Past Recipients

Past Presidential Award for Faculty Excellence Recipients

2022 Recipients

Faculty Excellence in Teaching

Steven Burmeister
Assistant Professor, Forensic Science Program

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Steven Burmeister is an assistant professor (term instructional faculty) in the forensic science program in the College of Science. He joined the Mason faculty in 2016 after a nearly 40-year career as a forensic scientist, including 23 years as a field agent with the FBI. He uses his career experiences to create real-life forensic experiences for his students. In his “Trace Evidence” class, for example, he designed a moot court testimony assignment in which students present their analysis as an expert witness and testify in court, examined by both a prosecutor and a defense attorney, roles played by other forensic science faculty. Burmeister has collaborated with Mason’s Department of Police and Public Safety so students can gain field experience, and he leverages his FBI connections to create research opportunities for Mason students.

 Joanna Jauchen
Associate Chair for Teaching, Mathematical Sciences

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Joanna Jauchen is a term instructional faculty member in mathematics in the College of Science, and the associate chair of teaching and equity. At Mason since 2012, she has mentored and trained other faculty members and has been extraordinarily active in course development. Jauchen runs a weekly teaching seminar for faculty and graduate students that focuses on the principles of equitable active learning. Before the pandemic, she was already leading efforts within her department to develop online courses; after the pandemic began, she provided formal training and informal assistance to many of her colleagues as they moved their courses online. Active in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Jauchen has developed innovative methods and authentic assessments, tailored to math education, for gauging student learning, and has written and presented about STEM equity issues.


John Toups Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Teaching

Girum Urgessa
Associate Professor, Civil, Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering

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Girum Urgessa, an associate professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering (CEIE) in the College of Engineering and Computing, came to Mason in 2007 tasked with developing a curriculum in structural engineering, directing the program, teaching most of the classes in it, and promoting its enrollment growth. He has developed a passionate following among CEIE students, who describe him as a clear, stimulating, engaging instructor who takes time to know them as individuals. He has also made a point of involving both graduate and undergraduate students in his own research projects and has co-authored publications with many of them. He received the Professor of the Year award from Mason’s Student Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (2008), the University Teaching Excellence Award (2015), and the Chi Epsilon Cumberland District James M. Robbins Excellence in Teaching Award (2020). He wrote two textbooks on licensure preparation, has presented scholarship on the lack of diversity among faculty in his field, taught curriculum development to faculty abroad, and is supporting efforts to advance the role of diversity, equity and inclusion in workforce development in structural engineering. 


Faculty Excellence in Research

Shannon Fyfe
Assistant Professor, Philosophy

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Shannon Fyfe, an assistant professor of philosophy in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and a Fellow of the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, brings the methodology and perspectives of her discipline to analyze a broad range of social and legal issues, including genocide, hate speech, sexual violence and consent, immigration, and mass incarceration. At Mason since 2018, Fyfe has been published in a variety of prestigious journals in several academic disciplines. Drawing upon her legal training, she has co-authored a book on the concept of “just war.” She has been invited to present her work at lectures and conferences around the world, including Myanmar, The Hague, Japan, India, Mexico, and Cambodia. She has also established a high profile as a public philosopher, with work published by the Washington Post, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and The Hill. 

 Kun Sun
Associate Professor, Information Sciences and Technology

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Kun Sunan associate professor in the Department of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) in the College of Engineering and Computing and associate director of the Center for Secure Information Systems, produces research in cybersecurity that has been widely adopted within industry and government agencies. He developed a security patch dataset that companies have used to enhance their software supply-chain security, as well as a security defense prototype on cyber decoy and deception that has been installed at the Naval Surface Warfare Center. At Mason since 2010, Sun has attracted $4.5 million in grant money from federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland Security. His publications have resulted in more than 3,400 citations. Sun has won two best paper prizes at conferences in his field and has been active as a mentor to PhD students. 


The Beck Family Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Research

David Weisburd
Distinguished Professor, Criminology, Law, and Society

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David Weisburd, a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society, housed in the in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the founder and executive director of Mason’s Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policyhas promoted a shift in the focus of criminology from the individuals’ backgrounds and motivations to “place-based policing.” This has focused crime prevention efforts on specific geographic “hot spots” rather than reactive, arrest-based strategies. At Mason since 2008, Weisburd has published more than 200 articles and 30 books and has been cited more than 30,000 times; by this measurement, he is the second-most influential criminologist in the world. He is a pioneering figure in the field of experimental criminology, having founded two journals and a new division of the American Society of Criminology in this field. He has received several prestigious international awards, including the Stockholm Prize and the Israeli Rothschild Prize, and he recently became the first university professor to receive the Sir Robert Peel Medal for Outstanding Leadership in Evidence-Based Policing, from the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology. Under Weisburd’s leadership, the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy has brought in $27 million in grant funding over the past decade. 


Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion

Cameron Harris
Assistant Area Chair and Associate Professor, Business Foundations

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Cameron Harris (BA Integrative Studies ’06), an assistant professor in the School of Business, has co-led a year-long effort to incorporate issues relating to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) into the school’s curriculum and faculty hiring process. At Mason since 2015, Harris was recognized by University Life’s Student Involvement Office as the Student Organization Advisor of the Year. He also is a faculty advisor to the Black Student Alliance. Harris participated in the Diversity and Inclusion Summit and the Anti-Racism Teaching Excellence committee, the latter of which resulted in the formation of an Anti-Racism Teaching Excellence implementation team, on which he also serves. Recently, he joined the social justice and advocacy working group of the Mason Chooses Kindness initiative and has also served for three years on the leadership team of the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) project.


United Bank Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion

Lauren Cattaneo
Associate Professor, Psychology

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Lauren Cattaneoa clinical/community psychologist and an associate professor in the Department of Psychology in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, has established the Lab for Community REACH (Resilience, Empowerment, Action, Change) in which she and her students use psychological research findings to help community organizations improve the lives of marginalized populations. She and two collaborators received a Curriculum Impact Grant to create an interdisciplinary minor devoted to social justice and mass incarceration. Cattaneo teaches a class at a prison, where Mason students learn alongside incarcerated students. Cattaneo served as a faculty fellow for Diversity, Inclusion and Well-being in the Office of Faculty Affairs and Development, developing and piloting a course on “Creating a Just Society” that has served as the foundation of Mason’s broader curricular efforts. She has served on the Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence (ARIE) Task Force.

Faculty Excellence in Social Impact

Earle C. Williams Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Social Impact

Louise Shelley
Omer L. and Nancy Hirst Endowed Chair and University Professor, Schar School of Policy and Government

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Louise Shelley is the Omer L. and Nancy Hirst Endowed Chair and a University Professor in the Schar School of Policy and Government. She is also the director of the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC), which she founded when she came to Mason in 2007. Shelley has written 17 books and more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. Her mainstream outreach efforts extend the social impact of her scholarship and inform those who can influence policy or carry out reform efforts. Shelley routinely advises congressional members and staff, as well as international organizations such as NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the World Bank. After she published A Dark Commerce: How a New Illicit Economy is Threatening our Future, prominent environmental groups approached her to lead public outreach efforts on the security risks caused by transnational environmental crime. She also founded the Anti-Corruption Advocacy Network (ACAN), which fosters communication among academics, government and multinational bodies on the issue of financial corruption. This group contributed to the successful passage of the Corporate Transparency Act and the National Defense Authorization Act.

2021 Recipients

The John Toups Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Teaching

Melissa Broeckelman-Post
Basic Course Director and Associate Professor, Communication

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Melissa A. Broeckelman-Post is the Basic Course Director and an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and a Senior Scholar in the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being at George Mason University.  She earned a B.A. in English, a Graduate Certificate in Technical Writing and Professional Communication, and M.A. in Speech Rhetoric and Communication from Kansas State University.  She earned a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Ohio University and was an Assistant Professor and Basic Course Coordinator and T.A. Supervisor at California State University, Los Angeles, for four years before beginning her faculty role at Mason.

