2020 SFE Award Winners

Congratulations to the outstanding recipients of the major UNT Faculty Awards for 2020 listed below, all of whom are to be honored at the Salute to Faculty Excellence Award Celebration on October 23, 2020.

UNT Foundation Awards


UNT Foundation Eminent Faculty Award

John Ishiyama

Political Science

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UNT Foundation Eminent Faculty Award Winner, Jan Holden



UNT Foundation Faculty Leadership Award

V. Barbara Bush

Counseling and Higher Education

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UNT Foundation Community Engagement Award

Shahla Ala'i-Rosales

Behavior Analysis

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2019 UNT Foundation Community Engagement Award Winner, Brad Leali



UNT Foundation Outstanding Lecturer Award

Sushama Dandekar


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Research Awards 


University Distinguished Research Professor

Shobhana L. Chelliah


Shobhana Chelliah has been a member of the UNT community since 1996.  Originally from Tamil Nadu, India, she spent her childhood in Washington DC where her father worked for the International Monetary Fund.  She completed her BA and MA in Delhi and returned to the US to receive a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin.  She worked at the University of Arizona as Adjunct Faculty until she moved to UNT.  A game changer for her professional life was a 3-year stint as a Program Officer at the National Science Foundation.  She learned to think big and out-of-the-box.  Related to this, she is currently working on creating a digital archive for the languages of South Asia at the UNT digital library.  This year, she will work in India to pursue this goal as a Fulbright-Nehru chair. 



Presidential Early Career Professorship

Diana Berman

Materials Science & Engineering

Diana Berman received her Ph.D. from North Carolina State University in 2012. After that, she was working as a Postdoctoral Researcher in Argonne National Laboratory, at the Center for Nanoscale Materials. In 2016, she joined the University of North Texas as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Her research interests focus on understanding the mechanisms of nucleation and growth of nanostructured ceramics, in-situ analysis and characterization of the synthesis processes, and design of nanomaterials for applications as functional coatings with improved friction and wear-resistance characteristics. She published more than 40 papers in peer-reviewed journals (with over 2300 citations) and filed 10 patents. Among her awards are TechConnect Innovation Awards (2016 and 2017), Ralph E Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award (2017), and Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers Early Career Award (2018). Her ultimate goals are to light up the research curiosity in students and make a true impact on the technological progress by addressing the current needs in materials and structures.



Creative Impact Award

Bonita Friedman


Bonnie Friedman is the author of the widely anthologized and bestselling Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distraction and Other Dilemmas in the Writers’ Life, which is being reissued with a new preface by HarperCollins this June.  It was named one of “One of The Essential Books for Writing” by The Center for Fiction and “One of The Best Books for Writers” by Poets & Writers.  She is also the author of The Thief of Happiness (Beacon Press), which was called “profound” by The Washington Post.  Her most recent book, Surrendering Oz: A Life in Essays (Etruscan) was longlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay and was a finalist for the Creative Nonfiction Award for the CLMP (Community of Literary Magazines and Presses).  A MacDowell Fellow and a Fellow of the UNT Institute for the Advancement of the Arts, she is a three time Notable essayist in The Best American Essays.  Her work has appeared in The Best Writing on Writing, The Best American Movie Writing, and The Best Buddhist Writing.  She is a grateful recipient of the Kesterson Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award from the Department of English at UNT. 



UNT Teacher-Scholar

Hong Wang


Dr Wang is a dedicated educator and researcher. She is passionate about teaching and research. She cares about each student, and she strives to influence student positively. She believes that quality education is the key to lead to the success of her students. Dr. Wang pursues research excellence. She addresses creativity with the attention to solve the
most pressing problems in the field. In the past 10 years, she has established two research areas, which are clearly distinctive from her peers in the field. The versatile tools and strategies developed in her lab have opened the door to tackle interesting yet challenging problems in the
field. A number of Dr. Wang research were highlighted as hot papers, research highlights and/or cover pages in highly impacting journals. Dr. Wang’s research has been well funded by Department of Energy and National Science Foundation. Dr. Wang’s career efforts have been recognized nationally by an NSF career award, and internationally by a Royal Chemical Society Emerging New Investigator Award and a Thieme
Chemistry Journal Award. She also received Distinguished Scholar Award in Miami University, and Best Service Award in COS at UNT.




