UI staff, faculty honored for excellence

Fourteen staff members and six faculty members at the University of Iowa received awards for excellence in 2011. 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 Award

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.

Stacey Cyphert, Office of the Vice President for Medical Affairs

Stacey CyphertCyphert has worked at the university for 25 years; since 1993, he has served in the capacity of assistant vice president for health policy in the Office of the Vice President for Medical Affairs and senior assistant director for University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. In his work, Cyphert identifies, develops, and implements health policy-related legislative priorities for the organization. He also coordinates a 150-plus-member public advocacy group for UI Health Care, and is a key organizer of hallmark events. Cyphert served on the Governor’s Iowa Health Reform Council, the Medical Assistance Advisory Council, the Covering Kids Now Task Force, and many other statewide committees and boards. At the federal level, Cyphert has served as chair of the Government Relations Representatives Steering Committee of the Association of American Medical Colleges. He is widely regarded as a trusted and skilled policy strategist, and as someone who can achieve results.

Julie Eichenberger-Gilmore, Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry

Julie Eichenberger-GilmoreEichenberger-Gilmore has 32 years’ experience at the university. Since 2004, she has worked as an adjunct assistant professor in the College of Dentistry and associate administrator for research training; since 2008, she also focuses on career development in the UI Institute for Clinical and Translational Science. With ICTS, Eichenberger-Gilmore leads and oversees the research services. She has served as the liaison for specialists, agencies, and organizations interested in clinical research development or participation. Eichenberger-Gilmore has enhanced the educational opportunities of emerging research investigators on campus; she was instrumental in the translational biomedicine graduate program’s curriculum planning, facilitation, and evaluation while also providing academic counsel to its students. Eichenberger-Gilmore’s previous experience at the university includes substantial work on large scare NIH grants, “The Iowa Fluoride Study” and “The Iowa Bond Development Study.” She’s long held memberships in the American Dietetic Association, the Iowa Dietetic Association, and the National Nutrient Databank. Among honors received is the Medallion Award from the Iowa Dietetic Association, the organization’s highest honor.

Thomas Gahan, State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa

Thomas GahanGahan, a UI alumnus (BS in public health, 1974) has worked at the university for 33 years—the past 17 years as supervisor of the serology and vital serology laboratories. Before that, he served as public health microbiologist II (1978–92) and public health microbiologist III (1992–94). In his current role, Gahan supervises and performs a wide variety of immunological assays (the testing of a metal or ore to determine its ingredients and quality), teaches students, and trains laboratory personnel. Over the course of his 33-year career at the lab, he has demonstrated the technical, interpersonal, and leadership skills as a supervisor to advance the field of serological testing for infectious diseases while assisting the university and the citizens of Iowa. In the last six years, Gahan has led the lab’s radiation response team, which provides field monitoring and technical consultation to the Emergency Management Division of the Iowa Department of Public Safety and the Iowa Department of Public Health in the event of an accident at one of the four nuclear power plants in or near Iowa. He is a member of the American Society for Microbiology and Health Physics Society.

Marian Muste, IIHR–Hydroscience & Engineering

Marian MusteSince 1998, Muste has served as a research engineering and adjunct professor at IIHR; the seven years prior to that, he served as a graduate research scientist and a postdoctoral research associate/adjunct associate professor. Muste’s main area of research and consulting is environmental river hydraulics. He has conducted a variety of field and laboratory investigations covering both microscale (turbulence, particle-fluid interaction) and macroscale river hydraulic processes (sediment transport, flows in confluences, ice-covered river flows, etc.). His most recent area of research is the development of large-scale data/information management systems, sensors and sensor networks, and their implementation in research and education focused on sustainable use of water and land resources. Muste is an expert for UNESCO’s International Hydrologic Program and World Meteorological Organization projects. He has extensive international experience as a three-time Fulbright Fellow and grantee of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. He is a member of the Council of the International Association of Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research.