As Basic Course Director in Communication, Dr. Broeckelman-Post is responsible for planning, supervising, assessing, and improving the communication courses that meet the general education requirement at GMU.  Each year, she is responsible for recruiting, training, and supervising a staff of 40-60 instructors who teach 3500-4000 undergraduate students per year in these courses.  As part of this role, she also established the Communication Center in 2018, which will become part of the new Lab for Writing and Communication in Fall 2021.  In 2016, her program was the recipient of the NCA Basic Course Division Program of Excellence Award, which recognizes introductory communication course programs that can serve as best practice models for programs across the country.  In 2015, she was the recipient of the NCA Basic Course Division Textbook of Distinction Award for the textbook that she extensively adapted to meet the specific needs to GMU’s students, instructors, and program.  Dr. Broeckelman-Post also served as the co-chair of the Social Science Research Council’s Measuring College Learning Project Panel on Public Speaking and was a co-recipient of a National Communication Association Advancing the Discipline Grant for A National-Level Assessment of Core Competencies in the Basic Communication Course.   

Dr. Broeckelman-Post’s research includes applied and integrative research that helps to answer key questions about how to most effectively communicate in the classroom (instructional communication) and how to most effectively teach communication skills (communication education), at times by borrowing from and intersecting with research in other disciplines. Most of this research is also done to answer practical questions about how we can best serve our students in the introductory course and to test innovations that directly shape what we do in the classroom.  Broeckelman-Post is the co-author of 33 peer-reviewed journal articles and three national communication textbooks, Inclusive Public Speaking, The Speaker’s Primer, and Communication Pathways, and serves on the editorial boards of Communication Education (currently as Consulting Editor for Forums), Communication Teacher, The Basic Communication Course Annual, and Journal of Communication Pedagogy.  

Dr. Broeckelman-Post has served on George Mason University’s Faculty Senate since 2014 and has served on the Executive Committee and as Chair of Nominations since 2018.  She has served on the Mason Core Committee since 2013, and has served as co-chair of that committee since 2013.  Additionally, she has served on the Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Curriculum and Pedagogy Subcommittee, the ADVANCE Advisory Committee, the Faculty Interests Working Group for Online University Expansion, and many other committees, task forces, and working groups. She was elected Chair for the 2021-2022 academic year.

The Beck Family Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Research & Scholarship

Amarda Shehu
Professor, Computer Science

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Amarda Shehu is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at George Mason University. Reflecting her deeply interdisciplinary research and scholarship, Amarda also holds affiliate appointments in the department of Bioengineering and the School of Systems Biology. She is one of the founders and Co-Directors of the Center for Advancing Human-Machine Partnerships (CAHMP), a Transdisciplinary Center for Advanced Study. Amarda received her Ph.D. in Computer Science at Rice University in 2008. Trained in a dual mentorship program as an NIH pre-doctoral fellow, bridging Artificial Intelligence and the Biological Sciences, Amarda joined Mason with an intrinsic broad view of computing, interdisciplinary research, scholarship, education, and beyond-the-classroom mentorship.

Amarda’s research and scholarship span the computer science and diverse communities in engineering, social and behavioral sciences, life sciences, cellular and molecular biology, biophysics, computational biology, bioinformatics, and more. Her research contributions regarding human biology and health include powerful algorithmic frameworks that conduct biology in-silico at spatio-temporal scales previously impossible, elucidate the molecular basis of human disorders, such as cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, and cardiomyopathies, predict which mutations result in pathologies, and generate novel drug-like molecules in silico to aid therapeutic treatment. Because of her unwavering principle that real-world problems, despite their complexity, yield advances to computer science, Amarda has made significant fundamental contributions in artificial intelligence research. Her work has been disseminated in 150 research articles and has been featured in journal issue covers, newspaper and magazine articles, GMU-TV, and Mason Spirit.

The impact of Amarda’s research has been recognized through many funding awards from the National Science Foundation, state agencies, and foundations. Amarda has also been recognized at Mason for her research and scholarship through the 2019 Outstanding Researcher Award in the Department of Computer Science, the 2014 Mason Emerging Researcher/Scholar/Creator Award, and the 2012 Young Faculty Research Award in the Department of Computer Science. Amarda is highly active in engaging undergraduate and high-school students in her research and has been recognized for these efforts through the 2013 Mason OSCAR Undergraduate Mentor Excellence Award. She has also earned the 2018 George Mason University Teaching Excellence Award. In addition, Amarda is deeply integrated in everything Mason. In 2017, she was recognized by the Department of Statistics with a Distinguished Service Award.

Amarda is deeply committed to interdisciplinary research and mentoring of assistant professors, junior researchers, and students to advance Mason’s mission of excellence and research of consequence. In particular, she cares deeply about her students. Guided by the deep conviction that everyone can participate and contribute to the advancement of science and knowledge, Amarda integrates in her research activities students of all backgrounds and levels, postdoctoral, graduate, undergraduate, and high-school students. She has co-authored several research articles with undergraduate and high-school students, some even in first-authorship capacity. Her students have also won numerous research and scholarship awards over the years, and Amarda takes double pride in these awards. Amarda is also deeply dedicated to diversity and equity and is a Diversity Champion in the College of Engineering and Computing.

Amarda has earned the recognition of her community and frequently organizes IEEE and ACM conferences, as well as thematic collections and issues in in top journals. She serves as Associate Editor of various high-impact journals and chairs the steering committee of the ACM/IEEE Transactions in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics journal. She is currently also serving as a Program Director (under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act) in the Information and Intelligent Systems division in the Directorate of Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering at the National Science Foundation.

Jagadish Shukla
Distinguished University Professor and
Director, Climate Dynamics Program

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Jagadish Shukla is a Distinguished University Professor at George Mason University (GMU). He was the Founding Chairman of the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Earth Sciences (AOES), the Founding Director of the Climate Dynamics PhD Program, and the Founding Director of the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA).

His early research showed that in spite of the chaotic nature of the climate system and the butterfly effect, and the limits of the predictability of daily weather, it is possible to predict monthly and seasonal averages of climate because of the influence of the underlying ocean and land boundary conditions and their interactions with the atmosphere. His research led to the notion of predictability in the midst of chaos and established a scientific basis for dynamical seasonal prediction which are now being made routinely worldwide helping society manage agricultural and economic activities and save lives and property.

His research showed the importance of land surface processes in climate variability and predictability which has led to numerous research programs, field experiments, and space-missions. His proposal and demonstration of the feasibility of retrospective analysis of past atmospheric observations using state of the art data assimilation systems has now become an important component of climate diagnostic research.

His other scientific contributions include dynamics and predictability of monsoons, Amazon deforestation, desertification and reforestation in Sahel, and seamless prediction of weather and climate.

He was a Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Chang which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Vice President Gore. He is author/coauthor of over 250 scientific papers and Ph.D. thesis advisor for more than 25 students at MIT, the University of Maryland, and the George Mason University. He was member or chair of more than 50 national and international research programs and committees including the Joint Scientific Committee for the World Climate Research Program. He was a member of India’s Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change, and India’s delegation to the Paris Climate Conference. He was a member of the Virginia Governor’s Climate Commission in 2008 (Governor Kaine) and 2014 (Governor McAuliffe). He has helped establish weather and climate research institutions in the US, India, Italy, and Korea. His work in India helped modernize India’s weather prediction enterprise.

He is an Honorary Member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), Fellow of AMS, and an Associate Fellow of the Academy of Sciences of the Developing World (TWAS). He has received the Walker Gold Medal of the India Meteorological Society, the Rossby Medal of the AMS, and the International Meteorological Prize of the World Meteorological Organization, each considered to be the highest scientific recognition in India, the USA, and the world, respectively. He has received the Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal of NASA. He has received a national award, the “Padma Shri” from the President of India.

He had a modest beginning. Born in a village without roads and electricity, he received his primary education under a large Banyan tree and walked three miles barefoot to attend middle school and high school which had no science education. Later he received his B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. from Banaras Hindu University in India, and Sc.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He remains deeply connected with the village of his birth in India where he has established Gandhi College for improving the educational status and general well-being of young women in that rural area. 

