Thursday, October 13, 2022

Thirty University of Iowa faculty and staff members were honored with the UI’s 2022 Faculty and Staff Awards for achievements ranging from excellence in service to leadership in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Read more about the recipients of these awards:

  • David J. Skorton Award for Staff Excellence in Service to the University of Iowa
  • The University of Iowa Outstanding Staff Award
  • Richard E. Gibson Merit Staff Award for Innovation and Excellence in Customer Service
  • Staff Award for Distinguished Leadership in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • James Van Allen Natural Science Fellowship
  • James N. Murray Faculty Award
  • M.L. Huit Faculty Award
  • Hubbard-Walder Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • Michael J. Brody Award for Faculty Excellence in Service

The following awards given at the ceremony were previously announced:

David J. Skorton Award for Staff Excellence in Service to the University of Iowa

Eric Rossow, Division of Student Life

Eric Rossow headshot
Eric Rossow

Eric Rossow is senior advisor for both the vice president and dean of students in the Division of Student Life. Through his commitment to collaboration, he has made vital contributions to improving policy and practices that are essential to a positive and equitable experience for students, faculty, and staff. He was instrumental in review of the free speech policy, creation of First Amendment training for campus, and development of the Free Speech at Iowa website. He collaborated to revise the Student Organization Review Committee process. He worked with others to implement welcome events for the class of 2024, and to find creative ways to celebrate graduates when in-person commencement wasn’t an option due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a member of the 175th University of Iowa anniversary committee, he found ways for students to be more prominently represented. He also worked purposefully to support the First Gen Hawks initiative by identifying high-quality employment opportunities for participating students.

Catherine Fairfield, Department of Emergency Medicine

Catherine Fairfield headshot
Catherine Fairfield

Catherine Fairfield is chief study coordinator in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She has been instrumental in building one of the most effective emergency care research programs in the country. She envisioned and developed a collaborative model in which a group of study coordinators and research assistants work with investigators in multiple departments. She also developed a prized research intern program, through which college graduates pursue a year of emergency department-based research and mentoring as they apply to medical school. The program recently reported a 70% success rate for interns matriculating into medical school. Research interns provide 24-hour staffing for the department’s Research Enroller Program, which enrolls thousands of research participants in emergency care clinical trials annually. She developed a process for emergency department research enrollment, using real-time electronic screening in medical records and a centralized research tracking system, both of which have benefited researchers throughout the university.

The University of Iowa Outstanding Staff Award

Kathryn A. Andrews, Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost

Kathy Andrews headshot
Kathryn A. Andrews

Kathryn A. Andrews is senior executive assistant to the provost. Since joining the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost in 2018—after serving for many years as assistant to the dean in the College of Public Health—she has contributed to the office’s success in countless ways. She approaches all she does in a collaborative, team-based manner, with a strong customer-service focus, with innovative thinking, and a deep commitment to the university. During the COVID-19 pandemic she played a pivotal role in communications, acting as a primary contact and coordinator for planning efforts and responding to calls and queries from students, parents, alumni, and others. She had a lead role in coordinating the drafting of the university’s new strategic plan and is now coordinating the work of the team charged with implementing the plan. She also supports the application and review process for P3 funding, which is crucial to the university’s strategic advancement.

Amanda M. Bibb, College of Law

Amanda Bibb headshot
Amanda M. Bibb

Amanda M. Bibb, administrative services supervisor in the College of Law, leads an eight-person team that supports the college’s faculty. Her flexibility, capacity to handle challenges, and talent for engaging others have allowed her to make extraordinary contributions to the college and university. She served as program administrator for the London Law Program from 2016 to 2020, during which time the program grew to be the largest study abroad program run by a U.S. law school. During the COVID-19 pandemic, her team’s ability to adapt quickly enabled faculty to move seamlessly to hybrid and online programs. This year, when it was Iowa’s turn to host the regional rounds of a national moot court competition for law students—which happens once every seven years—she took on this highly complicated project in addition to her usual work and earned accolades from the other schools in the region.

Sasha Khmelnik, Iowa Writers’ Workshop

Sasha Khmelnik headshot
Sasha Khmelnik

Sasha Khmelnik is assistant director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. An advocate for workshop students and faculty, she brings literary knowledge, humane judgment, and technical expertise to all she does. Since taking on her current role in 2018, she has single-handedly moved the office away from a paperbound system, building tools and using data in ways that support careful analysis and informed decisions. This work has contributed to more effective fundraising and has been invaluable in increasing equity in financial aid, which in turn has helped the program increase its racial, cultural, and aesthetic diversity. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she smoothly transitioned the program to remote interactions, anticipating and solving technical issues with patience and persistence that greatly eased the process for faculty and students. She also used the change in routine necessitated by the pandemic to institute frequent staff meetings that promote ongoing transparency and positive cooperation.