Connie Mutel, IIHR–Hydroscience & Engineering

Connie MutelMutel has been with the university for 35 years, starting as an educational resource specialist and medical writer for the Rural Health and Agricultural Medicine Training Program. Since 1990, she has served as historian and archivist for IIHR, and for the past 17 years she’s been consulting editor for natural history for the University of Iowa Press. Mutel uses her gifts as a writer and communicator to share the messages of sustainability and environmentalism. She has taken on the tasks of writing and editing several books to disseminate important messages to create a sense of urgency and motivate people and governments to make changes. In her role as historian, Mutel has written about—and given much visibility to—IIHR’s work in water engineering and science. She led the major undertaking of assembling and editing the book A Watershed Year: Anatomy of the Floods of 2008, published by University of Iowa Press. She worked with a team of UI faculty and staff to address diverse aspects of the floods, resulting in a highly readable account of the floods. Her work explaining science and technology to wide audiences is cited for providing an engaging role model for women and girls interested in scientific fields. Mutel is affiliated with the Iowa Academy of Science, the Ecological Society of America, and the Iowa Native Plant Society—she received the Iowa Native Plant Society Service Award in 2010.

Bill Radl, Department of Internal Medicine

Bill RadlRadl has spent 32 years as a program assistant in the internal medicine department. During that time, Radl’s responsibilities have included creating, organizing, managing, and implementing programs that support both internal and external communication, and providing support for departmental education programs. His talents yielded the publication Internal Medicine and the Structures of Modern Medical Science: The University of Iowa, 1870–1990, the creation of an oral history of the internal medicine department through interviews with emeritus and senior faculty, and the creation of a video for the Fraternal Order of Eagles on the importance of supporting diabetes research. Through his efforts and the efforts of others, the Carver College of Medicine received an award of $5 million a year over five years from the Eagles in support of diabetes research. Radl’s expertise has been utilized by the Carver College in searches for division directors and department heads, and to UI Health Care in the redesign of its website. As a member of the newly convened Iowa Health Pro Network CME Committee, Radl has played an essential role in the development of standards for the many educational conferences held in the college and the hospital, and the electronic distribution of this information to health care providers throughout Iowa.


David J. Skorton Award for Staff Excellence in 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 $500 and a commemorative gift. Recipients are listed below.

John Lundell, University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center

John LundellLundell, a UI alumnus, began working at the university in 1994 following jobs in transportation planning in West Virginia and Iowa. He served as the center coordinator at the University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center for five years before being named center deputy directory, a position he currently holds. In his IPRC role, Lundell makes presentations across the country on topics related to injury prevention, and has been an active member of the American and Iowa Public Health Associations. In addition to his work with the IPRC, Lundell has been involved with community organizations such as the Coralville City Council, the Iowa City–Coralville Safety Village, and the State of Iowa Firefighters Memorial Park and Education Project. He has been lauded for his work as a member of the Presidential Committee on Athletics; during his tenure, he served as chair of the finance and facilities subcommittee and volunteered his services during track and field, soccer, gymnastics, and rowing events. His efforts have been recognized through awards from the State and Territorial Injury Prevention Directors Association and the UI College of Public Health, the latter for staff research.

James Verry, Teacher Leader Center, College of Education

Jim VerryVerry has been with the university since 1987, first serving as office manager for Mayflower Residence Hall, and then office coordinator for the Educational Placement Office in the College of Education. Heeding the call for incorporation of shared governance, Verry helped shape the goals and purpose for the College of Education Staff Council, an entity that held its first meeting in early 2007. Colleagues cite his ongoing commitment to engaging non-bargaining staff in opportunities and conversations that promote staff involvement in decision-making processes, keeping them abreast of issues and policy changes that affect them. Colleagues have cited Verry’s excellent work with the Education Placement Office as a positive indicator of success for the newly launched Teacher Leader Center in the College of Education. He has served the university through two floods—evacuating hundreds of students during the first, and moving materials from the Curriculum Lab and sandbagging during the second.


University of Iowa Outstanding Staff Award

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.

Mary Lynn Eckert, Office of Curriculum Development, College of Dentistry

Mary Lynn EckertEckert has worked at the university since 1985, and has been with the College of Dentistry since 1994. Eckert has served as point person for exploring and implementing new instructional technology in the college, and regularly works with faculty to help them design their ICON course site and manage grades. She also coordinated activities and documents associated with American Dental Association accreditation of the college in 2004 and 2011, working with every faculty member to ensure that all required information is provided in the required format. Eckert staffs two key committees within the College of Dentistry—the Graduate Program Directors Committee and the Clerkship Directors Committee. Her efforts have been rewarded with Extrameritorious Awards from the College of Dentistry in 1998 and 2005.