The United Bank Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion

Christy Pichichero
Associate Professor of French and History, 
CHSS Director of Faculty Diversity

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Dr. Christy Pichichero (A.B. Princeton University; B.M. Eastman School of Music; Ph.D. Stanford University) is Associate Professor of French and History and Director of Faculty Diversity in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. She holds affiliations with the Women and Gender Studies and War and the Military in Society Programs and is the founder of the Critical Race Theory Group at Mason’s Center for Humanities Research. She is the President of the Western Society for French History. 

Dr. Pichichero's first book, The Military Enlightenment: War and Culture in the French Empire from Louis XIV to Napoleon (Cornell, 2017; paperback 2021, Chinese translation, forthcoming) was a finalist for the Oscar Kenshur Book Prize. Her articles on Critical Race Theory, pedagogy, early modern philosophies of language and aesthetics, theater and drama, and cultures of war have appeared in venues such as French Historical Studies, Modern Language NotesRenaissance DramaStudies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, and H-France Salon. She has held fellowships at the Stanford Humanities Center, the University of Cambridge (King’s College), the École Normale Supérieure (Paris), West Point Military Academy, and the Society of the Cincinnati. She was recently awarded the 2021-2022 Visiting Research Fellowship at the Centre for French History and Culture at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She is on the editorial boards of Oxford University Studies in the EnlightenmentEighteenth-Century Fiction, and La Revolution Française.   

Known as “Dr. P” to many students across campus, Dr. Pichichero is deeply engaged in anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion work at Mason, in her academic disciplines, in higher education, and in society more broadly. She is a public intellectual dedicated to fostering social justice and was recently featured on National Public Radio (NPR), NBC NewsForbesThe Hill: Changing AmericaC-SPAN, and Authority Magazine. At Mason, she serves on the Academic Programs, Diversity, and University Community (APDUC) committee of the Board of Visitors, is co-chair of the University Policies and Practices Committee of the Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence (ARIE) task force, and is co-lead of the Inclusive Excellence Plan in CHSS. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Society for French Historical Studies and the Board of Directors of the Consortium on the Revolutionary Era and is an international delegate of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.  

Gerald L. R. Weatherspoon
Associate Professor of Chemistry and 
Chair, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

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Gerald L. R. Weatherspoon is an Associate Professor of Inorganic Chemistry, Department Chair, Chief Diversity Officer for Faculty in the College of Science, and a member of the President’s Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence (ARIE) Task Force, and a recipient of the 2015 Teaching Excellence Award.  Gerald joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at GMU in 1996.  In 2002, he became the first African American faculty member to gain tenure in STEM at the university.  Throughout his career, he has served as a champion to create an inclusive and diverse campus, which is reflective of the undergraduate student population.  He views his work in the areas of diversity and inclusion as a labor of love.

A few of his efforts for faculty include appointing Dr. Megan Erb as Associate Chair (the first female, who is also a term faculty professor) of the department, increasing diversity among adjunct, term, and tenure-stream faculty in the department; and hiring Elizabeth Foy as the Chemistry Preps Room Manager---the first Hispanic female to serve in such a high visibility and pressurized capacity in the department.

He has also worked tirelessly as a mentor and to be a beacon of light for all students.  He has served as the faculty advisor for the GMU chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) for the past 10 years; faculty advisor for the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students; faculty advisor and Graduate Advisor to the Rho Tau Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. at GMU; former faculty advisor to Immanuel Christian Fellowship (Korean); co-advisor for the Pre-Pharmacy Society; and a chemistry instructor for the summer STEM Bootcamp.

Recognizing the need for proper role models in undergraduate instruction and young leadership, Gerald selected and appointed outstanding female graduate students to serve as Head Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) in departmental teaching laboratories.  This small act awakened a fire in other female graduate students in the department, undergraduate majors and minors, and students enrolled in the lab courses.  Seeing someone that looked like them in leadership roles has given the female students a much-needed reaffirmation to remain in STEM.  The number of female chemistry majors now exceeds the number of males at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Gerald shares his love of inspiring students by reminding GTAs, faculty and staff, using the following quote---  “You have a unique opportunity to speak life or death into that student’s present and future.  Choose your words wisely, because they are looking to you for guidance; their parents have entrusted them in our care, and we must do our utmost to create learning environments and prepare them for win-win outcomes.” 

It was not until Gerald was nominated for a Teaching Excellence Award that he realized the impact that he was having on students across cultures and ethnicities.  An excerpt from a former student’s letter of support stated that he attributed his undergraduate success at GMU, his doctorate degree at Cornell, his confidence in his capabilities, etc. to the role that Gerald played, and continues to play, in his life. Gerald, unknowingly, had tapped into another dimension of diversity mentoring and inclusivity---first generation white male STEM majors whose parents did not go beyond middle school and high school.  The young man named his first child Robert, in order to honor Gerald. 

Gerald’s formative years of diversity and inclusion can be traced to mentors that, along with his mother, influenced him along the way:  summer instructors at Tougaloo College; undergraduate advisors at Jackson State University---Dr. Margaret Wodetzki and Dr. Richard H. Sullivan; Nora L. Briant (LLNL); Dr. Susan M. Kauzlarich (dissertation advisor) and Dr. William Jackson at UC-Davis); and Drs. Robert Cava (postdoc advisor) and Don Murphy at AT&T Bell Labs/Lucent Tehcnologies.  He was also a founding member of the Association of Black Lab Employees (ABLE) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

External to GMU, Gerald speaks to youth groups from socioeconomically disenfranchised groups, works alongside community groups that need STEM tutors and mentors, and speaks to student groups K-12.  He also recently served as a panelist for the webinar “Unspoken Truths:  Being Black in Education”.

Gerald is a proud member of Theta Tau Sigma chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated; a former Director of Education for the Eastern Region of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated; and recipient of educational and leadership awards from the fraternity and other civic organizations.

He earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Jackson State University and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California at Davis.

The Earle C. Williams Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Social Impact

Padmanabhan (Padhu) Seshaiyer
Professor of Mathematical Sciences and
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Science

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Dr. Padmanabhan (Padhu) Seshaiyer is a tenured Professor of Mathematical Sciences and serves as an Associate Dean in the College of Science, Director of the STEM Accelerator Program and the Director of COMPLETE (Center for Outreach in Mathematics Professional Learning and Educational Technology). From 2015-2017, he also served as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation in the Division of Mathematical Sciences. His research interests are in the broad areas of computational mathematics, scientific computing, computational biomechanics, STEM education and Design Thinking. In particular, his research in computational mathematics includes the development of new analytical techniques and efficient computational algorithms to obtain numerical solutions to differential equations describing multi-physics interactions. His research in computational biomechanics includes developing, extending and applying mechanics for the purposes of better understanding the physiology and pathophysiology of the human vascular system. Integrated with the research plan is a STEM education plan where the primary goal is to engage students and teachers at all levels to apply well-developed research concepts, to fundamental applications arising in the STEM disciplines.

As an expert in the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the NAE Grand Challenges, he has helped to build new curricular innovations, research programs and initiatives around these real-world contexts that have had a significant societal impact. Some examples of his work include developing STEM solutions to stop poaching of elephant tusks in Tanzania; understanding the influence of social behavior in the spread of infectious diseases; developing computational models to predict gang violence in Puerto Rico and; redesigning K-12 curriculum to enhance pedagogical practices of teachers through STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) education. Using his expertise in Design Thinking, he has also been successfully able to engage several students, faculty and community in transformational learning experiences via human-centered approaches to problem solving that has helped create several social entrepreneurs and agents of change.  On April 2, 2019, Padhu was awarded an honorary doctorate from Vrije Universiteit Brussel for "being a committed scientist who transcends the boundaries of their own disciplines and to personalities that have been at the frontiers of societal change.” Previous recipients of the honor have included the late former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela, noted Swedish diplomat and former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Hans Blix and famed French explorer and scientist Jacques Cousteau, among others.

