten—a potentially groundbreaking study of plant-insect coevolution, archaeology, and anthropology. Forbes’s cutting-edge, interdisciplinary science has been publicized in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Science, and NPR’s Weekend Edition, among others. He engages undergraduate and graduate students in his research and directs a National Science Foundation-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program focused on teaching undergraduates how to do evolutionary research. With the current project, he hopes to recruit Native American STEM students who have an interest in navigating the nexus between basic science and their own ancestry and cultural histories.

Michael J. Brody Award for Faculty Excellence in Service

Lan Samantha Chang, Iowa Writers’ Workshop

lan samantha chang

Chang, the Elizabeth M. Stanley Professor of the Arts and director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, has worked tirelessly to improve the workshop to benefit students, faculty, the university, Iowa City, and 21st century American literature. She has brought writers of color, LGBTQ+ writers, and international writers to the workshop, transforming it into an inclusive community that reflects the diversity of America and the world. Her efforts were recognized with the Diversity Catalyst Award in 2016. She helped establish an ambitious teaching-training program for new teaching assistants, has created multiple new campus partnerships, and is dedicated to building community as a vital part of students’ and writers’ success. Through unprecedented work in fundraising and development, she has more than tripled the Workshop’s endowment and worked to ensure that all students in the program are fully funded and have access to various postgraduate opportunities.

Usha Mallik, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

usha mallik

Mallik, a professor of physics and astronomy, has contributed immeasurably to the department, college, university, and broader community with extensive service activities. Her commitment to building community in her department is evident in her committee work, which has included serving multiple times on key departmental committees and in her dedication as a mentor to graduate students and junior faculty members. She has been an invaluable member of many college- and university-wide committees, including the CLAS Educational Policy and Curriculum Committee, Graduate College Council, Faculty Council, and Faculty Senate. She is a passionate advocate for public engagement, the promotion of science, and has been a leader in efforts to bring engaging science programs to K-12 students and their families. She is active in the high energy physics community, leading the mentoring of young U.S. newcomers to CERN (the European organization for nuclear research), and engaging in outreach to enhance the role of women in physics.

Kembrew McLeod, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

kembrew mcleod

McLeod, Professor and DEO of Communication Studies, has a long record of putting his media expertise and talents into the service of the community. He is a founding board member of FilmScene, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the cultural vitality of the Iowa City area and helped facilitate its productive partnership with the UI Bijou Film Board. As former chair of FilmScene’s Education Committee, he conceived and launched the highly successful animation camp, and created a series of evening film courses for adult community members. He has served as faculty advisor for the student-run radio station KRUI since 2001 and has assisted in building stronger ties with the Iowa City community. Additionally, he served on the UI Lecture Committee for six years and has continued to collaborate with the committee to bring a diverse range of speakers to campus.

Todd Pettys, College of Law

Todd Pettys.jpg

Pettys, a professor and H. Blair and Joan V. White Chair in Civil Litigation, has chaired every major collegiate committee at least once and served as associate dean for faculty for five years. In the latter role, he co-created the Iowa Legal Studies Workshop, one of many contributions to support and mentor faculty. For many years, he served as faculty advisor to the student-edited Iowa Law Review, and spearheaded curricular reform that included transforming the college’s writing program into the new Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research program. His service to the university includes membership in the Faculty Senate and the Strategic Plan Development Group. An expert on the Iowa Constitution, Pettys has spoken to civic groups around the state and is a leader in guiding students, administrators, public officials, and citizens through case law related to free speech in higher education.

Steven Ungar, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

steven ungar

Ungar, a professor of cinematic arts, has provided extraordinary service to the university, including as departmental executive officer or chief administrator for five departments and one major program. Through this service, he has played a vital role in the hiring and advancement of generations of junior colleagues and the growth of innovative curricular programs. He frequently agrees to take on these responsibilities at times of challenge or crisis. He stepped in as interim director of the International Writing Program at a crucial moment when it was threatened with closure, and worked tirelessly to sustain it. In his most recent leadership role as interim departmental executive officer of cinematic arts, he spearheaded the collaborative effort to create a new Bachelor of Arts degree in screenwriting arts.  He has influenced the careers of countless scholars through his generous dedication to team building and mentoring.