Anne Gannaway, Office of Admissions

Anne GannawayGannaway has served as the director of scholar recruitment for the admissions office since January 2006. In this position, she develops and implements a comprehensive recruitment plan to enroll high-ability students to the university. She has been very involved in the development of On Iowa!, a new program for all members of the incoming Class of 2015. The weeklong campaign immersed students in University of Iowa tradition and prepared the students to excel in their classes, explore activities and student organizations, and commit to The IOWA Challenge. Gannaway also assists the UI women’s basketball program in recruitment of student athletes, and provides excellent service to the University of Iowa Foundation. She has become a liaison between the university and children of alumni and friends of the university, meeting with students and families that generate funds for student scholarships, professorships, facilities, equipment, research, outreach and service programs, and other university programs.

Michelle Harder, UI Recreational Services

Michelle HarderHarder has been with the university for 25 years, and has served as senior associate director of recreational services since 2002. In this role, she supervises/evaluates 12 full-time employees, oversees hiring and training of nearly 200 student employees, coordinates facility space usage with athletics administrators, coaches, and faculty, and helps direct special events such as the USA National Diving Championships and the Girls State Tennis Championships. Harder’s role in the opening of the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center drew praise from her supervisors and colleagues; she was instrumental in the design, planning, and construction phases of the facility, and manages the facility (including the $25 million aquatic center within. Harder also oversees the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex, which demands attention similar to that required of management of the CRWC.

Kim Hobbs, Department of Family Medicine

Kim HobbsHobbs has worked at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics since 2000, first with the Department of Internal Medicine before moving to the Department of Family Medicine in 2002. She has served in the role of secretary III since 2005; her work involves providing administrative support to Family Care Center and UI Community Medical Services administrators, and collecting, compiling, and analyzing data for specialized reports, among other duties. Hobbs became a primary contact for Wellmark’s Collaboration on Quality Pay for Performance Program (initiated in 2009), and took on the role of clinical quality data registry clerk. She manages the registry process and has led process changes necessary to implement, coordinate, and transmit electronic data between the university’s electronic health record and the Wellmark data registry, MD Insight. Hobbs also has assisted in developing newsletters and other communication vehicles to individuals both in the Family Care Center, UI Hospitals and Clinics, and external clinics to obtain and improve the care of patients in this program.

Amanda Kalen, Department of Radiation Oncology

Amanda KalenKalen has been with the university since 2001, working her way from an initial position of research assistant I in biophysics and physiology to her current position of research assistant III in radiation oncology—free radical and radiation biology. Kalen provides research-related radiation services to the research community both within and outside of the university. She provides safety-related training to the members of the Free Radical and Radiation Biology Program, coordinates lab safety guidelines with representative members from each laboratory, and serves on search committees for research assistants. Kalen has successfully trained several undergraduates, first-year graduate students, and research personnel in laboratory research. She has mastered several challenging research methods, including flow cytometry and antioxidant enzyme assays. Kalen also served on the planning committee for the Oberley Symposium, which honors the late Larry Oberley, former director of the Free Radical and Radiation Biology Program.

Mitch Owen, Department of Pathology

Mitch OwenOwen has nearly 13 years’ experience working at the university; in his current role as medical laboratory scientist supervisor, he manages the daily operations of the Critical Care and Special Care Nurseries Laboratories in the pathology department at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. These laboratories render services to the most critically ill of UI Hospitals and Clinics’ patients; Owen is praised for his unflappable nature that enables him to operate in a high-stress environment while remaining calm and instilling serenity in the team of scientists and technicians under his oversight. He also stepped forward to teach chemistry to medical laboratory scientist students in the classroom setting to assist one of his colleagues on leave. Owen is active in several campus organizations, including UI Staff Council, where he has assisted with interviews of university and hospital administrative leaders. He serves as co-chair of the university’s Native American Council.


Regents Award for Faculty Excellence

Six University of Iowa faculty members have won the 2011 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.