During the last decade, Padhu initiated and directed a variety of educational programs including graduate and undergraduate research, K-12 outreach, teacher professional development, and enrichment programs to foster the interest of students and teachers in STEM at all levels. During this time he received multiple grants from several agencies, acquiring over $14 Million in grant funding (Federal – NSF, NIH, Whitaker; State – VDOE, SCHEV, TX ARP; Foundation – Battelle, Broadcom, BWGC, and Dominion) to promote multidisciplinary research, training and mentoring programs for students, teachers and faculty. He has mentored research projects for over 200 students at all levels; published over 125 peer-reviewed journal articles and proceedings and; authored two graduate texts (one in Numerical Analysis and another on mathematical modeling for teachers). In addition to his research accomplishments, Padhu contributed extensively to teaching and won several prestigious awards, including the President's Excellence Award in Teaching at two different institutions, the Programs that Work award from the Commonwealth several times and also has been nominated for the US Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) twice. In 2021, he was honored by the Virginia Secretary of Education with the NCWIT Equity in computing award that is given to exemplary formal and informal educators who play a pivotal role in promoting gender equity in computing. He has also developed global partnerships with over 20 countries for student and faculty exchange programs. He serves in multiple advisory and elected positions including, Councilor for the Mathematics and Computer Science Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research as well as the Vice-Chair of the US National Commission for Mathematics Instruction by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. He also currently serves as the National Chair for the Diversity Advisory Committee for the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. In 2020, he was selected by the International Science Council to a new international COVID-19 taskforce representing the United States to create new policies for the future of digital education, research and learning.

2020 Recipients

The John Toups Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Teaching

Jeff Offutt
Professor, Software Engineering

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Jeff Offutt has published over 190 refereed research papers, has an h-index of 67 (Google Scholar), and has received funding from many government agencies and companies. Offutt is currently co-PI on an NSF project on integrating Computer Science Standards of Learning into K-5 classrooms. He is also leading projects on making smart tests smarter and exploring the ramifications of minimal mutation. Recent projects include the Google-funded SPARC project, which created a new teaching model for CS1 and CS2 to increase scalability, retention, and diversity, while reducing cheating, and the Testing of Critical System Characteristics (TOCSYC) and PILOT projects at University of Skövde, Sweden. His current research interests include software testing, test automation, usable security, software engineering education, analysis and testing of web applications.

Offutt has received several major awards, including George Mason University’s Faculty Member of the Year in 2020 by GMU’s Alumni Association, the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia in 2019, and the George Mason University Teaching Excellence Award, Teaching With Technology, in 2013. He leads the MS in Software Engineering program at GMU, teaches Software Engineering courses at all levels and has developed new courses on several Software Engineering subjects, including web engineering, software testing, construction, design, usability, experimentation, and analysis. His textbook, Introduction to Software Testing, edition 2 (co-authored with Paul Ammann), was published by Cambridge University Press in January 2017 and is the leading worldwide textbook in software testing.

Offutt was editor-in-chief of Wiley’s Journal of Software Testing, Verification and Reliability from 2007 through 2019, co-founded the IEEE International Conference on Software Testing, Verification and Validation (ICST), was the first steering committee chair, and was Program Chair for ICST 2009. He also has served on dozens of conference program committees and been on the editorial boards for the Springer’s Empirical Software Engineering Journal (2006-), the Journal of Software and Systems Modeling (2002-), the Software Quality Journal (2002-), and IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering (2001-2005), is a regular reviewer for NSF and several major research journals, and has been invited to speak throughout the world. He has been involved as designer, builder, and director for many software proof-of-concept research systems, including muJava, coverage analysis web apps, Mothra, Godzilla, CBat, Mistix, Albert, CoupTest, and SpecTest, which have been used by thousands of software engineering researchers and educators. His inventions, including bypass testing and model-based testing, are used by thousands of software companies and embedded in widely used commercial tools such as Selenium. Offutt has made fundamental contributions to several software testing problems, including mutation, specification-based testing, model-based testing, automatic test data generation, object-oriented testing, input space partitioning, and testing of web applications. He has also published on software metrics, software maintenance, and software engineering education.

The Beck Family Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Research & Scholarship

Edward Maibach
Distinguished University Professor and
Founding Director, Center for Climate Change Communication

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Edward Maibach is a Distinguished University Professor at George Mason University and the Founding Director of Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication. Defining himself “first, foremost and always” as a public health professional, Ed’s exclusive focus since 2007 has been on climate change as the world’s most pressing threat to public health and wellbeing.

His research—funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA and private foundations—focuses on public understanding and engagement in climate change.  With Anthony Leiserowitz (Yale Program on Climate Change Communication), Ed co-directs the Climate Change in the American Mind polling project, a research program currently in its 12th year. The project is best known for identifying and tracking the ongoing evolution of Global Warming’s Six Americas—six groups of Americans with distinct views, behaviors and policy preferences regarding climate change. Insights from Climate Change in the American Mind polls led Ed to explore and develop various avenues to enhance public understanding and engagement in climate change. Notable examples include Climate Matters, and the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health

Climate Change in the American Mind surveys showed that most Americans see climate change as a distant threat—in space, time, and species—and that they trust TV weathercasters as a source of information about climate change.  In 2010, Ed and his colleagues conducted a pilot-test with the chief meteorologist at the CBS station in Columbia, SC, to see if climate reporting by TV weathercasters helps viewers develop a more realistic understanding of climate change as a local problem. The test proved to be highly successful. Ed and his colleagues (at Climate Central) have since developed Climate Matters into a nationwide climate reporting resource program, in English and Spanish, that now supports more than 950 TV weathercasters who work in more than 90% of America’s media markets—resulting in a more than 50-fold increase in on-air reporting about climate change by weathercasters since 2012.

Ed’s surveys also showed that while few Americans understand that climate change harms human health, a majority of American physicians in certain specialties (e.g., allergists, pulmonologists) say they are already seeing the health harms of climate change among their patients. In response, Ed and his Mason colleague Mona Sarfaty worked with medical societies to develop the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health—which currently has 29 national medical societies as members, representing nearly 2/3rd of all American doctors. Together, they are working to educate the public and policy makers about the health harms of climate change and the health benefits of climate solutions.

Ed earned his PhD in communication science at Stanford University, his MPH at San Diego State University, and his BA at University of California, San Diego.  Prior to coming to Mason, Ed served as Associate Director of the National Cancer Institute, Worldwide Director of Social Marketing at Porter Novelli, and Board Chairman for Kidsave International.  He is currently a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  Earlier this year, Ed and Anthony Leiserowitz were awarded the Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Change Communication.


The United Bank Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion

Cynthia Fuchs
Associate Professor of English and
Interim Director, Film at Mason

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Cynthia Fuchs (PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 1989) is the Interim Director of Film at Mason (CVPA) and Associate Professor of English (CHSS), as well as a faculty member in African and African American Studies (AAAS) and Sport and American Culture; she is an Executive Committee member for Women and Gender Studies (WGST) and a member of the Senior Leadership Committee for CHSS.

She is the creator and curator of the Visiting Filmmakers Series at Mason. 

Professor Fuchs is Contributing Editor for the weekly cultural studies magazine, PopMatters (she has been a writer and editor since 1999). She has also written reviews for  the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, Philadelphia Citypaper, Flow,, NPR, Time to Play MagazineMorphizm, Creative Loafing, and Common Sense Media. See her page at Rotten Tomatoes.

Professor Fuchs is a frequent jurist for the Gotham Independent Film Awards. She has spoken at AFI Docs, Smithsonian American Art Museum, DC's Cinema Club, Arlington Cultural Affairs and Arlington Arts, the Virginia Film Office at the Rosebud Independent Film Festival, the Goethe-Institut in DC, and the Washington International Jewish Film Festival. 

Professor Fuchs has published articles on war films, documentaries, TV and sports, Brad Pitt, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Shakira, Juvenile, Jay-Z, Gollum, Prince, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and the Iraq war in media images.

She has edited several essay collections, including Spike Lee Interviews (2002); Iraq War Cultures (2011); and Between the Sheets, in the Streets: Queer, Lesbian, Gay Documentary (Volume 1) (Visible Evidence) (1997).

The Earle C. Williams Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Social Impact

Jenice L. View
Associate Professor Emerita
Graduate School of Education

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Jenice View is an Associate Professor Emerita in the Graduate School of Education. Prior to joining the GMU faculty in 2005, Dr. View spent more than twenty years working with a variety of nongovernmental organizations to create space for the voices that are often excluded from public policy considerations: women, people of color, poor urban and rural community residents, and especially youth. She has also been an educator in a variety of classroom and community settings, including as a middle school humanities teacher at a DC public charter school, as the education and training director of a national environmental justice and labor organization, and as a professional development trainer of in-service classroom teachers.