Joan M. Kjaer Kirkman, International Programs

Joan Kjaer headshot
Joan M. Kjaer Kirkman

Joan M. Kjaer Kirkman recently retired as director of communications and constituent relations for International Programs (IP), where she oversaw IP’s print and electronic publishing, event planning and marketing, social media, and alumni relations, and was responsible for unprecedented growth in the audience for IP’s public programming. Drawing on her extensive background in public radio, she created and continues to host WorldCanvass, a forum that brings together diverse panelists from around the world to discuss issues of international importance. For each program, she thoroughly researches the topic, prepares thoughtful and probing questions, and engages in spontaneous dialogue with the participants. Panelists compliment her breadth of knowledge, her ability to focus the conversation, and her talent for making them feel at ease. Her ability to connect with colleagues is matched by her talent to build bridges with alumni and supporters, and her fundraising acumen has translated into increased funding for scholarships, faculty research, and cultural events.

Diana C. Kremzar, University Human Resources

Diana Kremzar headshot
Diana C. Kremzar

Diana C. Kremzar, director for family services in University Human Resources, provides high-quality, innovative services for faculty, staff, students, and their families around complex issues such as family caregiving, financial assistance, and policy. Her expertise has been instrumental in the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic related to support for employees and families. In spring 2020, she led the development of a child care assistance program, provided leadership for revising flexible work as it applied to the emergency declaration, and worked with partners across campus and in the community to address family-related issues. In 2021, she supported the flexible work transition as part of the Future of Work pilot, and she now leads a multidisciplinary team to implement the Future of Work recommendations as a long-term business strategy. She is active with the College and University Work Family Association (CUWFA), presenting nationally on UI’s Building Resilience initiatives, and is also active in the Iowa Women’s Foundation’s efforts around child care.

Melanie S. Stutzman, College of Law

Melanie Stutzman headshot
Melanie S. Stutzman

Melanie S. Stutzman, secretary III in the College of Law, excels in her role as a faculty assistant in part because of her keen attention to detail, superb project management skills, impeccable organization, and ability to anticipate needs. Her work for multiple faculty members includes producing written materials related to teaching, research, and service; timely submission of scholarship for publication; producing and administering exams; distributing and collecting work to and from students; and troubleshooting of all kinds. She also manages arrangements for faculty candidates and guest speakers, and has served on many collegiate committees. She values inclusiveness and seeks opportunities to help build community within the college. She has been a member of the college’s Rewards and Recognition Committee since it was created, and in February 2022 she assisted in creating and co-led “Kindness Week,” an opportunity for faculty and staff to send encouraging and supportive notes to one another.


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

Cindy L. Guhl, Division of Student Life

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Cindy Guhl

Cindy L. Guhl, custodian I for the Division of Student Life, is recognized and appreciated by the students of Burge Hall for her unceasing commitment to excellence in her work. She has also earned the students’ deep appreciation for her welcoming personality and positive energy. She shows interest in students’ lives in good times and bad, and they are grateful for the genuine care and comfort she offers when they are facing challenges. One student nominator writes, “Cindy is like a mother, and we are all her children.” By going out of her way to get to know the students and express her interest in their well-being, Cindy has played an important role in creating a sense of belonging, which is a vital contribution to student success.

Shannon L. Jensen, UI QuickCare

Shannon Jensen headshot
Shannon L. Jensen

Shannon L. Jensen, lead medical assistant II for UI QuickCare, always makes sure the highest priority needs of her patients, their families, and her employees are being served. Her ability to calmly handle multiple challenging situations simultaneously leads to enhanced patient satisfaction and establishes a model that contributes to employee development. During the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to her regular responsibilities, she oversaw three virus testing sites, efficiently leading a team of clinical and nonclinical employees who were assigned from other areas. She was directly responsible for major testing process improvements that enabled the reduction of staff needed at each site while maintaining a positive patient experience. She also helped coordinate the COVID-19 testing program with the local hospice and the Department of Corrections. Her contributions to coordinating a COVID-19 saliva study led to researchers from the College of Dentistry winning a Carver Trust Fund pilot grant.

Staff Award for Distinguished Leadership in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

José M. Jimenez, Research Information Services

Jose Jimenez headshot
José M. Jimenez

José M. Jimenez, director of Research Information Systems, is a role model for integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into all aspects of work life and has successfully encouraged others to do the same. He was an instrumental collaborator in the development of the first OneIT DEI strategic plan, and continues to work towards expanding the understanding of DEI issues across the IT community. He invests time in individual relationship-building and outreach to drive inclusion and engage a broad range of staff, and is attuned to identities that may be forgotten or not immediately evident. An active ally and mentor, he works consistently to elevate others’ voices. He was a key collaborator on the BUILD course Inclusive Practices for an Online World, and he has provided training to OneIT leaders and others in the IT community on using inclusive language in application development.

