APRIL 23, 2021 — Roadrunner Nation celebrated the fantastic achievements of UTSA faculty and staff during the 2021 University Excellence Awards ceremony, which were livestreamed on Tuesday, April 20. The program featured university leadership—President Taylor Eighmy, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy, Vice President for Inclusive Excellence Myron Anderson and Vice President for Business Affairs Veronica Salazar Mendez—announcing the winners.
All categories of the University Excellence Awards were evaluated through their respective nomination review committees: President’s Teaching Awards selection committees coordinated through the provost’s office, Distinguished Diversity Awards committee coordinated through the inclusive excellence office and the University Excellence Staff Awards committees coordinated by Staff Senate. The University Excellence Awards Program is overseen and managed through a committee with representatives from areas throughout the university.
Awards statuettes will be available to awardees via a drive-thru to be arranged later this month. Those who weren’t able to pick-up their Years of Service certificates and pins should be on the lookout for an invitation to the Great Staff Appreciation event coming up in May.
The 2021 winners in each category:
PRESIDENT’S FACULTY AWARDS
Teaching Excellence — Fixed-term-track faculty
• Victoria Dougherty (Chemistry; College of Sciences)
Teaching Excellence — Tenure-track faculty
• Alexander Testa (Criminal Justice; College for Health, Community and Policy)
Teaching Excellence — Tenured faculty
• John Drew Stephen (Music; College of Liberal and Fine Arts)
Excellence in University Service — Fixed-term-track faculty
• Rita Mitra (Information Systems and Computer Applications; Alvarez College of Business)
Excellence in University Service — Tenured and tenure-track faculty
• Johnelle Sparks (Demography; College for Health, Community and Policy)
Excellence in Core Curriculum Teaching — Fixed-term-track faculty
• Mariah Hopkins (Biology; College of Sciences)
Excellence in Community Engagement — Fixed-term-track faculty
• Liset Vasquez (Health and Kinesiology; College for Health, Community and Policy)
Excellence in Core Curriculum Teaching — Tenured and tenure-track faculty and
Excellence in Community Engagement — Tenured and tenure-track faculty
• Michael Cepek (Anthropology; College for Health, Community and Policy)
Research Achievement — Tenured faculty
• Megan Augustyn (Criminal Justice; College for Health, Community and Policy)
• Nikolaos Gatsis (Electrical and Computer Engineering; College of Sciences)
Research Achievement — Tenure-track faculty
• Ahmad Taha (Electrical and Civil Engineering; College of Engineering)
• Elizabeth Sooby (Mechanical Engineering and Physics and Astronomy; College of Sciences)
• Fengshan (Frank) Chen (Mechanical Engineering and Biomechanics; College of Engineering)
Innovation & Impact (I2)
• Advancing and Strengthening Science Identity through Systematic Training (ASSIST) Team: Gwen Young (Environmental Science and Ecology; College of Sciences); Kenneth Walker (English; College of Liberal and Fine Arts); Jeffrey Hutchinson (Environmental Science and Ecology; College of Sciences); Amaury Nora (Educational Leadership; College of Education and Human Development); Sue Hum (English; College of Liberal and Fine Arts); and external partners Benjamin Tuggle and Juliet Ray
• Kathryn Jill Fleuriet (Anthropology; College of Liberal and Fine Arts)
Performance, Creative and Production
• Sarah Lasley (Art; College of Liberal and Fine Arts)
Richard S. Howe Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award
• Jennifer Beavers (Music; College of Liberal and Fine Arts)
PRESIDENT'S DISTINGUISHED DIVERSITY AWARDS
• Lilliana P. Saldaña (SCCEI & Dreamers Resource Center; Inclusion & Community Engagement Center)
• Rey Villanueva (Anthropology; College of Liberal & Fine Arts)
• G-Force Mentors (student group)
• Microaggressions Awareness Committee: Traci Guinn Buckley; Kalia Glover; Brandi Scott; Yolanda Williams; Vincent Perez; Sara DeTurk; Jessica Dawson; Carol Gonzalez; Alvin Curette; and Anne Margaret Trujillo
UNIVERSITY EXCELLENCE STAFF AWARDS
Richard S. Howe Service to Undergraduate Studies Award
• Ephrem Fernandez (Psychology; College for Health, Community and Policy)
Rising Star Award
• Sara Tate (Advising Administration)
• April Valdez (Learning Technologies)
Team Spirit Award
• UTSA Inventory Department: James Sumner; Mayra Espinoza; and Olinda Ongay (Capital Asset Management)
Extra Mile Award
• Patrick Grant (Athletics)
Order of the Roadrunner Award
• Amy Manning-Thompson (Social Work; College for Health, Community and Policy)
Roadrunners who plan to learn, teach, live, work or research at UTSA this summer are invited to attend one of these town halls where members of UTSA's Public Health Task Force will share updates from their recently released 4.0 report. The town halls will be a terrific opportunity to ask questions and learn more about summer campus operations.Virtual Event
Honors College students will be presented with their stoles to wear to Commencement. The Honors College provides stoles only to students who are eligible to graduate with honors.Retama Auditorium
Victory celebrations in San Antonio always include honking car horns, and we are carrying that tradition over to UTSA. If you are in San Antonio, join us for a nostalgic Commencement Drive around the Main Campus. This new tradition began in May 2020 and will begin at the Brackenridge (BK 5) parking lot adjacent to the Child Development Center. Vehicles can begin gathering at 5:00 p.m. The parade begins at 5:30 p.m.Brackenridge (BK 5) parking lot, Main Campus
In person ceremony for students recieving their doctorate degrees.H-E-B Student Union Ballroom, Main Campus
In person ceremoney for University College students.Retama Auditorium, Main Campus
This spring’s commencement ceremonies will be college-based and held at various locations on Main Campus. While the ceremonies will look different than in previous years, they retain many of the traditional celebratory aspects to rightfully honor UTSA’s graduating students. 10 a.m. (last names A-GO); 2 p.m. (last names GP-O); 6 p.m. (last names P-Z)Convocation Center, Main Campus
This spring’s commencement ceremonies will be college-based and held at various locations on Main Campus. While the ceremonies will look different than in previous years, they retain many of the traditional celebratory aspects to rightfully honor UTSA’s graduating students. 10 a.m. (last names A-GA); 2 p.m. (last names GB-O); 6 p.m. (last names P-Z)Recreation Wellness Center, Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.