2015 award recipients for teaching, research, service, diversity and student success
Dr. Robert Veillette, Outstanding Teacher Award
Dr. Robert Veillette is this year's recipient of the Outstanding Teacher Award. The associate professor of electrical and computer engineering joined UA’s College of Engineering in 1990.
Veillette, pictured above with President Scott Scarborough, left, and Provost Mike Sherman, is described as having “a laser focus on helping engineering students succeed,” both inside and outside the classroom.
In addition to advising many undergraduate electrical engineering students, Veillette has directed five Ph.D. students on their dissertations and 22 master’s level students on their theses. He has served on more than 70 other doctoral or master’s committees, and helped direct at least 18 senior projects, involving more than 60 undergraduates.
Veillette served as the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology coordinator for the department’s 2013 program accreditation evaluation, which resulted in the maximum accreditation awarded by ABET.
He was previously honored with the College of Engineering Chemstress Outstanding Teacher Award in 1999, and the Honors College Advising Award in 2014.
In summing up his professor, Matt Granger, a senior EE student, writes this: “There are educators who teach because it is a job, and then there are educators who teach because it is their calling. After being his student and advisee for half a decade, I can say with absolute confidence that Dr. Veillette’s passion is education.”
Tirumalai S. Srivatsan, Outstanding Researcher Award
Dr. Tirumalai S. Srivatsan is this year's recipient of the Outstanding Researcher Award. The professor of mechanical engineering joined the College of Engineering in 1987.
Throughout his career, Srivatsan, pictured above with President Scott Scarborough, left, and Provost Mike Sherman, has focused his research in the areas of materials science and engineering, manufacturing processes, and mechanical behavior of materials. His efforts helped to raise the visibility of the department, college and UA at the national and international levels.
He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Society of Materials and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Srivatsan has served as co-editor in chief of Materials and Manufacturing Processes since 1988, and serves on the editorial boards of four journals: International Journal of Engineering Sciences and Management, Materials Science and Engineering, Journal of Metals and Advances in Materials Research. He has authored 543 publications: 340 refereed journal articles, eight refereed book chapters, and 195 refereed conference proceedings, including three archival monographs in the domain spanning materials science and engineering manufacturing. As the initiator, organizer and energetic executor of international conferences and symposia, Srivatsan’s work culminated in 52 bound volumes widely referenced by individuals involved in research. The recognition among his peers is confirmed by the more than 5,000 citations and an h-index near 40.
Recognized as the Outstanding Young Alumnus from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1996, Srivatsan also received the Dean Louis Hill Award for Exceptional Dedication and Service from the College of Engineering in 2006.
Michelle Byrne, Outstanding Faculty/Mentor of First-Year Students Award
Michelle Byrne is this year's recipient of the Outstanding Faculty/Mentor of First-Year Students Award. The associate professor of technical writing and composition served as a visiting professor in 2007-08 before joining the faculty of the College of Applied Science & Technology (formerly Summit College) in 2008.
Colleagues use adjectives such as “involved,” “creative,” “scholar” and “community supporter” to describe Byrne.
In the English classes she teaches in the African-American Male and PASSAGES Learning Communities, Byrne works with her faculty team members to create a supportive network for students. She is credited with creating “an environment that is challenging and nurturing” to encourage her students to learn and achieve.
Byrne, who incorporates the annual Rethinking Race: Black, White and Beyond Series into her classes, has led discussions during the program for the entire campus. She also models for her students the application of knowledge to one’s community through service-learning projects that have included partnerships with Big Brothers-Big Sisters, the Summit County ReEntry Network, the UA Law and Leadership Institute, and the Peanut Butter & Jelly Program.
With colleagues from across the campus, Byrne has served on the Common Reading Selection Committee.
Janice Troutman, Community Engagement Award
Janice Troutman is this year's recipient of the Excellence in Community Engagement Award. The professor of graphic design joined UA in 1989. She is pictured above with, from left, Chand Midha, executive dean of the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences, Provost Mike Sherman, President Scott Scarborough and Robert Huff, director of the Myers School of Art.
Troutman has been the creative director of “Design x Nine” for 19 years. Each year, she and John Morrison, associate professor of graphic design, who together coordinate the graphic design area, choose nine top graphic design students to work with real clients to hone the design skills, business savvy, technical knowledge and teamwork abilities they will need to succeed in the highly competitive field of graphic design. The studio’s clients include the Akron Art Museum, Warther Companies and the Akron Roundtable.
Both Troutman and many of her students have been recipients of Gold and Silver ADDYs from the Advertising Federation of Greater Akron.
A member of the Downtown Akron Partnership First Night Artist selection committee since 2006, Troutman also is the creator of Design Week. Launched five years ago, the annual event connects more than 300 graphic design students with professional designers through about 40 out-of-class events that include studio tours, hands-on workshops, lectures and competitions.
Troutman also incorporates Pay It Forward/student-led philanthropy service-learning projects into her Advanced Graphic Design class. The student work produced as a result of the mini-grants received is estimated to have had an economic impact of $40,000 on the greater Akron community.
