UI staff, faculty honored for excellence

Fourteen staff members and six faculty members at The University of Iowa received awards for excellence in 2010. The staff were recognized with one of three annual staff awards for excellence presented by the UI Staff Council, including the Board of Regents Staff Excellence Awards; the honored faculty also received Excellence Awards from the Regents.

Board of Regents Staff Excellence Awards
Six Board of Regents Staff Excellence Awards were given to UI staff members for outstanding accomplishments and contributions to their institutions as well as to the State of Iowa. Established in 1993, the award was created to provide a statewide forum to recognize staff members in conjunction with colleagues from the other Board of Regents institutions. Their accomplishments have significantly benefited the University, brought honor or recognition to the University, and had a significant positive impact on the State of Iowa. Each winner receives a commemorative gift, and the University grants a $1,000 prize to each award recipient. Winners will be recognized at a University event in the fall and at an event held by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. Recipients are listed below.

Paul Cooper, Office of Animal Resources
Paul CooperCooper has served as the director of animal resources for 31 years and University veterinarian for the Office of the Vice President for Research for 30 years. His primary responsibilities include the administrative, financial, and operational oversight of the Office of Animal Resources, which has a staff of 67. Cooper in 1994 successfully organized and directed accreditation that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science. In 2009, he proposed and received $11.2 million from the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, to create an additional 35,000 square feet of animal housing space in the new Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building. This space will allow for the University to expand the capabilities of the researchers who use animal models at the University of Iowa, and will consolidate existing facility resources to allow more efficient use of research dollars.

Jeanette Daly, Department of Family Medicine
Jeanette DalyDaly joined the Department of Family Medicine in 1999 as a research assistant III; she is now an associate research scientist and coordinator for the Iowa Research Network. She has been instrumental in obtaining funding for and helping to execute multiple network projects. The research network’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of Iowans by working with practicing family physicians. She is highly respected at the state and national levels for her elder abuse research. Daly has been involved in elder maltreatment research since 2000 and has cared for victims of elder abuse for more than 30 years as a nurse in acute and long-term care practice settings. Daly has had 83 articles published in esteemed journals; she was lead author on 41 of those published pieces.

Nancy Hall, State Hygienic Laboratory at The University of Iowa
Nancy HallHall has worked as a microbiologist at the hygienic lab for the past 32 years. She has served as the supervisor of the environmental microbiology section since 1983. In this capacity, Hall is responsible for the supervision of scientists, microbiologists, and technicians performing environmental microbiology and chemistry parameters. Over the past several years, Hall has worked on surveillance and research efforts related to private well water quality in Iowa. She was involved in designing study protocols for projects to determine the presence and concentration of microbiological contaminants in private wells, which are not regulated by the federal or state government. These efforts allowed the CHEEC to develop a robust database of private well water quality that can be used for health effects research.

Donald Kirchner, Department of Physics and Astronomy
Don KirchnerKirchner is a research engineer for the Radio and Plasma Wave Group in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, where he has held engineering positions since 1978 (and worked as a student before that). He has been principal engineer for such internationally recognized space missions as Voyager, Galileo, Cassini, and Mars Express, and is currently the lead engineer for instruments that will orbit Jupiter on the Juno spacecraft launching in 2011. Kirchner developed a low-frequency ground-penetrating radar transmitter, currently in operation at Mars. He continues work to enhance the ability of the transmitter to withstand the rigors of high-radiation space environments, which has put him in demand to lead the design of similar systems for future missions to outer planets and comets.

Lori Short, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Lori ShortShort has been the program coordinator for the Iowa KidSight Vision Screening Program, which has screened nearly 200,000 Iowa children under the age of 5 and referred more than 7,000 children to the care of vision professionals. Since Short took the helm in 2002, the screening program has seen a great increase in child participation. The number of Iowa Lions Clubs that participate in the program also has increased dramatically. Her initiative has led to screenings at the Iowa State Fair—nearly 2,000 children were screened and tens of thousands of fairgoers learned about the program. Short was largely responsible for the KidSight’s nearly $100,000 annual allocation from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Peter Weyer, Center for the Health Effects of Environmental Contaminations
Peter WeyerWeyer has been with the University for 30 years and with the Center for the Health Effects of Environmental Contaminations (CHEEC) for 23 years. He has been in the role of associate director for 10 years. Weyer has spearheaded efforts to increase the amount of groundwater monitoring in the state of Iowa. He identified several collaborators to develop groundwater monitoring projects that could help to provide current information on the levels of contaminants in Iowa’s groundwaters. To the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, these projects were instrumental in maintaining a crucial piece of information for developing water permits, informing the public of potential health risks, and securing funding for the monitoring network. Weyer is well-known for his research on nitrate in drinking water and its association with bladder cancer in women. He has developed research relationships with the CDC and the National Cancer Institute.

The University of Iowa Outstanding Staff Awards
Six staff members received the UI Outstanding Staff Award. The winners were recognized for “outstanding accomplishments and contributions that significantly benefited or brought honor or recognition to the University.” All recipients will be recognized at a University event this fall. Recipients are listed below.

