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Faculty Honors Convocation
UTSA faculty award winners with administrators

President's Distinguished Achievement Awards: Carmen Fies, Belinda Bustos Flores and Gelu Popescu

(April 29, 2004)--Carmen Fies, teaching specialist in indisciplinary studies and curriculum and instruction, received the 2004 President's Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching Excellence for nontenure-track faculty. Belinda Bustos Flores, assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies and curriculum and instruction, and Gelu Popescu, professor of science and mathematics education, are recipients of the awards for research excellence.

Nine distinguished achievement awards and the Chancellor's Council Outstanding Teaching Award were presented April 28 in the John Peace Library Building Regents' Room at the UTSA 1604 Campus.

Pictured (from left) are the award winners with college administrators: Ronald Binks, professor of art and art history; Daniel Gelo, interim dean of the College of Liberal and Fine Arts; Carmen Fies, specialist in interdisciplinary studies and curriculum and instruction; Blandina Cardenas, dean of the College of Education and Human Development; Stephen Reynolds, professor of art and art history; Marcheta Evans, associate professor of counseling, educational psychology and adult and higher education; Bruce Bublitz, dean of the College of Business; Belinda Bustos Flores, assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies and curriculum and instruction; Mary McNaughton-Cassill, associate professor of psychology; Cheryl Linthicum, associate professor of accounting; Gelu Popescu, professor of science and mathematics education; Joleen Beltrami, lecturer III in management science and statistics; Gary Bridges, assistant dean of the College of Sciences; Sharon Navarro, assistant professor of political science and geography; and Ricardo Romo, UTSA president.

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Carmen Fies consistently earns top marks from her students in the science classes she teaches. Having worked with classes in science and humanity, physical science, earth and life science, and physical science laboratory, Fies garnered perfect, or near perfect scores, for overall teaching excellence in upper division physical science sections.

Students attribute their high marks to Fies' willingness to do whatever is needed to help them understand the content of her courses, as well as her obvious attachment to both her subject matter and the students she teaches.

"I want them to go out to their future classrooms not avoiding teaching science, but enjoying and sharing the wonders of how things work with their students," said Fies.

Learning for Fies' students does not end at the classroom door. Fies also offers students opportunities to go to Saturday NASA and Geographic Information System (GIS) workshops. She has taken on a leadership role within her department, designing the science courses and labs for the new education certification program.

Fies is currently working on her doctorate in science education at the University of Texas - Austin. She also serves as lab administrator and a mentor for other adjunct professors who teach IDS science courses and labs.

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Belinda Bustos Flores has been named one of two winners recently awarded a $2.75 million Title V grant for the College of Education and Human Development Academy for Teacher Excellence.

She has twice been named to Who's Who Among America’s Teachers. She earned first place for her dissertation at the 1999-2000 National Association for Bilingual Education. In 1998, she was a summer grant recipient through the Mexican American Center at the University of Texas at Austin. She also earned the Title VII Doctoral Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education.

A past winner of the San Antonio Area Association Bilingual Education Teacher of the Year award, Flores has been at UTSA since 1999 where she specializes in bilingual education and educational psychology with an emphasis on learning cognition, motivation of Mexican American youth and the pedagogy of bilingual education teachers.

Since joining the UTSA faculty, Flores has published 20 articles, many appearing in top journals in her field. She has also presented at 22 international, national and state conferences. In 2003, she had three published articles and is awaiting publication of four in the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences.

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Gelu Popescu, professor of mathematics, has written 37 papers covering operator theory and operator algebras, noncommutative harmonic analysis and interpolation theory in his 10-year career at UTSA.

His research has been published in 25 international journals and cited more than 200 times by leading mathematicians.

"It's a great achievement," said Popescu. "I will continue to work hard, exactly the way I have done it so many years."

Through his research in functional analysis, Popescu has directly influenced the world's top mathemeticians pursuing further development of theory in the field.

While at UTSA, Popescu has received three National Science Foundation grants and a grant from the National Research Council.

His awards include the National Science Foundation's Young Investigator Award in 1994 and the First Prize of the Romanian Academy of Sciences in 1989.

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