Early Career Award for Research and Creativity

Ana P. Alonso

Biological Sciences

Ana Paula Alonso joined the BioDiscovery Institute at the University of North Texas in 2018; she is Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, and the Director of the BioAnalytical Facility. She built a successful research program supported by over $9,000,000 in total funding. Dr. Alonso was awarded three-year predoctoral research fellowship and two-year postdoctoral fellowship from the French National Institute of Agronomical Research. After four years of postdoctoral training in seed metabolism (Michigan State University), and microbial metabolism (French National Institute for Applied Sciences), she joined the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center in 2008 as a Visiting Assistant Professor to work in the exciting field of biofuel research. In 2010, Dr. Alonso accepted a position as an Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University where she received a Research Initiative Award from the Ohio Plant Biotechnology Consortium for her innovative work on alternative crops. She was the Director of the Targeted Metabolomics Laboratory and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2016. Dr. Alonso uses innovative approaches to address Global Challenges related to food and energy security. She is seen as an emerging leader in the production of highly-valuable fatty acids using alternative crops.




Toulouse Scholar Award

John G. Peters


John Peters is a University Distinguished Research Professor who works on early 20th-century British literature, particularly the writings of Joseph Conrad. He is past President of the Joseph Conrad Society of America and current General Editor of the journal Conradiana, for which he received The Council of Editors of Learned Journal’s 2017 Phoenix Award. Professor Peters has published over fifty articles and notes and has authored or edited thirteen books, including Conrad and Impressionism, a Choice Outstanding Academic Title, The Cambridge Introduction to Joseph Conrad, Joseph Conrad’s Critical Reception, The Oxford Historical Guide to Joseph Conrad, and an edition of Conrad’s The Secret Sharer and Other Stories, part of the prestigious Norton Critical Editions series. Professor Peters has also translated the Japanese poet Takamura Kôtarô’s The Chieko Poems and received a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities to translate Takamura’s earlier book, Journey. In 2018, Professor Peters received the UNT Foundation’s Eminent Faculty Award.




Research Leadership Award

John G. Peters




Teaching Awards 


University Distinguished Teaching Professor

Gloria C. Cox

Political Science

This year marks three decades since Gloria Cox joined the faculty of the Department of Political Science. She views it as an honor to be part of this wonderful department and to have had the opportunity over the years to teach thousands of students about American and Texas government. Her scholarly interests are in the area of the First Amendment and free expression, especially as they pertain to college and university campuses, and she also teaches a course on the subject. A highlight of her tenure at UNT is her role in establishing UNT’s Honors College, which she served for almost ten years as Founding Dean. In fact, the Honors College will celebrate its fifteenth anniversary in August of this year. When she thinks back to great moments in her UNT Life, the one that stands out most vividly from the others came in 2009 when she received the ‘Fessor Graham Award. She also wanted to say that this award for which she is being recognized tonight means more to her than words could ever express. She considers it a privilege to teach and do her best for her students.  Of her teaching, she says she follows the idea that there is no such thing as a lesson that cannot be improved and that she tries always to remember that kindness is free.




University Distinguished Teaching Professor

Margie Tieslau


Margie Tieslau teaches econometrics and serves as the graduate advisor in the Department of Economics. Teaching and student mentoring are truly her passions. 

While at UNT, Margie has won a number of teaching awards including the "Fessor Graham," "University Honor Professor," and "J. H. Shelton Teaching" awards, and she was nominated for the "Minnie Stevens Piper" and "CLASS Advisory Board" teaching awards. But the accomplishments of which she is most proud do not come with a name or a title. They are measured by the looks on the faces of her former students who, after having been out in the "real world," tell her how much of an impact she has had on their lives and thank her for all that she has done for them. She takes great pride in watching her little baby eagles grow into magnificent birds who soar majestically from the nest and go on to live great lives.