Paula Brandt, Curriculum Resources Laboratory
Paula BrandtBrandt, who retired in May 2010, served as the director and librarian of the Curriculum Resources Laboratory in the College of Education since 1979. During this time, Brandt developed an elite children’s literature collection, providing for College of Education students and faculty, along with Iowa educators and librarians. She tirelessly promoted the diverse materials available in the lab collection, and provides talks regarding current best fiction and nonfiction picture books annually through the Iowa Communication Network. Brandt offered the Curriculum Resources Lab to area educators and librarians as a site for curriculum development focusing on integration of children’s literature. Brandt also contributed to the Iowa City Community School District library program. She met monthly with district librarians to discuss the best of new children’s literature, and she served on teams to help form vision plans for school district library service.

James Henderson, Carver College of Medicine
James HendersonHenderson has worked as the assistant dean for administration and director of facilities planning and management in the Carver College of Medicine since 2004. He is responsible for the safety and appropriate use of more than 450,000 square feet of space assigned to the college. Henderson also oversees renovations of space for the college—he played a big role in the Carver Biomedical Research Building project, and is now involved with the John and Mary Pappajohn Biomedical Research Building project. During the flood of 2008, Henderson acted quickly to ensure that emergency plans were appropriately enacted, resulting in the protection of many University assets. Henderson, who has been with the Carver College of Medicine since 1988, is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Joseph Henry, Graduate College
Joseph HenryHenry, who has been a Graduate College staff member for 20 years and a member of the University community for more than 25 years, is an integral member of the Office of Graduate Ethnic Inclusion. As the office’s chief recruiter, Henry plays an especially important role in expanding the representation of minority populations in graduate education. His efforts have been cited as vital in the recent growth in these demographics over the past few years. Henry also serves as a senior mentor in the Graduate College’s summer undergraduate research programs; in this role, he forms relationships with these students that often extend into their graduate careers. Henry plays an important role in the Hubbard Group, which addresses the individual, institutional, and environmental concerns of African American male students, faculty, and staff.

Marilyn Kempnich, Office of Admissions—Orientation Services
Marilyn KempnichKempnich recently retired from the Office of Admissions after more than 40 years of service. She worked in Orientation Services for the past 20 years, making arrangements for orientation programs, and she was part of the team that interviewed, hired, and trained the student staff who oriented new students to the University. Kempnich also has been involved with the National Orientation Directors Association (NODA), serving as the state coordinator for Iowa. This role involved organization of an annual workshop to discuss best practices in orientation. Her efforts and commitment were recognized through the NODA Region V Professional of the Year award, given to Kempnich in 2009.

William Kurth, Department of Physics and Astronomy
William KurthKurth has a long history with The University of Iowa, first as a student (earning degrees in 1973, 1975, and 1979), and working as a research scientist for the past 31 years. During this time, he has become a respected member of the UI Radio and Plasma Wave Group. Kurth has been associated with equipment used on many notable space missions, and is a leading expert in the plasma and radio waves found in planetary magnetospheres and the solar wind. He has mentored and assisted many students during his career, and has given many outreach presentations about space physics and the role of the University in space research. He also has developed exhibits about the role the University has played in the history of NASA; thousands see these exhibits at the Iowa State Fair. Kurth served as the associate editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research.

Pamela Mollenhauer, State Hygienic Laboratory at The University of Iowa
Pamela MollenhauerMollenhauer, who began working for the Hygienic Laboratory in 1987, currently serves in a managerial role at the lab’s Ankeny location, handling human resources duties and training, education, and outreach efforts. Mollenhauer coordinates events, conferences, training, outreach, and legislative public relations activities, and is involved in process improvement, reorganizational activities, and staffing/personnel issues. In addition, Mollenhauer will perform environmental testing in the laboratory when staff are absent. She recently ended a term as president of the Iowa Environmental Health Council, which is charged with protecting and promoting the public health of Iowans. This role allowed her the opportunity to build connections and networks for the betterment of the lab’s mission. She also is active at the national level with the Association of Public Health Laboratories and the CDC/APHL National Laboratory Training Network.

The David J. Skorton Staff Excellence Award for Public Service
The David J. Skorton Staff Excellence Award for Public Service is given annually to individuals who have made significant contributions and have shown “exceptional imagination and dedication to improving the university community.” Service must include activities of high quality in staff governance, committee work, policy improvement, program creation, etc., and must be outside normal job responsibilities. Recipients will receive $1,000 and a commemorative gift. Recipients are listed below.

Craig Just, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Craig JustJust has worked for the University for almost 20 years. He has served as faculty advisor for Engineers for a Sustainable World and Engineers Without Borders since 2004. These two groups have been active in promoting sustainable practices in the University and Iowa City community. Just also has served as a major liaison to the Sustainability Living Learning Community, provided leadership to the Sustainability Curriculum Advisory Committee, and teaches Introduction to Sustainability, a course that links the living-learning community to the Sustainability Certificate and related curriculum. Just works tirelessly both within the College of Engineering and the University to expand student access to sustainability curriculum and to promote positive connections between academics and student life outside of the classroom.