Derrick K. Willis, Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities

Derrick Willis headshot
Derrick K. Willis

Derrick K. Willis is director of the Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), housed in the UI Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD). Within CDD, he has been a champion for DEI initiatives, keeps DEI topics at the forefront of leadership meetings, and mentors other staff in advancing DEI issues. He has led projects aimed at increasing the number of individuals from ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds who work with the disabled; enhancing self-advocacy skills; and providing diversity fellowship opportunities to emerging leaders in the field. He was selected by UI Health Care leadership to co-chair a DEI Task Force subcommittee that made recommendations to improve the work environment. Nationally, he serves on the board of directors of the Association of University Centers for Disabilities (AUCD) and is past chair of AUCD’s Multicultural Council. In Iowa, he serves on many local boards and works with state agencies to help advance culturally responsive services statewide.

James Van Allen Natural Science Fellowship

Tori Forbes, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Tori Forbes headshot
Tori Forbes

Tori Forbes is professor of chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and director of the Materials Analysis, Testing, and Fabrication Facility. She has established a regionally, nationally, and internationally renowned research program in radiochemistry with a focus on the separation of heavy elements from one another, long-term storage of nuclear materials, and environmental remediation. Her research group has multiple projects funded by the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy. She publishes frequently in flagship journals in the chemical sciences and contributes extensively in service to the department, university, and profession. She is a highly effective educator who teaches both large-enrollment undergraduate courses and courses within a major, as well as mentoring students in research. With the Van Allen Natural Science Fellowship, she will study a new way to process used uranium dioxide fuel pellets, which has the potential to contribute to significant advances in sustainable nuclear energy production.

M.L. Huit Faculty Award

Jodi Linley, College of Education

Jodi Linley headshot
Jodi Linley

Jodi Linley is associate professor in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies, where she coordinates the program in higher education and student affairs (HESA). Her approach to teaching and advising is individualized and responsive, and reflects her commitment to fostering a welcoming community. She is HESA’s hub for connecting students with resources and support for personal, professional, and academic success, and she goes out of her way to introduce students into the larger scholarly community. An example of her holistic support for students was her advocacy during the pandemic for student-parents, ensuring they could participate in class and other important activities virtually when needed. Her scholarship focuses on the college experiences of minoritized students. Her work to develop a national LGBTQ+ College Student Survey positions Iowa as a leader in building more inclusive environments.

James N. Murray Faculty Award

Kayla Reed Fitzke, College of Education

Kayla Reed Fitzke headshot
Kayla Reed Fitzke

Kayla Reed Fitzke is an assistant professor in the couple and family therapy program of the College of Education’s Department of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations, a research fellow in the Public Policy Center, and an affiliated research faculty in the Scanlan Center for School Mental Health. In each of her undergraduate and graduate courses, she strives to recognize and meet her students’ needs, and to make every student feel seen, motivated, and encouraged. She has successfully supported several students in seeking funding and recognition of their work, and she volunteers as a mentor for undergraduates in research and service learning. She supports clients locally and across the state as a supervisor of the LGBTQ+ free counseling clinic, supporting clients locally and across the state, and serves on a variety of university committees that prioritize student well-being. She is an active member of four professional organizations, including the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Hubbard-Walder Award for Teaching Excellence

Erin Johnson, Tippie College of Business

Erin Johnson headshot
Erin Johnson

Erin Johnson, associate professor of instruction in the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship in the Tippie College of Business, is a versatile instructor who teaches in both the undergraduate and MBA programs, in-person and online, and in multiple content areas. She is an innovator who is dedicated to providing students hands-on experiences that extend far beyond traditional classroom teaching. For her international business environment course, for example, she has developed a series of successful experiential projects, including a six-week virtual collaboration with students in Kosovo. She also introduced a project in which students develop a podcast investigating how to foster greater cultural intelligence without physically studying abroad. She has served as director of undergraduate studies and has contributed to both undergraduate and MBA curriculum development. She received the Collegiate Teaching Award in 2021 and has twice been recognized with Tippie’s Innovation in Teaching Award.

Danielle Kelsay, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Danielle Kelsay

Danielle Kelsay, clinical associate professor of communication sciences and disorders (CSD) in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has had a profound positive impact on the field of audiology through her teaching. Previously a clinical audiologist for the Department of Otolaryngology, she joined CSD in 2002 and has served as director of clinical education and then director of clinical programs for audiology since 2017. Clinical teaching programs she developed include University of Iowa Sound Awareness for Everyone (UISAFE), a community outreach program with the mission of preventing noise-induced hearing loss. This program provides invaluable learning opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students. In addition to her clinical teaching, she developed and teaches an undergraduate first-year seminar as well as graduate courses on interprofessional practice and professional issues in audiology. She led the creation of several innovative, simulated patient experiences that were essential for student training during the pandemic.

