Published June 13, 2017
Eight faculty members and 12 staff members have been named recipients of the 2017 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence.
The Chancellor’s Awards acknowledge and provide system-wide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence.
“The many faculty and staff honored with the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence are the best of our best, having ensured student success as they educate and mentor students with innovative approaches to academic instruction, infuse curricula with applied learning opportunities, adapt best practices from throughout SUNY, and much more,” said Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. “It is an honor to recognize the excellent work of the faculty and staff at UB, and that of their colleagues across SUNY. Congratulations to all of this year’s recipients.”
The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities recognizes the work of those who engage actively in scholarly and creative pursuits beyond their teaching responsibilities. Recipients are Michel Bruneau, professor in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Anthony Campagnari, professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Gregory Fabiano, professor in the Department of Counseling, School and Educational Psychology, Graduate School of Education; Donald Mager, professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and Jinhui Xu, professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service recognizes “the consistently superior service contributions of teaching faculty” sustained over a period of time. This year’s recipient is Albert H. Titus, professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching honors those who consistently demonstrate superb teaching at the undergraduate, graduate or professional level. Recipients are Amy Graves Monroe, associate professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, College of Arts and Sciences, and William Prescott, clinical associate professor and vice chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service honors professional staff performance excellence “both within and beyond the position.” Recipients are Gwen Appelbaum, assistant dean and director of the Career Resource Center, School of Management; Laura J. Barnum, associate vice president, Resource Planning; Oscar A. Budde, associate vice provost for immigration services and director of UB immigration services, Office of International Education; Katharine P. Darling, associate dean for academic services, UB Graduate School; Christa M. Greenberg, coordinator of undergraduate studies and senior academic adviser for the undergraduate program in the Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences; Joseph J. Helfer, senior assistant to the chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences; Andrew Koenig, assistant dean for project and planning, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Jennifer Rosenberg, associate dean and director of admissions, enrollment planning and undergraduate advising, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and John S. Taylor Sr., executive director of development for the Primary Care Research Institute in the Department of Family Medicine, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service recognizes classified staff members who have consistently demonstrated superlative performance within and beyond their position. Recipients are Laura Palka, assistant to the chief of staff, Office of the President; Jodi Reiner, graduate secretary in the Department of Linguistics, College of Arts and Sciences; and Cheryl Tubisz, secretary in the Department of Organization and Human Resources, School of Management.
As assistant dean and director of the School of Management’s Career Resource Center since 2008, Gwen Appelbaum manages strategic planning related to graduate and undergraduate recruitment, career development and internship programs for the school. She helps drive school-wide performance as part of leadership committees that address such strategic priorities as MBA admissions, the school’s rankings and reputation, leadership development programming and general education capstone curriculum.
Appelbaum leads her team to establish partnerships with employers, promote experiential learning, and ensure career readiness for undergraduate and graduate business students. She created a full range of personal branding resources for the school and delivers presentations to students, alumni and professionals that convey a clear, concise framework for personal brand awareness.
More recently, she led the revision of the career curriculum in the School of Management that provides students with comprehensive, career-ready skills and search strategies. This new curriculum, which will “go live” in fall 2017, is required for all sophomores and juniors, and is expected to dramatically improve students’ career readiness.
Laura Barnum leads the resource planning staff in developing and applying policies, procedures and strategies to guide the university’s annual resource-planning process and to provide senior leadership strategic advice on university and unit finances in relation to investment decisions across the university.
To enhance and improve the university’s approach to integrated resource planning, she worked jointly with multiple units across the campus to implement a multi-year, university-wide financial plan; expand the annual resource-planning calendar; revise the existing budget model; and introduce unit spending plans and the annual review of all fees.
Barnum has been an integral player in developing and advancing SIRI, the Strategic Information Reporting Initiative that allows data and information to flow to campus, be processed quickly and made available in a reliable, convenient and clear form.
