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Faculty Awards

2022 Faculty Awards

The 2022 faculty award for outstanding teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences is awarded to Dr. Zelalem Bedaso in the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences.

Dr. Bedaso holds a Ph.D. in geology from the University of South Florida. He came to the University of Dayton in 2013 as a lecturer, became a visiting assistant professor in 2016, and joined the tenure-track faculty in 2017 as an assistant professor of geology.

Dr. Bedaso’s excellence in teaching is demonstrated by the large number of geoscience courses he has taught over the last nine years, from foundational science courses for non-majors to upper division geology classes. He receives top teaching evaluations from both students and peers, and his Student Evaluation of Teaching scores are consistently well above departmental averages.

Students often comment about Dr. Bedaso’s well-organized lectures, his expertise in the content, and his ability to explain complex issues in understandable terms.

His foundational science sections are widely sought after by all students, and he has been highly successful at recruiting new geology majors from these classes.

Dr. Bedaso has obtained Common Academic Program and Experiential Learning grants to revise and improve existing courses. He also has served on the Sustainability program’s curriculum committee for the last five years, and played an important role in developing the sustainability major’s curriculum.

One characteristic of Dr. Bedaso’s teaching is that he goes beyond expectations to create better learning experiences. For example, he takes small groups of students into the field to collect samples and study local hydrogeological settings. He also takes them to professional and academic labs in the region to learn about state-of-the art analytical tools used to analyze water and sediment chemistry.

“Zelalem does an excellent job of integrating his scientific research into the course curriculum,” wrote former Department of Geology Chair Dan Goldman. “This demonstrates to students how classroom instruction translates into real world application, and excites them about the potential to make important societal contributions based on their education.”

Dr. Bedaso incorporates experiential learning into his classes and enhances students’ educational opportunities by involving them in his research. He was awarded two National Science Foundation grants in 2021 that total more than $465,000. His research projects have led to eight students presenting at national conferences, 18 students presenting at Stander Symposium, and four students co-authoring papers published in peer-reviewed journals. With his dedicated mentoring, eight students have won research grants totaling more than $25,000.

In most of his scientific grant proposals, including the two NSF awards he received last year, Dr. Bedaso devotes significant portions of the grants to the training and education of next-generation geoscientists, particularly students from underrepresented groups.

For sustained, innovative teaching and his efforts to improve undergraduate science education through extensive experiential learning, the College is pleased to recognize Dr. Zelalem Bedaso with the Outstanding Teaching Award for 2022.

Faculty profile

The 2021 faculty award for outstanding scholarship in the College of Arts and Sciences is awarded to Dr. Sayeh Meisami in the Department of Philosophy.

Dr. Meisami holds a Ph.D. in Islamic studies from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Tehran. She joined the University of Dayton faculty in 2015 as an assistant professor of philosophy. She was promoted in 2019 to associate professor.

Dr. Meisami is a prolific writer whose research has a global impact. She is one of the most respected scholars of Shiʿi philosophy in the United States, and among a handful of top specialists in the study of the Safavid philosopher Mulla Sadra. Her scholarship is deeply interdisciplinary, bridging religion, philosophy,  politics and poetics.

Her first book Mulla Sadra, published in 2013, is now a standard primer for the study of Mulla Sadra. A Persian translation was recently published in Iran, and Turkish and Albanian translations are being solicited.

Her most recent book, Naṣīr al-Dīn Ṭūsī: A Philosopher for All Seasons, is the first monograph in English on the philosophy of Ṭūsī, a celebrated Iranian philosopher and scientist from the 13th century.

Because of her achievements in her field, Dr. Meisami was recently invited to write a book in a widely recognized series on philosophy at Equinox. That book, Exploring Islamic Philosophy, is scheduled for publication in 2024.

“Dr. Meisami is a preeminent voice in the study of Islamic philosophy, with scholarship that is prolific, original and accessible,” wrote Dr. Cyrus Ali Zargar, the Al-Ghazali Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Central Florida. “Her commitment to cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approaches within Islamic studies makes her work — already admired greatly by specialists in the field — of great value to the academy more broadly.”

Dr. Meisami also has made an important contribution to the Catholic intellectual tradition. She has translated a number of classic texts from this tradition into Farsi, including St. Augustine’s Confessions and The Imitation of Christ, both with multiple reprints.

In addition, Dr. Meisami is a superb teacher who is beloved by philosophy majors and non-majors. She is a key faculty participant in the first-year Core program and has contributed significantly to the diversification of the Department of Philosophy’s curriculum.

For the range and rigor of her scholarly achievements, including her unique contributions to the field of Islamic philosophy, the College is pleased to recognize Dr. Sayeh Meisami with the Outstanding Scholarship Award for 2022.

Faculty profile

The 2022 faculty award for outstanding service in the College of Arts and Sciences is awarded to Dr. Alan Abitbol in the Department of Communication.