She is a co-author of the 2020 book Antiracist Professional Development for Inservice Teachers,  co-editor of the 2020 book Teaching the New Deal, 1932-1941, co-editor of the 2012 book, Why public schools? Voices from the United States and Canada. She is also a co-editor of Putting the movement back into civil rights teaching (2004/2020), winner of the 2004 Philip Chinn award from the National Association of Multicultural Education and Honorable Mention from the Gustavus Meyers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights, and designated an "enduring classic" in 2011 by the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance. Her GMU-TV show, Urban Education: Issues and Solutions, has received multiple awards, including the 2012 Communicator of Distinction award, and the prestigious 2011 Gracie Award. Her work has received several grants, including a 3-year $1 million US Department of Education Teaching American History Grant for work in southwestern Mississippi; two multi-year grants from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation to Teaching for Change totaling $1.3 million; grants totaling over $60,000 from the US National Park Service for her work on Learning Historic Places with Diverse Populations; and a $4000 research grant from the GMU Provost's Office. She received the 2020 Earle C. Williams Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Social Impact, and the 2013 Faculty/Staff Vision Award from GMU’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Multicultural Education. She has presented workshops and presentations in a variety of national and international settings on the subjects of civil rights education, arts integration, popular education, labor education, environmental justice, and youth development. A native of Washington, DC, she has a B.A. in economics and international relations from Syracuse University, an MPA-URP in development studies and urban and regional planning from Princeton University, and a Ph.D. in education from the Union Institute and University.

2019 Recipients

The John Toups Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Teaching Recipient

Kathleen E. Wage
Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

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Kathleen E. Wage is an associate professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at George Mason University. Wage earned a BS in electrical engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1990, and an SM, EE, and PhD in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution joint program in 1994, 1996, and 2000, respectively. She joined Mason’s faculty in 1999.

Wage teaches linear systems and signal processing. She incorporates active learning in all her courses and mentors other faculty interested in using these techniques. With funding from the National Science Foundation, she and collaborator John Buck developed the Signals and Systems Concept Inventory (SSCI), a standardized exam designed to measure conceptual understanding of linear systems. The SSCI has been translated into Spanish and Chinese, and it is being used in the United States and overseas for formative assessment and accreditation. Instructors at 30 schools have administered the SSCI to thousands of students.

In addition to signal processing education, Wage’s research interests include array processing, random matrix theory, and underwater acoustics. As a part of her Office of Naval Research-funded efforts, she participates in deep-water propagation experiments. From 2009 to 2012, she spent 55 days at sea to deploy and recover equipment for a series of experiments in the Philippine Sea. During the PhilSea experiments, Wage and colleague Lora Van Uffelen developed a blog and videos to engage young women in ocean acoustics and engineering. Together, Wage and Van Uffelen were known as the Able Sea Chicks.

Wage has received a number of awards for teaching, including the 2016 Harriett B. Rigas Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Education Society and Hewlett-Packard for “championing active learning, developing an internationally recognized assessment instrument, and cultivating a sustainable and supportive environment for female engineering faculty.” Other teaching awards include the 2008 Mac Van Valkenburg Early Career Teaching Award from the IEEE Education Society, the 2016 Teacher of Distinction Award from George Mason University, the 2004 Outstanding Teaching Award from Mason’s Volgenau School of Engineering, and the 1994 Harold L. Hazen Teaching Award from MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Wage has received several awards for research, including the Office of Naval Research’s Young Investigator Award (2005) and Ocean Acoustics Entry-Level Faculty Award (2002). She is a member of the IEEE, the Acoustical Society of America, the American Society for Engineering Education, Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu, and Sigma Xi.

The Beck Family Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Research and Scholarship Recipient

Tyler Cowen
Holbert L. Harris Professor of Economics and Director, Mercatus Center

Photo of Tyler Cowen

Tyler Cowen is Holbert L. Harris Professor of Economics at George Mason University and director of the Mercatus Center. He received his PhD in economics from Harvard University in 1987. His book The Great Stagnation: How America Ate the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better (Dutton, 2011) was a New York Times best seller.

An Economist poll recently named Cowen as one of the most influential economists of the last decade. Several years ago, Bloomberg BusinessWeek dubbed him “America’s Hottest Economist,” and Foreign Policy magazine named him as one of its Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2011.

He co-writes a blog at, runs a podcast series called Conversations with Tyler, and has cofounded an online economics education project, His last book was Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero, just published in April.

He also attended George Mason University as an undergraduate, earning a BS in economics in 1983, and has very fond memories of his earlier time here.

The United Bank Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Recipient

Frederic Paul Bemak
Professor, Counseling and Development Program

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Frederic Paul Bemak received his undergraduate degree in psychology at Boston University and his master’s and doctoral degrees in counseling at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He is a professor in the Counseling and Development Program and founder and director of the Diversity Research and Action Consortium in the College of Education and Human Development. He also founded Counselors Without Borders and has taken teams to provide training, consultation, and counseling following disasters in New Orleans, Haiti, Thailand, Burma, California, Japan, and Puerto Rico.

Bemak’s activism in the civil rights movement coincided with him becoming a summer counselor in the federally funded University of Massachusetts Upward Bound Program, where he worked with diverse, low-income high school youth and families. Nine years later, he became one of the youngest directors of an Upward Bound program in the United States. Bemak’s civil rights and Upward Bound work created a foundation for his lifetime commitment to diversity and inclusion.

He has published extensively in the fields of cross-cultural and multicultural psychology and counseling, developing culturally responsive cross-cultural models to work with immigrants and refugees, survivors of natural disasters, and diverse and high-risk student groups. He is the coauthor of six books, including Social Justice Counseling: The Next Steps Beyond Multiculturalism and Counseling Refugees: A Psychosocial Approach to Innovative Multicultural Interventions.

Bemak is frequently invited to be a speaker, consultant, and trainer throughout the United States and internationally in more than 60 countries. The impact of his diversity work is evident with visiting professorships in Turkey, Brazil, Australia, and Mexico; a research scholar appointment in Taiwan; Fulbright awards in Brazil, Scotland, and Turkey; and an Honorary Distinguished Professorship from Amity University in India. Bemak also received a Kellogg Fellowship in International Leadership and Development to work throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and a World Rehabilitation Fund International Exchange of Experts Fellowship to undertake research in India.

A fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the American Counseling Association, Bemak was the recipient of the 2018 State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award. He has published more than 100 professional journal articles and book chapters and is most recently the coauthor of articles focused on challenges in promoting race dialogues in psychological training, culturally responsive counseling interventions dealing with refugee trauma, the psychological impact of terrorism on refugees, facilitating race dialogues in group psychotherapy, and culturally responsive models of intervention with modern-day refugees.

The United Bank Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Recipient

Rita Chi-Ying Chung
Professor, Counseling and Development Program

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Rita Chi-Ying Chung is a professor in the Counseling and Development Program at the College of Education and Human Development. She earned her doctorate in psychology from the Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. Chung is a child of immigrant and refugee parents, was a first-generation college student, and is the first New Zealand-born Chinese woman to earn a doctorate.

As a Chinese immigrant growing up in New Zealand, formerly a British colony, Chung had direct experiences witnessing the effects of colonialism, discrimination, and racism toward communities of color and the indigenous Maori population. As a result, she became motivated to advocate for marginalized populations. This lifelong commitment was reinforced by her parents, who instilled the values of human rights and giving back. She began working with immigrant and refugee populations in New Zealand in the 1980s. She was awarded a Medical Research Council (MRC) Oversea Fellowship to conduct her postdoctoral studies in the psychology department at the University of California, Los Angeles. The MRC’s support enabled her to continue working with migrant and refugee populations in the United States, conducting research and providing culturally responsive mental health services.

Chung garnered major National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grants that provided opportunities to give voice to migrant and other underserved communities related to psychological well-being, including an NIMH-funded grant to develop a conference on Southeast Asian Re-Education Camp Detainees (Vietnamese torture survivors) and Vietnamese Amerasians (children whose fathers were U.S. servicemen and mothers were Vietnamese). The conference was unique because it was the first U.S. conference on that topic, and it included members of each of those groups who shared their lived experiences and narratives.