She also participated in developing a financial plan to support the construction and program buildout of the $375 million Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences building on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. In addition, her coordination of a multi-year plan for the Facilities Sustainability and Energy Management budget generated $17 million in savings for investment in university capital projects.
Michel Bruneau is an internationally renowned expert on the design and behavior of steel structures subjected to severe earthquake loading and blast effects. His work, colleagues say, has made for “a safer earthquake environment in many regions of the world.”
Many of Bruneau’s design recommendations for building and bridge codes have been implemented in countless structures worldwide, among them the $1 billion temporary supports of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge East Span.
A prolific scholar and fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Bruneau is credited with more than 500 technical publications — including more than 150 articles in premier refereed journals such as the ASCE Journal of Structural Engineering and the ASCE Journal of Bridge Engineering. He also is the lead author of the textbook “Ductile Design of Steel Structures,” considered by many to be the leading reference for the seismic design of steel structures.
His research activities have been continuously funded through federal agencies, including $6 million from the National Science Foundation, as well as grants from the Federal Highway Administration and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Oscar A. Budde is praised by colleagues for going “well beyond normal standards of service excellence in meeting the needs of UB’s international employees and scholars, advising senior leadership on complex and nuanced immigration matters, and defending the university’s interests in a challenging and ever-changing legal environment.”
As associate vice provost for immigration services, Budde provides immigration services for foreign nationals employed by UB and the university’s Exchange Visitor (J-1) Program. He also provides senior leadership with legal guidance on an entire range of immigration matters impacting the institution.
Most recently, he prepared a formal legal brief based on case law and precedents that informed a new policy prohibiting immigrant status checks during routine traffic stops on campus by University Police.
He also has kept current on issues relating to potential changes in immigration policy and practices anticipated under the new presidential administration, helping to clarify to UB leadership and faculty what is and what is not likely to happen in terms of future changes and reducing anxiety among constituents on campus.
An international leader in the discovery and treatment of infectious diseases, Anthony Campagnari is arguably one of the world’s experts in the pathogenesis of the Gram-negative bacteria associated with otitis media — or middle ear infections. His group was the first to show that antimicrobial photodynamic therapy elicits bactericidal activity versus Moraxella catarrhalis biofilms, a discovery that could change the paradigm for treatment of otitis media. Recently his research, featured in an American Society for Microbiology (ASM) press release, included Gram-positive bacteria, where his group used a novel mouse model to provide new insights into secondary bacterial pneumonia caused by Staphylococcus aureus.
His research — funded continuously for more than 25 years by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Defense and the Office of Naval Research, as well as industry and private foundations — has led to 77 peer-reviewed publications, eight book chapters and five U.S. patents.
Campagnari recently was inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, the honorific group within the ASM that recognizes excellence, originality and leadership in the microbiological sciences.
As associate dean for academic services in the Graduate School, Katharine Darling supports graduate and professional program development from initial concept to approval by SUNY and the state education department, and assists with comprehensive program reviews and assessment.
Among her major achievements has been her leadership role in the Student System Transformation (SST/HUB) project and implementation of the PeopleSoft Campus Solutions software package, for which she wrote a 35,000-word training manual and coordinated the training of more than 750 staff members.
Aside from her job responsibilities, Darling is involved in numerous professional activities, some of which are related to her personal interest in improving higher education by raising awareness of mindfulness and “contemplative pedagogy.” Since 2014, she has served as a key member of the strategic planning committee for the Western New York Contemplative Faculty & Staff Group, a regional collaborative dedicated to infusing mindfulness into the higher education system to foster student well-being and academic success. She played a crucial role in landing a SUNY Conversations in the Disciplines grant to fund the groundbreaking, SUNY-wide mindfulness conference held in March 2016 at UB.