Amy Shriver Dreussi, Diversity Award
Dr. Amy Shriver Dreussi is this year's recipient of the Diversity Award. The associate professor of social science in the College of Applied Science and Technology joined UA in 2006.
A commitment to service and diversity is demonstrated in and out of the classroom by Dreussi, who is pictured above with, from left, Dr. Todd Rickel, vice provost and executive dean of the College of Applied Science and Technology; Lee Gill, associate vice president for inclusion and equity/chief diversity officer; Provost Mike Sherman; and President Scott Scarborough.
Since 2007, she has served on the steering committee for Rethinking Race: Black, White and Beyond, an award-winning two-week series of programs held annually at UA. She has co-chaired Rethinking Race since 2012. She also co-chairs Culture Quest at UA — a set of activities designed to foster intellectual and literal border-crossings, from art to science, local to global, Christian to Muslim, white to black and beyond.
Her campus and community service also the Black Male Summit steering committee, University Libraries committee, Stark County Regional Planning Commission and Canton Area League of Women Voters. She is a reviewer for senior capstone projects at Glen Oak High School.
Dreussi received Faculty of the Year from the Department of Associate Studies for 2008-09, And was selected as the Outstanding Faculty for Associate Studies and received the Dean William R. Petry Outstanding Teaching Award for her college in the 2013-14 academic year.
The board of the National Social Science Association has elected Dreussi first vice-president — in two years — she will be president of the board.
Aiesha Motley, Student Success Award
Aiesha Motley is this year's recipient of the Student Success Award. The senior associate director of operations in the Office of Multicultural Development joined UA in 2007.
In her role, Motley, pictured here with President Scott Scarborough, left, and Provost Mike Sherman, is often one of the first individuals that multicultural students meet as they begin their academic careers at UA.
It is in the ADVANCE New Student Orientation, which is partnered with the traditional New Student Orientation program, that Motley first meets with multicultural students. A UA alumna herself, with a B.S. in Political Science-Criminal Justice earned in 2003, and an M.A. in Education - Higher Education Administration earned in 2005, Motley strives to be a role model, particularly to under-represented and first-generation students.
Motley coordinates the PASSAGE Learning Community for first-year multicultural students, and serves as their advisor until they are accepted into their degree-granting colleges. She has taught the Student Success Seminar — now the Akron Experience course, for several years. Motley also works with Dr. Theresa Beyerle, associate director of the Institute for Teaching and Learning, to develop service-learning civic-engagement projects for the students in her classes.
Writes a former student, “Mrs. Motley is dedicated to the minorities on campus. She consistently directed me toward resources that enabled me to partake in the college experience — such as scholarships, classes, seminars, events and even tough love.”
Kimberly A. Gentile, Exemplary Service Award
Kimberly A. Gentile is this year's recipient of the Exemplary University Service Award. The senior associate director of admissions in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions joined UA in 1995. She is pictured here with President Scott Scarborough, left, her husband, Larry, and Provost Mike Sherman.
In nominations for this award, Gentile ’91 and ’95, is credited again and again for “going above and beyond” for her alma mater. She is responsible for outreach initiatives for freshmen, recruitment events, visitor relations and multicultural recruitment. She also coordinates communications initiatives — both print and electronic — with potential students and their families as well as with school counselors.
Diane Raybuck, director of admissions, praises Gentile for “excellence in her work with campus partners, including marketing communications, the College of Engineering, athletics/men’s soccer, Institutional Advancement and the Department of Development, among others.” Raybuck also notes that Gentile’s efforts contributed to UA having the best academically prepared freshman class in its history in 2014.
Gentile has been an advisory committee member for the Northeast Ohio Medical University since 1995. She has served as a member and as chair of the Contract Professional Advisory Committee, and as a member of the University Council Communications Committee and the Steering Committee.
A recipient of the Student Affairs Award of Achievement in 2002, Gentile received the Donfred H. Gardner Award for the Outstanding Student Affairs Professional in 2009.
Dr. Daniel McCarthy, Outstanding Researcher Award
Editor’s note: This 2014 honoree was on a medical leave and just recently received his award.
Dr. Daniel McCarthy is the 2014 recipient of the Outstanding Researcher Award. The professor and chair of the Composition and Theory Section in the School of Music joined UA in 2000.
In the nomination for this award, McCarthy is described as being “among the country's most productive and respected creative scholars in music composition today.” He has published 107 music composition titles and his music has been performed by a wide variety of ensembles, including the United States Marine Band, Akron Symphony Orchestra, Brevard Festival Orchestra, Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra and The World Youth Symphony Orchestra.
McCarthy's leadership in the field is demonstrated in his hosting of more than 60 prominent guest composers and numerous performers at UA, where he has founded The American New Arts Festival and The Akron New Music Festival.
He is the co-author of “Theory for Today’s Musician,” a college music theory textbook, and his music is the subject of several doctoral dissertations, journal articles and book chapters. McCarthy has been appointed visiting scholar at The University of Michigan, Freie Universitat in Berlin and Ohio University, and served as instructor of composition at Interlochen Center for the Arts.
Over the course of his career, McCarthy has received more than 30 prizes and grants, including The American Prize in Composition (Orchestra-Professional Division) and The "Doc" Severinsen International Composition Contest.