Her work has expanded to include working with survivors of forced migration. Chung’s work on the sex trafficking of Asian women and girls led to an invitation to present at the United Nations. She is co-director of the nonprofit organization Counselors Without Borders, which provides mental health counseling to disaster survivors, such as those suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar (Burma), and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, as well as the wildfires in California, earthquake in Haiti, and tsunami in Thailand.

Chung teaches multicultural counseling, which includes difficult race dialogues and a counseling and social justice class that addresses human rights and social justice. She is the author of more than 100 publications, several books, and training videos that address diversity and inclusion issues. Chung was the recipient of the 2013 State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award.

The Earle C. Williams Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Social Impact Recipient

Christianne Esposito-Smythers
Professor, Department of Psychology

Photo of Christianne Esposito-Smythers

Christianne Esposito-Smythers joined the faculty at George Mason University in 2008 as an assistant professor of psychology. She was promoted to associate professor in 2012, appointed as the director of clinical psychology in 2017, and promoted to professor in 2018. She is also part of the adjunct faculty in the department of behavioral and social sciences at Brown University and a licensed clinical psychologist.

Prior to joining Mason’s faculty, Esposito-Smythers served as a faculty member for four years in the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She was an assistant professor (research) in the department of psychiatry and human behavior and a faculty member in the Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies.

Esposito-Smythers graduated summa cum laude with a BA in psychology and English from Lafayette College. She received her MS and PhD in clinical psychology from Virginia Tech. She completed three years of postdoctoral fellowship at Brown University.

Esposito-Smythers designs and tests treatment and prevention programs for adolescent suicidal behavior, substance abuse, and other high-risk behaviors. More recently, she has been disseminating this work to the local community. She has been awarded almost $14 million in research grants, as principal or co-investigator, from the National Institutes of Health, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and other sources. She is the author of more than 90 publications and 110 national and international presentations. She also sits on the Scientific Advisory Council for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and participates as an expert panelist in meetings sponsored by federal agencies focused on reducing youth suicide and alcohol abuse.

Esposito-Smythers engages in active suicide prevention efforts in her local community. She served as chair for the Fairfax County Youth Suicide Review Team, for which she was awarded a County of Fairfax Team Excellence Award. She has also served on the Mason Suicide Prevention Task Force, the Fairfax County Mental Health Promotion Team, and work groups for the Fairfax County Children’s Behavioral Health System of Care—where her work has included blueprint planning, depression assessment, and evidence-based practices.

She consults and delivers presentations and clinical workshops to local community agencies. In collaboration with community partners, she is leading the Fairfax Consortium for Evidence-Based Practice, which delivers training in evidence-based interventions for youth mental health difficulties to behavioral health clinicians. This is a scalable training model that she hopes to bring to the state level and beyond.

2018 Recipients

The John Toups Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Teaching Recipients

Linda Apple Monson
Distinguished Service Professor, School of Music

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Linda Apple Monson, International Steinway Artist, serves as the Director of the School of Music in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University. A Distinguished Service Professor, Monson was the honored recipient of the university’s Teaching Excellence Award (2009), recognized by the Mason Alumni Association as Faculty Member of the Year (2012), and received the prestigious Influential Women of Virginia Award (2014). Monson delivered two TEDx talks and received the Toastmaster’s International Communication and Leadership Award (2014). A professor at Mason since 1999, Monson has also served as Director of Music at Springfield United Methodist Church for many years. In honor of the extraordinary impact of Monson’s teaching and music leadership, multiple donors established the Dr. Linda Apple Monson Music Endowment Fund in 2011 for student scholarships in Mason’s School of Music.

A nationally recognized arts leader, Monson was recently elected to the National Association of Schools of Music Commission on Accreditation, the executive board granting accreditation for music programs at universities and conservatories across the nation. She was also selected for the Fulbright Senior Specialist Roster, in collaboration with the U.S. State Department and the Council for International Exchange of Scholars. Monson served as an International Juror of the Washington Piano Invitational Competition (2013) at the Kennedy Center and was named a Visiting Guest Professor at Nanjing Normal University, China (2010).

As an active performer-scholar and an internationally recognized master teacher, Monson attracts advanced student artists from around the world to her piano studio at Mason. She has given lecture-recitals, solo piano recitals, and piano master classes throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Australia. An advocate of new music, Monson has presented numerous world premieres of solo piano works. Her research has been featured in lecture-recitals at the College Music Society International Conferences in Sydney, Stockholm, Helsinki, Buenos Aires, Dubrovnik, Bangkok, Madrid, and San Jose. She has also given piano master classes internationally in Seoul, Oxford, Dublin, Nanjing, and Kuala Lumpur.

A recent $1 million scholarship commitment from Sid and Reva Dewberry to Mason’s School of Music established the Linda Apple Monson Scholars Fund. In September 2017, Monson was recognized when the Grand Tier III of Mason’s Center for the Arts was renamed in her honor. Monson earned three degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University and a Diploma in Piano from Musica en Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain. She is married to Dr. Keith L. Monson, a forensic scientist. The Monsons are blessed with two children, Kristofer and Linnea.

Patricia Miller
University Professor, School of Music

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Patricia Miller, University Professor of Music, College of Visual and Performing Arts, joined the George Mason University faculty in 1991. She received her Bachelor of Music from Boston University, her Master of Music from New England Conservatory, and, as a Fulbright scholar, her Artist Diploma from the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome. She completed advanced studies at the Schubert Institute in Baden-bei-Wien, Austria, and the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Miller has received awards and grants from the Metropolitan Opera, Kennedy Center, Urban League, and Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity, among others. She has received the Excellence in Teaching Award from Lambda Sigma Honor Society, Outstanding Career Achievement and Excellence in Teaching Award from Opera NOVA, Lifetime Achievement Award from Marquis Who’s Who, and the Sojourner Truth Award from Mason’s African and African American Studies and Women and Gender Studies Programs.

Miller is a distinguished international opera and concert artist and an esteemed music educator. Included in her extensive artistic career are performances with San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, Theatre Châtélèt Paris, Victoria State Opera (Melbourne), Arena di Verona (Italy), and Deutsche Oper (Berlin), among others. Her concert appearances include the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institution, and Library of Congress, and master classes and lecture recitals at universities and conservatories around the world, including Moscow State University, Kiev Conservatory, Hochschule für Musik in Weimar, Germany, and Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea.

Miller’s mentorship and passionate teaching impact her students by bringing real-world experience into the classroom and studio. For more than 20 years, her students have garnered top honors in state, regional, national, and international competitions, including First Place at the National Opera Association Collegiate Scenes Competition. She has trained extraordinary young artists at Mason who are now singing with major opera companies domestically and internationally, such as Washington National Opera and Netherlands Opera, the “President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band and U.S. Army Chorus, and a Tony Award-winning Broadway revival. Miller has provided Mason students opportunities to study and perform abroad in Italy, Germany, Russia, and Korea.

Miller has been instrumental in pioneering curriculum and programming development in the Vocal Studies division of the School of Music. Her teaching excellence and relationships in the community have fostered meaningful artistic collaborations, and generous scholarship and endowment support for Mason’s School of Music. She has served on the National Endowment for the Arts Opera Panel, the Board of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and the International Institute of Education Fulbright Committee. Miller serves as Director of Vocal Studies, and in 2007, the university’s Board of Visitors awarded her the distinction of University Professor.

The Beck Family Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Research and Scholarship Recipient

Thomas Lovejoy
University Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Policy,
College of Science

Photo of Thomas Lovejoy

Thomas Lovejoy is an innovative and accomplished conservation biologist who coined the term “biological diversity.” In 2010, he was elected University Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University.

He serves as senior fellow at the United Nations Foundation. He served as president of the Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment from 2002 to 2008 and was the biodiversity chair of the center from 2008 to 2013. Before assuming this position, Lovejoy was the World Bank’s chief biodiversity advisor and lead specialist for environment for Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as senior advisor to the president of the United Nations Foundation. Lovejoy has served on science and environmental councils under the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations.