A UB faculty member since 2005, Gregory Fabiano is widely considered to be one of the top scholars in the world in the field of ADHD treatment research. His research, which has focused on increasing the reach of effective treatments for ADHD, has included novel interventions for fathers of children with ADHD and teenagers with ADHD who are novice drivers. He also has conducted multiple studies to evaluate positive behavioral supports for children with ADHD in schools. Recently, he developed a massive open online course to better disseminate ADHD research findings to the general public.
Fabiano’s work has generated considerable research funding, including active grants totaling more than $3 million — three of which come from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Educational Sciences.
His work has attracted numerous awards and honors, including the 2007 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Regarded by her colleagues as “a foremost scholar of Early Modern Europe,” Amy Graves Monroe combines her research interests with innovative pedagogic methods.
She has developed more than a dozen undergraduate- and graduate-level courses, several of which are interdisciplinary in nature, attracting students from her primary field of French, as well as English, history, theater and dance, and linguistics, among others.
Her teaching methods combine standard in-class instruction with a hands-on approach beyond the classroom; for example, she brings graduate and undergraduate seminars to the UB Libraries’ Special Collections to work with primary materials relevant to their course instruction.
Graves is well known for authoring the Romance Languages and Literatures (RLL) Syllabus Resource Handbook, a 27-page manual used by many faculty in RLL, as well as other course instructors, that provides a wealth of information concerning student learning outcomes, relevant class activities and benchmarks for proficiency at each level — from introductory through graduate language programs — in French, Italian and Spanish.
She also offers immersion pedagogy workshops for local secondary school language teachers and mentors graduate students with the new UB NEAR (Network for Enriched Academic Relationships) initiative.
As coordinator of undergraduate studies and senior academic adviser for undergraduates in the Department of Psychology, Christa M. Greenberg is responsible for the day-to-day operations of a massive undergraduate program with nearly 1,350 majors as of spring 2016 — the largest single-department major at UB — and which provided more than 34,000 undergraduate credit hours over the past academic year.
She also coordinates the psychology program at the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), a UB degree-conferring program that currently has more than 500 psychology majors.
Greenberg maintains regular contact with students through email, social media and face-to-face meetings — she is available to UB students seven days a week at all hours — and helps them navigate the complexities of their academic and personal lives.
Regarded as “the master of everything” relating to the psychology undergraduate program at UB, she also provides outstanding service to faculty, providing counsel and guidance about undergraduate education.
A UB staff member since 1985, Joseph J. Helfer worked in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and the Department of Physics before moving to the Department of Biological Sciences in 2006, where he now serves as senior assistant to the chair. Colleagues praise his “indispensable role” in the department, as well as his going well “beyond the call of duty.”
Helfer instituted a budget management system that has allowed the biology department to pay off of a $40,000 debt, more effectively manage departmental funds, and make improvements that include financing the complete revamping of the department’s first-year “bio” course sequence that serves approximately 1,300 students each semester. This improved the department’s ability to attract new students, which has led to a quadrupling of the number of undergraduate majors and a tripling of the number of bio bachelor’s degrees awarded annually.
Helfer, who received an MS and MBA from UB, also has been instrumental in helping new faculty set up their laboratories and has provided assistance on fiscal matters to both the junior and senior faculty, helping them to manage their grant funds.
As assistant dean for project and planning for the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Andrew Koenig’s responsibilities range from space allocation and preparation for new faculty to ensuring that shared laboratory equipment is well maintained and repaired when necessary. These tasks are performed for all departments, both clinical and basic science, throughout the entire medical school.
As the school prepares to move into a new building in downtown Buffalo, Koenig has served as the primary point person for the school’s interaction with UB’s design and construction team, the State Construction Fund, the HOK architectural team and the contractors who are building the new facility. He has worked with these partners to plan and implement this massive project and has consistently offered inventive ideas on classroom design, especially related to computer connectivity, telecommunications, and type and layout of classroom and lecture hall furniture.
He also has served on multiple committees for the past two years that are working on designing and equipping the new research labs for the building.