Freda Lynn, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Freda Lynn headshot
Freda Lynn

Freda Lynn, associate professor of sociology and criminology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses, including two on networks and three on statistics that are foundational to student success. She has played major roles in the development of programs and curricula at all levels. As director of undergraduate studies, she redesigned the required capstone course and was involved in the development of the certificate in social science analytics. As current director of graduate studies, she has spearheaded a major overhaul of the comprehensive exam system and significantly revised annual progress assessment for graduate students. She was a member of the committee that wrote the proposal to launch a PhD program in criminology, which was recently approved by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. She is also a dedicated mentor to numerous students. She received the Collegiate Teaching Award in 2018.

David Puderbaugh, School of Music

David Purderbaugh headshot
David Puderbaugh

David Puderbaugh is a professor, assistant director of choral activities, and director of graduate studies in the School of Music. He has conducted Camerata, a chorus of mostly undergraduate and graduate non-music majors, and University Choir, comprising mostly undergraduate music majors. Under his leadership, these ensembles have built a strong sense of community while expanding their repertoire and knowledge of various styles. His innovative and influential contributions to the graduate curriculum include creating a required seminar in music research that significantly strengthens professional development for doctoral music students. His belief in choral music as a means of teaching broader cultural issues is evidenced in his design of a workshop on choral singing as a means of political protest and social change as well as an immersive study abroad course that will take students to the Camino de Santiago, the historical pilgrimage route in Spain, to explore the trail through a musical lens.

Jeffrey Reist, College of Pharmacy

Jeffrey Reist headshot
Jeffrey Reist

Jeffrey Reist, clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice and science, worked with UI student pharmacists and new graduates for many years as an adjunct instructor in community, hospital, and long-term care pharmacy environments before becoming clinical instructor in the College of Pharmacy in 2003. He teaches a variety of classroom and laboratory courses in the college, and has also taught in the College of Nursing, the Carver College of Medicine, and the physician’s assistant program at Saint Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. His contributions to curriculum and program development include leading a team of colleagues to re-envision and redesign the six-semester sequence of pharmacy practice laboratory courses covering all aspects of pharmacist-related care delivery. The college’s laboratory curriculum has become a model for other institutions across the country. He facilitated the inclusion of simulated patients, now a key aspect of measurement of student success, into student learning and assessment.

Michael J. Brody Award for Faculty Excellence in Service

Benjamin Coelho, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Benjamin Coelho headshot
Benjamin Coelho

Benjamin Coelho, professor of music in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, leads by example at Iowa and in his profession internationally. He served as associate director for undergraduate studies in the School of Music from 2006 to 2017, and as interim departmental executive officer in 2018-19. He was the school’s inaugural associate director for equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB), and in that role led the creation of an EDIB Statement and Action Plan and continues to provide strong guidance for faculty and staff. He was elected to the CLAS Executive Committee in 2020 and he chaired the Division of Performing Arts Self-Study Review Committee. He is on the board of directors and is president-elect of the International Double Reed Society, the most prominent organization in his field. Many of his students have become leaders in the profession.

Russell Ganim, International Programs

Russ Ganim headshot
Russell Ganim

Russell Ganim is professor of French in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and associate provost and dean of International Programs. He served as inaugural director of the Division of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures from 2011 to 2019, and has chaired multiple departments within the division. He served as vice president, president, and past president of the Faculty Senate from 2017 to 2019. During that time, he promoted a strong working relationship among faculty, administration, and the Board of Regents, State of Iowa; organized a highly successful Big Ten Academic Alliance Shared Governance Conference; worked collaboratively with faculty and campus leaders on the creation of the P3 initiative; and guided approval of the Faculty Senate Statement on Freedom of Expression. He has also served on and led many other influential collegiate and university committees, including the CLAS Faculty Assembly.

Katherine Imborek, Carver College of Medicine

Katherine Imborek headshot
Katherine Imborek

Katherine Imborek (She/her), clinical professor and vice chair of clinical operations in the Department of Family Medicine in the Carver College of Medicine, is a champion of equal and quality medical care for every patient. She is founding co-director of UI Health Care’s LGBTQ+ Clinic and has earned a national reputation as a superior clinician and educator in the field of LGBTQ+ medicine. Her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic as an innovator, advisor, educator, and communicator contributed significantly to UI Health Care’s success in mitigating the impact of COVID-19. In 2020, she helped establish the Influenza-like Illness (ILI) Telemedicine and Respiratory Clinic, which has overseen more than 44,000 telemedicine visits and 174,000 testing visits. The ILI Clinic played a key role in guiding patients to the care they needed, preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and shoring up the stability of the health care system by limiting the burden on the emergency department.