Lovejoy’s seminal ideas have formed and strengthened the field of conservation biology. In the 1980s, he brought international attention to the world’s tropical rainforests, especially the Brazilian Amazon, where he has worked since 1965. In 1980, he produced the first projection of global extinctions for the Global 2000 Report to the president. Lovejoy also developed the now ubiquitous “debt-for-nature” swap programs and led the Minimum Critical Size of Ecosystems project, a forest fragmentation experiment now in its 39th year.

With two co-edited books (1992 and 2005), he has helped found the field of climate change biology. His and Lee Hannah’s new book, Climate Change and Biodiversity: Transforming the Biosphere, will be published in 2019. He also founded the series Nature, the popular long-term series on public television.

In 2001, Lovejoy was awarded the prestigious Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. In 2009, he was the winner of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the ecology and conservation biology category, and National Geographic appointed him a conservation fellow. In 2012, the Blue Planet Prize recognized his work.

From 2008 to 2013, he chaired the Scientific and Technical Panel (STAP) for the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which provides funding to developing countries to meet their obligations related to the international environmental conventions. Since then, he has served as senior advisor to the chair of STAP. He is currently serving as science envoy for the Department of State. Lovejoy holds BS and PhD (biology) degrees from Yale University.

The Earle C. Williams Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Social Impact Recipient

Stephen S. Fuller
Dwight Schar Faculty Chair and University Professor, Schar School of Policy and Government

Photo of Stephen S. Fuller

Stephen Fuller joined the faculty at George Mason University in 1994 as Professor of Public Policy and Regional Development. In September 2001, George Mason’s Board of Visitors appointed him University Professor. In July 2002, he was named to the Dwight Schar Faculty Chair and Director of the Center for Regional Analysis, and he served in this capacity until May 2015. In October 2016, he was appointed director of the Stephen S. Fuller Institute for Research on the Washington Region’s Economic Future.

Prior to joining the Mason faculty, he served on the faculty at George Washington University for 25 years, including nine as chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Real Estate Development and one as director of doctoral programs for the School of Business and Public Management.

Fuller received a BA in economics from Rutgers University (1962) and his doctorate in regional planning and economic development (1969) from Cornell University. He has authored more than 900 articles, papers, and reports in the field of urban and regional economic development including monthly reports on the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area since February 1991.

His recent research has focusing on the structure of the Washington metropolitan area economy, how this changed during the Great Recession, and how it will change going forward as its federal-spending dependency diminishes. His current research involves tracking the performance of the Washington region’s economy in 2018 and 2019 under President Trump’s recently enacted federal budget and tax reduction plans.

Fuller served on the Virginia Governor’s Joint Advisory Board of Economists through five administrations. He also is a member of the CFO Business Advisory Group of the District of Columbia. His international assignments have included Kazakhstan, Georgia, Hungary, China, and Portugal. He served on the board of directors of the D.C.-based Tompkins Builders Inc. from 2004 to 2012, and currently serves on the boards of the Global Environment and Technology Foundation, Year Up National Capital Region, and Northfield Mount Hermon School in Gill, Massachusetts, where he is the board chair.

The United Bank Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Recipient

Angela Hattery
Professor and Director, Women and Gender Studies

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Angela Hattery was born in Rochester, Minnesota. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology from Carleton College and her master’s and PhD in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is professor and currently serves as director of the Women and Gender Studies program at Mason.

The community where Hattery grew up wasn’t then and still isn’t very diverse. But her parents were committed to being sure that she was exposed to people from all different backgrounds, and family dinners were often attended by families of other races, religious traditions, and sexualities. Hattery is often asked when she first became a feminist. She recalls that though she didn’t have the language until college, she knew something was wrong when in the second grade her brownie troop was in the basement making crafts for badges while her brother, a boy scout, got to go polar camping. But, her real introduction to deep inequality in the United States was during her junior year in college when she spent a semester studying urban sociology and politics in Chicago. In one of the most segregated cities, her studies focused on the impact of widespread inequality, both race and class, on different communities, including white Polish families living on the near north side, Mexican and Cuban immigrants in Logan Square and Humboldt Park, and Blacks living on the famous South Side, but also in the projects of Cabrini Green and in devastatingly poor neighborhoods like Lawndale on the west side.

All of these experiences propelled Hattery to devote her personal and professional life to understanding inequalities, identifying their causes and proposing solutions. She has been teaching about race, class, and gender inequality for more than 20 years. And each semester she is encouraged by her students. Some already know a lot about inequality and her course merely provides them the tools to address it in their own professional lives. For others, her courses are the first time they have been confronted with these issues. For all of her students, the experiences of deeply studying inequality are transformative.

Professionally she is the author or co-author of 11 books, including her most recent book with Dr. Earl Smith, her research partner and spouse, Policing Black Bodies: How Black Lives are Surveilled and How to Work for Change.

2017 Recipients

The John Toups Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Teaching Recipient

Jill Nelson
Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

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Jill Nelson is an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at George Mason University, where she has been a faculty member since 2005. She earned a BS in electrical engineering and a BA in economics from Rice University in 1998. She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for graduate study, earning an MS and Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 2001 and 2005, respectively.

Nelson’s teaching interests include signals and systems, communication theory, and statistical signal processing and analysis. She incorporates interactive pedagogical approaches such as group problem solving and reflection in her courses, and she emphasizes the importance of connecting course material with real-world problems. Beyond the classroom, Nelson is a principal investigator for two National Science Foundation STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education research projects focusing on broadening the use of innovative teaching

practices in university science, math, and engineering courses. The aim of these projects is to use small long-term teaching development groups to motivate and support faculty in moving toward more student-centered instruction. In past engineering education research, she has studied how students transfer mathematical knowledge to engineering problems, as well as how students’ conceptual understanding of engineering material relates to their interest in and motivation for the eld.

Nelson’s disciplinary research lies in statistical signal processing, specifically detection and estimation for applications in sonar, target tracking, and physical layer communications. She also studies machine intelligence as it applies to automating active sonar and developing collaborative intelligent radio networks. Nelson’s work on active sonar is funded by the Office of Naval Research, and her cognitive radio research is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). She is a 2010 recipient of the NSF CAREER Award.

Nelson’s teaching accomplishments have been recognized with the 2014 Mac Van Valkenburg Early Career Teaching Award, given by the IEEE Education Society. She also received the George Mason University Teaching Excellence Award in 2014 and the Volgenau School of Engineering Outstanding Teaching Award in 2011. Nelson has been an invited participant in the National Academy of Engineering’s Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium and the Project Kaleidoscope STEM Leadership Institute. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu, the American Society for Engineering Education, and the IEEE Signal Processing, Communications, and Education Societies.

The Beck Family Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Research and Scholarship Recipient

Lance A. Liotta
University Professor, College of Science
Co-director, Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine

Photo of Lance A. Liotta

Lance Liotta is a University Professor in the College of Science. He received his MD and Ph.D. (Bioengineering) from Case Western Reserve University and fulfilled his residency at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he initiated a research program that, to date, has yielded more than 700 publications (Highly Cited Investigator), and more than 100 issued patents. At NIH, Liotta was chief of the Laboratory of Pathology, chief of the Section of Tumor Invasion and Metastasis, and deputy director of NIH under NIH Director Bernadine Healy.

He and Emanuel Petricoin of the FDA set up the first NIH/ FDA Clinical Proteomics Program. In 2005, Mason recruited Liotta and Petricoin, and their distinguished scientist team, to create and serve as co-directors of the Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine (CAPMM). The mission of CAPMM is to discover disease mechanisms, invent new technologies, educate the scientists of the future, and translate knowledge to help patients through prevention, early detection, and treatment.

Liotta has invented and patented, along with his laboratory co-inventors, high-impact technologies in the fields of diagnostics: microdissection (Laser Capture Microdissection), and proteomics (reverse phase protein microarrays, biomarker harvesting nanoparticles, preservation chemistries tissue, and protein painting to discover drug targets), that have been used to make broad discoveries. The Laser Capture Microdissection prototype is in the Smithsonian Collection. The CAPMM team applies these technologies too, for example, markers for early-stage disease, accurate diagnosis of Lyme disease (with Alessandra Luchini), individualized therapy for primary and metastatic cancer (with Mariaelena Pierobon and Julia Wulfkuhle), therapy of premalignant breast cancer as a strategy for prevention (with Virginia Espina), and an accredited CAP/CLIA diagnostic lab for patient testing.