University Distinguished Teaching Professor

Robert K. Upchurch


Robert Upchurch is an associate professor of English who specializes in the literature of early medieval England and delights in shedding light on the Dark Ages (which weren’t). A notable low point as a teacher was a student’s surprise and disappointment that his Old English course would not cover the plays of Shakespeare, whose language was ‘old’ and ‘English’ but not Old English. His highest praise came when a student addressed him in class as ‘Dr. Chaucer’. If he teaches well, it is because he has been well taught by teachers whose deep knowledge of their subjects was richly complemented by personalities brimming with generosity, humor, and humility. They taught him to value making accessible his research on Old English sermons and saints’ lives, and making palpable the joy of asking questions whose answers elucidate a world long past and, sometimes surprisingly, ours today. The generosity and mentorship of his colleagues and the sheer gameness of his students underlie his recognition as a J. H. Shelton award winner, a finalist for the CLASS award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and as a President’s Council Teaching Award nominee. He is honored to join the ranks of Distinguished Teaching Professors at UNT.




J.H. Shelton Excellence in Teaching Award

Sheri J. Broyles

Mayborn School of Journalism

Sheri Broyles has been called a renaissance woman, perhaps because she has three degrees in three totally different areas — a performance degree in music, a master’s degree in journalism and a Ph.D. in psychology. She worked professionally with a symphony orchestra and then as a copywriter at an advertising agency before finding her way to academe. She now teaches advertising to the next generation. She has received Scripps Howard Teacher of the Year from the Scripps Howard Foundation, J.H. Shelton Excellence in Teaching and Distinguished Teaching Professorship from the University of North Texas. She has written Advertising account planning: New strategies in the digital landscape. She also received the Outstanding Service Award, for 12 years as co-coordinator of the Advertising Division Pre-Conference Teaching Workshop, Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication. Served on the Elected Standing Committee on Teaching, Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication, for six years, including as chair of the committee. She has moderated two plenary sessions in those six years: Teaching in the Age of Entitlement and Lake Wobegon meets grade inflation: Are all our students above average?




President's Council Teaching Award

Christopher Fuhrmann


Christopher Fuhrmann, an associate professor in the History Department, grew up Kentucky and earned degrees in Classics and History from the University of Kentucky.  In 2005 he received his PhD in History from UNC-Chapel Hill and joined UNT later that year. He is the author of Policing the Roman Empire, by Oxford University Press, in 2011. Fuhrmann is the adviser for the Classical Studies minor and teaches both Latin and history courses on ancient Greece, Rome, ancient Judaism, and early Christianity. He has also co-led UNT study abroad programs to Italy eight times. Dr. Fuhrmann's current research involves Roman law and private security (including religion and folk beliefs regarding self-protection). He has presented his research at scholarly venues in the USA, Canada, Germany, Italy and the UK. 




President's Council Teaching Award

Priscilla Solis Ybarra


Priscilla Solis Ybarra is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of English at the University of North Texas. Her book Writing the Goodlife: Mexican American Literature and the Environment  was chosen for the 2017 Thomas J. Lyon Award in Western American Literary and Cultural Studies and was selected as a finalist for the 2017 Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) Ecocriticism Book Award. She is co-editor of the new volume titled Latinx Environmentalisms: Place, Justice, and the Decolonial, published by Temple University Press in November 2019. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Aldo and Estella Leopold Writing Program in Albuquerque, NM. She has been elected to serve terms on the Executive Council of ASLE, on the Executive Committee of the Western Literature Association, and on the Board of Directors for Orion Magazine. She also serves on the Advisory Board for Latina/o and Mexican American Studies and on the Executive Committee for Women’s and Gender Studies at UNT. Her current book project is titled Who Stole the Planet?: Colonization, Capital, and Enslavement, and she’s writing an essay about the Mexican American and environmental legacy of the Leopold family.




'Fessor Graham Award

Amie Lund

Biological Sciences





Outstanding Online Teacher & Course Award

Roxanne N. Long

Applied Arts and Science

Dr. Roxanne Long’s experience spans over twenty years in education with extensive background in pedagogy. Throughout her tenure, she has thrived on student-centered education. A true generalist, it is with pride that Dr. Long holds the role of Senior Lecturer within the multi-disciplinary Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences program. Previously honored as a UNT inspirational instructor, Dr. Long builds and revises courses with students in mind. Recently, Dr. Long presented a unique teaching technique of student-lead dialogue at the Lily Evidenced-Based Teaching Conference.  Team-Based Learning exemplifies another teaching method of particular mention that Dr. Long employs in the classroom, with service to the cross-campus collaborative and UNT sponsored Team-Based Learning conference. With additional research in student college completion, Dr. Long’s efforts in and out of the classroom surround student retention.  Dr. Long will continue to strive for the very best in pedagogy both from a theoretical and practical standpoint.  A Ph.D earned from UNT later in her career, Dr. Long absolutely loves the Mean Green and the student base we service.



