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Engineering Impact Report

Vision Awards Recognize Outstanding Faculty and Staff

When an organization goes through a period of rapid change, it becomes important to recognize those who have embraced that change and best represent the organization's mission, vision and values. 

The change process led to the creation of the School of Engineering Vision Awards to recognize the contributions of faculty and staff that go above and beyond their job descriptions. The four awards - honoring community building, innovation, excellence, and engagement/service - are presented annually to outstanding faculty and staff in the School of Engineering and include a $2,000 monetary award.

Each spring, a selection tea led by Associate Dean for Faculty and Staff Development Margie Pinnell, combs through nominations to determine which members of the faculty and staff will receive the awards. Nominations are usually made by colleagues and use various materials, including letters of support from students.

The faculty and staff honored make incredible contributions to the School of Engineering and the University of Dayton.

Sidaard Gunasekaran, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, was honored with the Vision Award for Innovation in 2018. The award recognizes faculty and staff providing innovative teaching strategies and unique experiential learning opportunities. He was specifically recognized for his willingness to teach outside his aerospace discipline.

Gunasekaran has worked as a faculty fellow for the Institute of Applied Creativity and
Transformation and the Visioneering Center, and established courses for the Hanley Sustainability Institute. His use of portfolios and “passion projects” in his classes has been featured in KEEN Magazine and Aerospace America.

“In the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering we have several outstanding faculty,” Gunasekaran said. “I was humbled because they noticed what I was doing among all the fantastic things that other faculty in the department are doing. I felt that I am part of the team — and that means a lot."

Heather Juhascik, KEEN program coordinator, will receive the Vision Award for Community at the fall faculty and staff meeting. Her work has enhanced diversity and inclusion within the School of Engineering. Juhascik co-leads the Welcoming Team to onboard new faculty and staff and organizes a Caring Circle offering support to SoE faculty and staff caring for aging loved ones. She also volunteers with International Friendship Family, aiding in acclimating international students to American culture and helping them feel welcome and at home in Dayton.

Like other recipients, Juhascik feels truly humbled to be recognized. She said, “We have a wonderful team of people who work hard every day. I am proud to receive this award and cherish this honor deeply.”

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