Donald Mager is an internationally renowned scholar of PK/PD (pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamics) modeling and systems pharmacology. He is highly regarded by his peers for his insights into structure‐activity relationships in PK/PD, creating new theoretical concepts and applications related to target‐mediated drug disposition, assessing properties of monoclonal antibodies, PK/PD modeling in diabetes, developing cancer chemotherapy models and evolving increasingly complex systems pharmacology models.
A prolific scholar, he is the author of 117 peer‐reviewed research publications — many of which are among the most highly cited in the field — and six book chapters with 92 research publications.
His research program is supported by two National Institutes of Health grants, four grants from pharmaceutical companies, two grants from the UB Center for Protein Therapeutics and by funding from the SUNY High Needs Program.
He also is co‐editor of a recently completed textbook on “Systems Pharmacology and Pharmacodynamics,” and has produced 82 external meeting posters — 52 since 2010 — and given 159 invited talks — 90 since 2010 — to scientific audiences throughout the U.S. and abroad.
A 34-year employee of UB, Laura Palka has provided administrative support for three UB vice presidents, and for the past five years has worked as assistant to the chief of staff in the Office of the President. Palka is praised by colleagues for demonstrating a command of her discipline and undertaking all of her responsibilities with discretion, professionalism and resourcefulness, as well as with careful thought and discernment — key attributes for working in a demanding, fast-paced and administratively complex office.
Her acute familiarity and deep institutional knowledge of UB has enabled her to help members of the internal and external UB community — including local, state and federal officials; SUNY central administration; alumni; and university friends, among others — to solve problems, get answers or locate the appropriate contact who can be of assistance.
Since joining the UB pharmacy faculty in 2004, William Prescott has taught 29 courses, including serving as course coordinator or lead instructor for PHM 505/506 Patient Assessment (60 contact hours), PHM 550/551 Leadership in Pharmacy (55 contact hours) and PHM 509 Patient Assessment (55 contact hours).
He has been vice chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice since 2012 and PharmD program director for the pharmacy school since 2014. He also oversaw development and expansion of the school’s community- and hospital-based pharmacy residency programs while serving as residency program administrative director from 2007-12.
Known for employing innovative techniques and technologies to enhance instruction, Prescott has merged the “flipped classroom model” of e-learning with seated classroom instruction to create a novel “blended learning environment.” This teaching method features pre-recorded video vignettes that students view prior to the class, which provides foundational content.
This approach frees up time in the classroom for active-learning strategies, such as team-based learning, case-based learning and immersive skills activities.
Students, faculty and administrators in the Department of Linguistics rely upon Jodi Reiner for her institutional and programmatic knowledge of the rules and policies of the department’s graduate programs, as well as those of the Graduate School.
She has created guidelines and checklists for students to assist them in preparing the required documentation for enrollment in the Graduate School. She is dedicated to providing students and faculty with the most accurate and up-to-date information, and is renowned for her meticulous investigations to discover every relevant detail for any query that comes into her office.
Colleagues also praise her for her connections with departments across the university — for knowing who to contact regarding various facets of university operations, as well as for her ability to find quick solutions to any questions or problems that may arise.
Jennifer Rosenberg has helped develop strategies and initiatives to allow the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (SPPS) to remain a national leader in pharmacy and pharmaceutical science education and scholarship.
Rosenberg joined SPPS in 2007 at a critical time for pharmacy education, as new schools of pharmacy were being opened and the need for community pharmacists began declining nationally. She was able to apply proven methodologies with creative programming to help the school maintain a highly competitive student body, as well as its national ranking during a time of great transition.
More recently, she played a key role in the transformation of the SPPS’ Early Assurance Program, including restructuring the program to overcome enrollment challenges. She also created a pharmacy summer camp for high school students and initiated affiliation agreements with two- and four-year colleges that allow these students to accelerate their time to obtaining an undergraduate degree, along with a UB PharmD degree.