Kathleen McKeen, Department of Epidemiology
Kathleen McKeenMcKeen has worked at the University for more than 50 years. She began her UI career in 1959 in UI Hospitals and Clinics Tumor Registry as a staff member; she became director of the registry in 1973. In 1978, she became the assistant director of the State Health Registry of Iowa (SHRI), Iowa Cancer Registry, and in 1982 became the director. During her time at SHRI, McKeen developed and nurtured relationships with Iowa hospitals and laboratories, state public health officials, and the Veterans Administration, working to establish policies to provide information that benefits UI researchers and cancer patients. Her creation of an efficient up-to-date registry also helped bring additional research funding to the University. McKeen has served on numerous University, state, and national organizations.

Regents Award for Faculty Excellence
Six University of Iowa faculty members have won the 2010 Regents Award for Faculty Excellence. Given by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, the award honors faculty members for work representing a significant contribution to excellence in public education. Each honoree will receive $1,000. Recipients are listed below.

Thomas Boggess, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Thomas BoggessBoggess is a leading solid-state physicist whose research focuses on the use of short pulses of laser light to measure ultrafast electronic phenomena in novel semiconductors. He develops advanced optoelectronic and spintronic devices. His research has resulted in more than 100 journal publications and two patents. He is working with the U.S. Army on a multimillion-dollar program to develop infrared light-emitting diode arrays that will enable the generation of dynamic thermal images on a chip. Boggess holds a joint appointment with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering.

Michael Duffel, College of Pharmacy
Michael DuffelDuffel, associate dean for research and graduate programs in the UI College of Pharmacy and professor in the Division of Medicinal and Natural Products Chemistry, received his PhD in chemistry (biochemistry) from the University of Texas at Austin and completed postdoctoral studies at the National Institutes of Health. Since coming to The University of Iowa as an assistant professor in 1981, he has demonstrated excellence in teaching at all levels and has established an internationally known program of research in the study of enzymes in drug metabolism. His research on the specificities, catalytic mechanisms, and regulation of sulfotransferases has significantly increased our understanding of the roles that these metabolic enzymes play in toxic responses to drugs, carcinogens, and environmental chemicals.

Sarah England, Carver College of Medicine
Sarah EnglandEngland is a professor in molecular physiology and biophysics in the UI Carver College of Medicine. Her long-term research interest is in identifying the ionic mechanisms that regulate the transition from uterine quiescence to contraction during pregnancy in order to provide a biological basis for therapies designed to modulate uterine contractility and prevent preterm labor. In addition to her teaching and research duties, England is codirector of the Iowa Biosciences Advantage Program, a bioscience research program preparing underrepresented minority students for entry into doctoral research programs. England holds secondary appointments in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science.

Witold Krajewski, College of Engineering
Witold KrajewskiKrajewski, professor of civil and environmental engineering, holds the Rose & Joseph Summers Chair in Water Resources Engineering and is a faculty research engineer at the College of Engineering’s internationally known IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering research institute. He is a world leader in rainfall monitoring and forecasting using radar and satellite remote sensing. As the director of the new Iowa Flood Center, he is helping Iowans at risk for flooding to better understand how different hydrologic processes taking place in the landscape may lead to floods. The center’s floodplain mapping work, conducted in coordination with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the National Weather Service, and other agencies, will help Iowans to identify their flood risks.

Lauren Rabinovitz, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Lauren RabinovitzRabinovitz is a professor of American studies and of cinema and comparative literature in CLAS, and she directs the Center for Ethnic Studies and the Arts. Her books include a social history of women and a critical study of feminist filmmakers. A pioneer in recognizing the scholarly and pedagogical possibilities of digital technology, her interactive projects are Yesteryear’s Wonderlands, on early 20th century amusement parks, funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities Educational Development Grant, and the coauthored The Rebecca Project, one of the first CDs to use new media as a tool of film analysis for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1941 movie Rebecca. Her current research and teaching focuses on how American food history offers a unique perspective on modernization, mechanization, and American self-identities. In 2007, she was named a Collegiate Fellow in CLAS.

Satish Rao, Carver College of Medicine
Satish RaoRao, professor of internal medicine in the UI Carver College of Medicine and director of neurogastroenterology & GI motility, serves as a researcher, educator, and clinician. Rao’s research and clinical interests focus on the mechanistic understanding and treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, fecal incontinence, and visceral pain, particularly esophageal chest pain. His lab is examining brain-gut interactions in IBS and interstitial cystitis, and treatment of fructose intolerance. He has pioneered several new techniques for evaluation and treatment of esophageal and colorectal disorders including cortical and transcranial evoked potentials, sensory adaptation training, and biofeedback therapy for dyssynergic defecation.