Dr. Abitbol holds a Ph.D. in communication from Texas Tech University. He joined the University of Dayton faculty in 2016 as an assistant professor of public relations. He will be promoted to associate professor, effective August 2022.

Dr. Abitbol has contributed a remarkably high volume of quality service in just his first six years at the University. He has made high-impact service contributions at all levels of engagement — departmental, College, University and professional.  His service has advanced College and University priorities in terms of supporting student research, increasing diversity and helping to create an inclusive community.

It is important to note that Dr. Abitbol has achieved this level of service as a pre-tenure faculty member, while maintaining both the quantity and quality of his scholarship and teaching. He has published more than 12 peer-reviewed articles — three times the minimum expectation for communication faculty. He also has established himself as one of the top teachers in the department, with Student Evaluation of Teaching scores consistently above 4.5 on all measures.

In 2019, Dr. Abitbol was selected to serve as the Department of Communication’s director of graduate studies. Under his leadership, the department has increased enrollment by 50% through intentional recruiting strategies, successfully transitioned two graduate certificate programs completely online, and added non-teaching graduate assistants through partnerships with other campus units. He also established a graduate research colloquium that has positively impacted departmental culture.

His department service includes being faculty advisor for the Public Relations Student Society of America, where he helps students create programming and connect with the Dayton area’s professional PRSA chapter. He also played a significant role in helping to create the student-run public relations firm, Flyer PR, which has attracted nearly a dozen clients in its first year.

Dr. Abitbol has served on six hiring search committees, including one at the University level for the Institute of Pastoral Initiatives, chairing three of them. He also served as a member of the University’s Community Building Coordinating Consortium and the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop planning committee.

“Alan enlisted greater student participation in the workshop by offering scholarships funded by the Alumni Association to interested communication and English students,” wrote workshop director Teri Rizvi.

Professionally, Dr. Abitbol has served as a reviewer for seven academic journals, and has volunteered to review conference papers for two divisions and served on two committees for the public relations division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

For his impactful service that advances the University’s mission and priorities, and enhances graduate and undergraduate education, the College is pleased to recognize Dr. Alan Abitbol with the Outstanding Service Award for 2022.

Faculty profile

The 2022 faculty award for outstanding contributions by a full-time, non-tenure track faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences is awarded to Dr. Julie Simon in the Department of Mathematics.

Dr. Simon holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Wellesley College. She joined the University of Dayton faculty in 2010 as a full-time mathematics lecturer and was promoted to senior lecturer in 2020.

Dr. Simon is an excellent educator with a broad teaching agenda and a strong interest in improving the quality of student learning. She is an outstanding academic advisor, and has been involved in a range of service activities related to student success, vocational discernment and faculty development. In addition, she has been an important voice in the University’s efforts to develop and implement lecturer promotion policies.

“Julie has distinguished herself at many levels through various leadership roles she has taken on at the department, College and University levels,” wrote David Wright, director of academic technology and curriculum innovation. “It is unusual to find persons with this quality of multi-dimensional leadership — but it is even rarer to find an excellent track record in someone with non-tenure track faculty rank and a passion for improving the quality of learning and teaching.”

Dr. Simon has taught 11 different mathematics courses to date, including those for students planning mathematics-intensive careers, as well as those for non-STEM majors. Her classes are demanding, but students know she will do all she can to help them succeed.

Dr. Simon served as assistant director of Premedical Programs from 2012 to 2016, advising from 90 to 160 premedicine and predentistry majors each year. She continues to advise about 60 students per year from those programs, guiding their applications to health professional schools, and writing letters of evaluation and composite letters for their applications.

Since fall 2020, Dr. Simon has served as a transfer credit specialist, working with the Transfer Credit Office and the College assistant deans and department chairs to determine the UD equivalent for transferred science and mathematics courses and add those courses to the Transfer Evaluation System database.

In 2016, Dr. Simon was invited to join the Teaching Fellows Program planning team as a “master teacher.” She also has facilitated numerous Midterm Instructional Diagnoses for faculty from across the University. In addition, she volunteers as a tutor for the weekly ASI 160 science study tables and also tutors in the Math Help Center.

For innovative, high-impact teaching, her commitment to student support, and consistent service to the University community, the College is pleased to recognize Dr. Julie Simon with the Outstanding Contribution, Non-Tenure Track Faculty Award for 2022.

Faculty profile

2022 Emeritus Faculty

Since arriving at UD in the Fall of 1973, Dr. Albert Burky’s teaching and research has focused on ecology and evolution, and he's been particularly motivated to introduce students to the excitement of scientific discovery and to nurture them as they find their vocation.