John S. Taylor Sr. has been described as the “mastermind behind strategic partnerships and collaborative contracts” for the Department of Family Medicine’s Primary Care Research Institute (PCRI), which brings together an interprofessional group of clinicians, health service researchers and other experts to address issues surrounding contemporary health care.
As executive director of development, Taylor’s duties include comprehensive and strategic planning, building qualifications and collaborations for grant applications, and accelerating career progression of faculty and staff.
Early in his career, he established a community engagement mechanism that generated funding for PCRI by providing staff for various state-wide and regional projects in health workforce, rural health networks and Medicaid-managed care for special need populations.
Taylor is responsible for all aspects of his department’s grant development process, and peers credit him with guiding faculty in developing scholarly work by identifying pilot studies, advising on publication activity and identifying areas for grant development.
Over the past 16 years, he has been instrumental in the submission of more than $297 million in direct and indirect Research Foundation proposals, with total RF awards of more than $81 million direct and indirect, and UB Foundation contracts of more than $10 million.
Albert H. Titus is an accomplished scholar whose leadership and management skills were key to the creation of UB’s undergraduate and graduate programs in biomedical engineering. He was responsible for the entire development of the BS, MS and PhD programs, including submission to SUNY and the state Education Department.
Titus was named chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering in 2012, and the department has flourished under his leadership. Undergraduate enrollment has increased to more than 300 students since 2009, and more than 100 students are pursuing their MS and PhD degrees. The department was awarded a full six-year ABET accreditation in 2015.
Under Titus, BME faculty have obtained more than $7 million in external research funding over the past four years, published articles in top peer-reviewed journals and received numerous national awards for excellence.
In addition, he has worked with the School of Management to develop a BS/MBA program in which undergraduates can earn a BS in biomedical engineering and an MBA in five years, and he also is working to develop a five-year BS/MS program for biomedical engineering.
A UB staff member since 1980, Cheryl Tubisz supports 14 faculty members, along with numerous adjunct faculty and graduate students, in her role as secretary in the Department of Organization and Human Resources. Colleagues cite numerous examples of her willingness to assist others — even if it goes far beyond her expected duties. These include assisting faculty with projects that have strict deadlines, providing guidance and advice for her secretarial colleagues, ensuring that new faculty members can navigate the UB system, and facilitating resources when requested by her school’s graduate students.
Tubisz was instrumental in organizing the Center for Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness’ “Leading Innovation in the Social Sector” conference this past April, and currently is organizing the Harvard Business Publishing Case Method Teaching Seminar that will be held in September.
She also has been credited with identifying a shortage in staff support and volunteering to manage various business transactions during the transition of a new executive director for the School of Management's Center for Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness. In addition, she coordinated the school’s Giving Tree, which this past year donated 60 gifts to three different families affiliated with Child & Family Services’ Adopt-a-Family Program, as well as the school’s Hospice Bouquet Sale.
Jinhui Xu is internationally renowned for his research in computational geometry, which has had a profound impact beyond engineering to include disciplines ranging from medicine and biology to networking and very-large-scale integration (VLSI).
He has developed general techniques for a number of important problems in his field, among them a technique called “Peeling-and-Enclosing” that solves a large class of constrained clustering problems in the areas of machine learning and information security. He also is highly regarded for his seminal work on several networking problems related to scheduling, routing and security.
Xu is considered a pioneer in using geometric techniques to solve important medical problems, designing a number of novel geometric optimization techniques for solving key treatment-planning problems in radiation cancer therapy, cardiovascular and endovascular intervention, segmentation, and projection and multi-view imaging.
His groundbreaking work with longtime UB collaborator Ronald Berezney that used geometric techniques to determine the spatial organization and dynamics of the cell nucleus revealed for the first time the structural difference in chromosome associations between normal and cancer cells and the non-random topological structures of individual chromosomes.