2019 Piper Professor Nominee

Nancy L. Stockdale


Nancy L. Stockdale is an Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History in the UNT History Department, which she joined in 2006. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She is the author of the book, Colonial Encounters Among English and Palestinian Women, 1800-1948, and is currently finishing another book about representations of the Middle East in British and American entertainment since the 19th century. Nancy is also editing a collection about foodways in the Middle East and North Africa. She recently published a well-received chapter analyzing the life and music of Freddie Mercury, which she is expanding into a series of essays. She is the 2016 winner of the UNT President's Council Teaching Award, and she is continually working to innovate her classes - both face-to-face and online - in ways that help our students understand how the global past informs their contemporary lives. When she's not working, Nancy enjoys spending time with her family, taking photographs (especially with historical analogue cameras and film), playing with her dogs, traveling to new places, exploring cuisines, and enjoying the outdoors. 



Adjunct Award for Teaching Excellence

Brittany Hale

Communication Studies



 Service Awards 


Ulys & Vera Knight Faculty Mentor Award

William E. Acree Jr.


Bill Acree joined the UNT Chemistry Department in 1988 after having taught for six years at Kent State University.Bill has served as Chair of the Chemistry Department for six years, and is currently co-advisor for the undergraduate chemistry majors. Bill has published over 875 peer-refereed research articles, plus 7 scientific monographs, several book chapters and encyclopedia articles.  Approximately half of these publications have been co-authored by the 25 doctoral-level and masters-level graduate students, and 230 undergraduate and high school students who performed research in his chemistry laboratory during the past 38 years.  Bill takes great pride in the accomplishments of the students that he has mentored, many of whom have received competitive national awards and have gone on to very prestigious professional careers.

Bill is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Chemistry and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, is co-editor of the Journal of Chemical Thermodynamics, and serves on the editorial advisory boards of more than a dozen scientific journals.  He is a philatelist, and enjoys Harry Potter and Star Wars movies and books.  One of his future goals is to publish at least one peer-refereed paper in six consecutive decades.




Citation for Distinguished International Service Award

Doug Henry


Our Distinguished International Service Award Member is Doug Henry; he has been a member and advocate-scholar in the Anthropology Department and the UNT community for 17 years.  Though he loves Denton, and UNT students, and has learned to tolerate the North Texas Region, he is occasionally struck by severe cases of wanderlust, which is likely the foundation of his qualifications for this award.  He himself is a former Peace Corps volunteer from West Africa, and has relished taking UNT students on study abroad experiences to Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Mongolia, Fiji, and Morocco. 

Based on his own interests in global health and development (he was involved in consolidating culturally appropriate responses to the 2014 Ebola epidemic), all of his trips to some degree have focused on social and economic challenges and opportunities, and fostering situations where UNT students could be put front and center with everyday people.  He has favored an Internship model, placing UNT students with internships at local non-governmental organizations or with Peace Corps Volunteers, to accompany their academic work.  His graduate students now work around the world, from East and Central Africa to South and Southeast Asia, to the Caribbean. 




President's Council University Service Award

Clark Pomerleau


Clark A. Pomerleau is associate chair of the History Department and an associate professor. He learned to value service from his parents and carries on their tradition by volunteering at work, for his profession, and in Denton. Recently Clark helped facilitate institutionalizing the new CLASS college requirements, the Body, Place, and Identity doctoral concentration in History, and new requirements for the LGBT Studies minor. Clark’s service leadership includes membership on the executive committees and hiring searches for History and Women’s and Gender Studies. He concentrates on what furthers diversity, equity, and inclusion to support people’s feeling of belonging. These values tie into his classroom goals and publishing such as his book, Califia Women, about feminist diversity training or his chapters in the first open access LGBTQ Studies textbook. Outside of work, Clark volunteers on the board of two local nonprofits where his teaching experience helps children and adults’ bond over a martial art and he furthers a welcoming community for a fellowship that values the inherent worth and dignity of all people.