In the last five decades, Dr. Burky has shepherded a research program in the Department of Biology that has deeply engaged UD undergraduates and graduate students in fieldwork, lab work, data analysis and publishing. Undergraduate student researchers have been contributors on more than 100 combined publications and meeting presentations, and Dr. Burky has published 45 peer-reviewed research papers and dozens of other works in books and conference proceedings.

Dr. Burky is an exemplary colleague, a skilled mentor for undergrad and grad students and junior faculty, and literally the 49-year corporate memory for the Biology Department. He has played a significant and meaningful role in shaping the Biology Department and our students since the day he first set foot on campus in 1973.

John Clarke began his career at UD in 2001 and has served the university for over 20 years. He is an outstanding faculty leader serving as the area coordinator for graphic design for many years, chairing multiple department committees, has taught and mentored countless students and has dedicated his career to the field of graphic design. You may recognize his typographic work in UD's MLK memorial.

He has been tireless in his dedication to student success and providing opportunities for student learning through such classes as Design Science Synthesis and mentoring students on the design of the infographics for the Solar Prairie at Curran Place. He has been deeply engaged in the design and use of department facilities, most recently at the HUB and prior to that with the design of and move to our current facilities in Fitz Hall.

His clarity of thought, leadership and dedication to his field will be missed.

Over her 20 years with UD, Dr. Susan Davis has made countless contributions to the Department of Psychology and the University as a whole.

Particularly noteworthy is the way in which Dr. Davis has always worked to integrate her research with her mentoring of students. Dr. Davis has given over 240 undergraduates and 30 graduate students experiential opportunities to learn and apply research from “appetizer to dessert” (conception to presentation and publication), as she describes her approach.

Over the past 20 years, between eight and 22 undergraduate students, as research assistants, have developed their research skills under Dr. Davis’ leadership. A large number of those research assistants have gone on to achieve at and matriculate from graduate school positions in acclaimed psychology programs around the country, law programs and medical schools. Needless to say, she has written and submitted literally thousands of recommendation letters of support, and with her research assistants as co-authors, she has offered over 200 presentations.

None of these facts convey the importance of Dr. Davis simply having been present in the Department of Psychology. She acts as an advisor, an advocate, a mentor and a close friend to many. We are better department, and many of us are better people because of her.

Dr. Dennis Doyle has accomplished a lot in his time at UD. Here are just a few of the highlights: 

  • Internationally recognized scholar: Received grants from the German government for research and was a guest lecturer at several German universities, cultivating some of UD's relationships there. Also, co-convener of the international Ecclesiological Investigations group and planned international conferences. 
  • Author of multiple well-received books, including Ecumenical Perspectives Five Centuries after Luther's Reformation, and Communion Ecclesiology: Visions and Versions.
  • Instructor in UD's CORE program for many years, has directed or co-directed five doctoral dissertations, and continues to be an innovative and well-loved teacher, most recently in piloting the Religious Studies Department's new hybrid M.A. programs
  • Member of the Roman Catholic-Methodist dialogue and member of the College Theology Society board, as well as numerous service activities on behalf of the department, college and university
  • Received the University Scholarship award in 2019.

How should one describe Dr. Paul Eloe? Paul Eloe loves mathematics.

  • Dr. Eloe is a renaissance man, as far as mathematics is concerned. He is interested in and knows something about every area of mathematics. He is a prolific researcher; during his 40-plus years at UD, he has published more than 160 refereed articles and a book.
  • He has taught 30 different undergraduate and graduate courses at UD, many outside his area. He has never said no to a teaching assignment. His courses are challenging, but anyone who has seen him work one-on-one with a student knows how much he cares about this students’ success.
  •  Dr. Eloe believes in nurturing mathematicians, students and faculty alike.

Dr. Eloe is a champion of graduate education. As graduate program director for many years, he provided graduate training to many students from underrepresented populations. He saw the need for new directions in graduate education and spearheaded the creation of master’s programs in financial mathematics and in mathematics education.

During his tenure as chair of the Department of Mathematics, the department hired 11 new tenure-line faculty and five faculty earned tenure and promotion to associate rank. He takes great interest in junior faculty’s research and his questions sometime lead to surprising collaborations.

As chair, he supported the creation of our biennial undergraduate conference, Undergraduate Mathematics Day, and he funded the Electronic Proceedings of Undergraduate Mathematics Day to give student presenters a publication outlet. He significantly expanded the biennial Alumni Career Seminar, and both events are anchored by the annual Kenneth C. Schraut Lecture.

Dr. Eloe is an important voice of the Mathematics Department. His colleagues will miss his thoughtful input and incredible work ethic. They will miss his jokes and his cryptic references to his beloved Giants. They will miss Paul Eloe, the friend.

Dr. Andrew Evwaraye is a semiconductor physicist in the Department of Physics, where he established a Center for Material and Device Characterization that uses capacitance transient spectroscopy techniques to characterize defects in semiconductors. He has collaborated quite successfully with researchers at the Airforce Research Laboratory (AFRL), Wright State University, Carnegie-Mellon University and in other countries. His research includes analyzing lunar rocks from the Apollo program in search of evidence of the elusive magnetic monopole.