Liotta has received numerous scientific awards including the Arthur S. Flemming Award, the NIH Award of Merit, the Surgeon General’s Medallion, and the 2015 Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. At Mason, Liotta has been a principal investigator on 12 NIH grants, three DOD cancer program awards, a Komen Breast Cancer Foundation award, the Walker Foundation award, the U.S.-Italy bilateral agreement award, and a Virginia Commonwealth award, and has served as a co-principal investigator on more than 16 other grants totaling more than $20 million in funding.

CAPMM (with Amy Adams) founded the Aspiring Scientists Summer Internship Program and the Galileo Science Café to promote science for the community and to inspire the next generation of scientists. CAPMM inventions licensed by Mason are the basis of two startup biotech companies, Ceres Nanoscience and Theranostics Health. Liotta emphasizes creativity and innovation in research and in education.

The Alcalde Family Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Recipients

Kevin A. Clark
Professor, Learning Technologies
Director, Center for Digital Media Innovation and Diversity

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Kevin Clark is a professor of Learning Technologies and the founding director of the Center for Digital Media Innovation and Diversity at George Mason University. His research focuses on the role of interactive and digital media in education, broadening participation in STEM, and issues of diversity in children’s media. Clark’s most recent research is a national study examining the Digital Lives of African American Tweens, Teens, and Parents. His research activities have been funded by such organizations as the National Science Foundation, Defense Acquisition University, Dell, Microsoft, the Entertainment Association Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Clark
is raising funds for his current project,, an online clipart gallery that will feature women and underrepresented groups engaged in STEM activities.

Prior to becoming a professor, Clark worked for an educational technology startup company, where he managed the design and development of educational video games targeting elementary children and schools. He also has extensive experience as a children’s media advisor and consultant for organizations such as Public Broadcasting Service, Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Cartoon Network, The Jim Henson Company, DHX Media, Disney Junior, Toca Boca, Hasbro, and Amazon Studios. Clark served as a consultant on the movie adaptation of Ezra Jack Keats’ iconic children’s book, The Snowy Day. Currently, he serves as CPB’s strategic advisor for diversity in Children’s Content Production, where he focuses on issues of diversity and inclusion in children’s television.

Clark has received numerous awards and honors, some of which include: being selected as a fellow for the 26th Annual Television Academy (Emmy) Foundation Faculty Seminar; being recognized by former President Barak Obama as a White House Champion of Change for his work in supporting and accelerating STEM opportunities for diverse students, schools, and communities; and serving as a member of the National Park Service Advisory Board’s Education Committee.

Clark holds both a BS and MS in computer science from North Carolina State University and a Ph.D. in instructional systems from Pennsylvania State University.

Wendi Manuel-Scott
Associate Professor, Art and Art History

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Wendi Manuel-Scott is director of the African and African American Studies Program and an associate professor of History and Art History. She received her Ph.D. in History from Howard University in Washington, D.C. Her scholarship and teaching explore the diverse processes that shape African American experiences—from Atlantic World slavery and Jim Crow segregation to systems of incarceration and black women’s resistance movements. Critical explorations of freedom and liberation inform her work with students, scholars, teachers, and the public at large.

The Virginia Foundation for Humanities and Public Policy and National Trust for Historic Preservation have supported Manuel-Scott’s more recent research on Antebellum and Jim Crow Virginia. One of her projects produced a long-running exhibit titled “Separate and Unequal in Bucking- ham County: Segregation and Desegregation in Virginia”; another project uncovered and narrated African American civic leadership in Falls Church, Virginia. With ve under-

graduate historians and colleague Benedict Carton, she is currently reconstructing the life stories of the enslaved people who worked on the plantation of George Mason, the 18th-century colonial patriot. Manuel-Scott and her team hope their archival discoveries will open a deeper discussion about our university’s namesake and inspire the creation of a campus memorial representing the humanity of the enslaved children of Gunston Hall, George Mason’s Fairfax home.

Manuel-Scott deeply values the power of historical memory as a tool to promote diversity and inclusion. Her work as a racial justice scholar and public historian is to make the unseen “seen” and the silenced “heard.” She facilitates K-12 teacher training seminars, social justice workshops, feminist leadership initiatives, and community programs for youth of color. Manuel-Scott seeks to harness the powers of collaboration and mentorship to foster transformative learning experiences for all people.

The Earle C. Williams Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Social Impact Recipients

Cynthia Lum
Associate Professor
Department of Criminology, Law and Society
Director, Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy

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Cynthia Lum is an associate professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society at George Mason University and director of its Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy. She is a former police of officer and detective. She researches primarily in the area of policing, security, and evidence-based crime policy. Her work in this area has included evaluations of policing interventions and police technology to reduce crime and improve police effectiveness and fairness, understanding the translation and receptivity of research in policing, and assessing security efforts of federal agencies.

With associate professor Christopher Koper, she has developed the Evidence-Based Policing Matrix (with Cody Telep) and the Matrix Demonstration Projects, translation tools designed to help police practitioners incorporate research into their strategic and tactical portfolio. As director of Mason’s Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy, she works on increasing the role and use of research and

Lum has been appointed to the Committee on Proactive Policing for the National Academy of Sciences, is a member of the Standing Committee on Traf c Law Enforcement, Transportation Research Board (National Academies of Sciences), the Research Advisory Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Advisory Committee of the Scottish Institute for Police Research (SIPR), and the Board of Trustees for the Pretrial Justice Institute.

Lum is a Fulbright Specialist in policing and criminology and in 2016 implemented the first International Summer School for Policing Scholarship at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland with colleagues from SIPR. She is the founding editor of Translational Criminology magazine and the Springer Series on Translational Criminology. Her new book (with Christopher Koper) is Evidence-Based Policing: Translating Research into Practice (Oxford).

Michael W. Nickens
Director of Athletic Bands, School of Music

Photo of Michael W. Nickens

Serving as director of Campus Life Ensembles and Collaborative Arts, and as an associate professor of music, Michael W. Nickens (aka Doc Nix) is most recognized as the leader of the “Green Machine,” which in 2015 was named the #1 pep band in college basketball by the NCAA and commended by the Senate and House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia. In addition, Nickens launched Mason’s fife and drum corps and WGI world- champion drumline, and oversees Mason’s winter guard. This collection of performing units, known as the “Green Machine Ensembles,” are internationally known for their thrilling, high-energy performances at Mason ceremonies and basketball games, professional sports games and events (Washington Capitals, Nationals, Wizards, and Redskins), community events (Celebrate Fairfax and the Nike Women’s Half Marathon), and marching competitions, as well as their popular internet videos that have been viewed more than 100 million times.

Nickens was named the 2016 Faculty Member of the Year by the George Mason University Alumni Association. He served as a faculty representative to the Board of Visitors, chair of the faculty of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA), chair of the CVPA

Diversity Committee, and as a member of the School of Music’s Graduate Committee.

Since he joined the faculty of Mason’s School of Music in fall 2006, he has taught courses in sight-singing/ ear training, popular music in America, improvisatory music, brass methods, applied tuba, composition, chamber music, and jazz improvisation, as well as collaborations with Mason’s School of Dance. In addition, he was a co-founder and co-conductor of the Colonial Athletic Association’s “Breakfast with the Bands” intercollegiate pep band showcase.

During summers, he has taught tuba and euphonium, conducting, jazz performance, composition, improvisation, chamber music, large ensemble performance, and theory at the Performing Arts Institute at Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, Pennsylvania; the Music, Art, and Theatre Camp in Evanston, Wyoming; and the Northern Arizona University Music Camp in Flagstaff, Arizona, and taught at Mason’s Potomac Arts Academy. He has also coached a professional marching ensemble, “Mix It Up,” at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Nickens was born in Washington, D.C., and attended Fairfax County Public Schools in Alexandria, Virginia. He completed his academic degrees at the Manhattan School of Music, Yale University, and the University of Michigan.