Ann Budd, Department of Geoscience

Nancy BuddBudd, the F. Wendell Miller Professor of Geoscience in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the evolution of coral reefs. Her work to understand how fragile marine ecosystems respond to climate change has proved invaluable to the effort to preserve critically endangered reefs, which are among the most important biodiversity “hotspots” on the planet. She is admired as an excellent teacher of large-enrollment undergraduate and intensive graduate courses alike, and has mentored some of the best paleontology graduate students in the country, many of whom have gone on to highly distinguished careers in the field. Her most recent contributions to the curriculum include new courses for the Sustainability Certificate program that address problems of conservation biology. Her intellectual leadership and outstanding teaching have anchored the department’s paleontology program and helped keep it ranked among the very best such programs in the country.

William Clarke, Department of Biostatistics

William ClarkeClarke, professor of biostatistics in the UI College of Public Health, has made major interdisciplinary contributions to improving the use of statistical methods in clinical trial design and analysis and in biomedical research. In several recent years he has been among the most highly funded researchers at the university, while engaging in work that facilitates the work of other researchers in many different fields and also provides unique educational opportunities for students. Currently his largest grant supports a complex project that is working toward a cure for type 1 diabetes. In 1989 he co-founded the UI Clinical Trials and Statistical Data Management Center, today an internationally recognized leader in managing and coordinating randomized multi-center clinical trials. Clarke has a long record of effective contribution to classroom teaching and participation on dissertation committees, and has co-authored a successful textbook, Statistical Methods for the Analysis of Biomedical Data.

Michael Cohen, Departments of Pathology and Urology

michael cohenCohen, professor of pathology and urology in UI Carver College of Medicine and professor of epidemiology in the UI College of Public Health, has seen his work to study prostate cancer recognized through a Career Development Award from the American Cancer Society (1992) as well as almost continuous funding from the NIH. He has been an extremely effective teacher to an array of learning audiences, from high school students (in the Iowa Junior Science Program) to practicing professionals (through Continuing Medical Education), and many of his UI students and trainees have gone on to succeed as basic scientists, academic clinicians, and private practice pathologists. He has been called a “devoted servant” to his colleagues and profession, with an impressive record of service that includes his role as departmental executive officer of the Department of Pathology since 1999. He has served on numerous important collegiate and university-wide committees and has been a member and officer of the Faculty Senate.

David Drake, Department of Endodontics

David DrakeDrake, professor of microbiology in the Department of Endodontics and the Dows Institute for Dental Research, is currently director of research for the Department of Endodontics and sits on many master’s- and doctoral-level thesis committees. One of his ongoing translational research projects involves leading a team of colleagues in the study of the microbiology of dental caries in Native American children, a high-risk group for early caries that can cause devastating pain and abscess. Drake served as president of the Faculty Senate from 2009–10, earning widespread respect for his ability to build strong relationships and negotiate a turbulent time marked by challenges such as budget cuts and ongoing flood recovery. His extensive service record includes participation in many other collegiate, university-wide, and national committees. He currently serves as senior associate to President Sally Mason.

Milan Sonka, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Milan SonkaSonka, professor of electrical and computer engineering in the UI College of Engineering, holds secondary appointments in the Departments of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Radiation Oncology in the UI Carver College of Medicine. An internationally recognized scholar in the area of medical image processing, he has introduced key ideas and methods that have led to a number of scientific breakthroughs in cardiovascular, pulmonary, ophthalmic, and orthopedic image analysis, as well as general medical image analysis techniques. His current leadership roles include departmental executive officer of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, director of the Iowa Institute for Biomedical Imaging, and editor-in-chief of the flagship journal IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Transactions on Medical Imaging. Sonka was a pioneer in the use of computers in classroom instruction, changing the way students learn by creating the college’s first “hands-on” electronic classroom, which has been a model for many others since.

Janet Williams, College of Nursing

Janet WilliamsWilliams, Kelting Professor of Nursing in the UI College of Nursing, is an outstanding scholar and educator with a sustained program of research and clinical expertise in genetics and genomic nursing. Her research program focuses on the psychosocial impact of genetic disorders and genetic testing. As a leader in the field of genomics nursing, she shares her expertise broadly, through extensive professional service, national and international consultation and collaboration, participation on state and national policy-making boards, and teaching. In addition to teaching UI students, she has offered her Ph.D. genetics research course to students throughout the Midwest using synchronous, web-based technology. As principal investigator of a National Institute for Nursing Research–funded training grant in clinical genetics nursing research, she is leading the nation in producing the next generation of genetic nurse researchers. In 1988 she co-founded the International Society of Nurses in Genetics, an organization that has grown to include members from nine countries.