Dr. Evwaraye believes that mentoring is the best tool for positively impacting the lives of our students. He has encouraged minority students to work in his laboratory to gain skills that are not ordinarily taught in basic physics courses and is known to have purchased, at his own expense, computers and printers for a number of students. He was the Campus director of STARS from 1996-2010, and has encouraged underrepresented groups in STEM through his leadership with STARS over the last 30-plus years.  

Dr. Evwaraye is an effective and challenging teacher. He brings out the best in our talented physics majors, preparing them for further studies at elite graduate programs. Before coming to UD, Dr. Evwaraye helped establish The University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria where he was physics chair, dean and provost. In 1987, he became a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science. It was in Nigeria that Dr. Evwaraye first met the Marianists.

Dr. Evwaraye has served the Physics Department, the College of Arts and Sciences and the University of Dayton exceptionally well with pride and distinction.

Dr. James Farrelly has been a faculty member at UD for 55 years. He earned tenure in 1974 and was promoted to the rank of Professor in 1988. He has advocated for faculty on the faculty board for over 30 years.

His career can be summarized in the motto from Chaucer, "gladly will he teach and gladly will he serve." He is known in the English Department as a colleague who fights for what he believes and holds no grudges regardless of the outcome.

Every year an alum calls the department looking for him, just to tell him thanks. The department thanks him, too. The department will not be the same without him. 

Dr. Richard Ghere is a colleague and instructor known for his dry humor, candor and intense interest in his student's success and career preparation.

His career has evolved from a scholar of traditional organizational theory to a recognized expert on ethics and public service (including service as an editor of the journal Public Integrity) and as a key faculty member in starting the human rights studies program while his teaching and scholarship grew to encompass non-governmental organizations in developing countries, including starting the Malawi Rights Practicum with partner NGO.

Dr. Ghere consistently pushed his students, and prodded his colleagues to consider different perspectives, a task not easy to do, but one he succeeded in, and, in turn, made us all better people.

Dr. Dan Goldman joined the department in August 1997. He was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor in 2006, and full professor in 2015.

He served as chair of the Department of Geology from 2011-19.

During his 25-year tenure at UD, Dr. Goldman has been an active scholar with a track record of over 50 publications and $1.3 million in grants. He was awarded University of Dayton STARS Research and Scholarship Award in 2012 and UD Chapter of Sigma Xi George Noland Award for Faculty Research in 2009. He was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America in 2020.

Dr. Goldman taught a wide range of introductory and advanced courses in geology and led numerous field expeditions with his students for classes and research projects. Such field experience has often been cited by students as the highlights of their undergraduate years and fondly remembered long afterward.

Dr. Goldman has also been a collaborative colleague and supportive mentor for other faculty members of the department. He has made a transformative impact on the department, faculty and students.

In the 1990s, Dr. Jeffrey Griffin helped launch the Department of Communication study abroad program, a program that is now a core element of the Communication Department on a daily basis.

Initially hired as a journalism professor, his research and teaching interests shifted to film and television, especially international film and television, leading to new additions for teaching in the department.

Dr. Griffin was an immensely popular instructor and students who took three of his classes before they graduated would always show up at the senior dinner and give themselves certificates inducting them into "The Order of the Griffin."

He published one book, two book chapters and 16 articles in his time at UD.

Dr. Jayne Matlack Whitaker began her career at UD in 1993 and has served the university for 29 years. She has been an outstanding colleague and department leader, as well as serving the university in many service and administrative capacities.

She has mentored numerous faculty, taught and mentored countless students who are now employed across the country and beyond and dedicated her career to the advancement of the department, the graphic design major and its students.

When she was hired, she was the only woman in graphic design (then known as visual communication design) and only one of three women in the entire department.

She has woven her research into her teaching and service and has been a leader in community engaged experiential scholarship connecting students and clients across the city and the university in a truly collaborative approach to educating for the greater good and the whole person.

She approaches all challenges knowing that there is a solution, and that, with collegiality and shared interests, all things are possible.

Dr. Tim Wilbers began his career at UD in 1983 and has served the university for 39 years. He has taught and mentored countless students, served in various service and administrative capacities (including as an assistant dean in the College of Arts and Sciences for nine years), has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things curricular and has worked tirelessly in exploring the photographic and related mediums.

He was critical in the design and adoption of the department's UD Sinclair Academy Pathways and has always been the voice of reason in department conversations. He was the first faculty member in the photography area to embrace digital technologies, designing our very popular digital processes classes and to take seriously the role digital imaging will play in the future of photography.

He is the kindest, most giving soul one could hope to meet. 


College of Arts and Sciences

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Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0800