UNC Faculty Recognized for Research and Scholarly Work

The University of Northern Colorado’s Faculty Research and Publications Board, College Deans, and the Office of Sponsored Programs will recognize faculty achievement in research and other academic pursuits at the 2013 Distinguished Scholar Luncheon on Monday, April 8.

Nine faculty members will be presented with awards.

Rick Adams, professor of Biological Sciences, will receive the 2013 A.M. and Jo Winchester Distinguished Scholar award – given annual to a faculty member who’s consistently demonstrated outstanding scholarly performance.

Awards for college scholars will be presented to: Robyn Hess, professor of School Psychology; Nicholas Syrett, Assistant Professor of History; Isaac Wanasika, Assistant Professor of Management; Robin Macaluso, Associate Professor of Chemistry; Melissa Malde, Professor of Music; and Jennifer Leffler, Associate Professor and Manager of Resource Maintenance at the University Libraries. 

In addition, Paula Conroy, associate professor of Special Education, will receive the Outstanding Achievement in Sponsored Programs Award; and Jill Bezyak, Assistant Professor of Human Rehabilitative Services, will receive the Sponsored Programs New Faculty Recognition Award. 

About the recipients:

Rick Adams’ research is broad and diverse encompassing the fields of ecology, evolution, and development of bats. His field research is predominately based in Colorado but also includes the effects of natural disasters such as hurricanes and volcanic eruptions on Caribbean island bat populations, ecology of fruit-eating and insectivorous bats in South Africa and Botswana, and distribution and species-richness of bats throughout urban and mountainous regions of Sichuan Province, China. He is best known internationally for his research on the importance of water sources to natural bat populations as well as for using ontogeny (growth and development) as a surrogate for novel insights into the evolutionary origin of bats 60 million years ago. He recently published articles in two of the highest ranking international ecology journals (Journal of Animal Ecology, and Ecology) showing how bats are 'canaries in a global coal-mine' for predicting negative ecosystem effects of climate-change. His lab recently published in the broadly read journal PLoS ONE an analysis of high-speed video showing for the first time how bats use their tail-membrane as a flapping third-wing, providing thrust during takeoff. Dr. Adams has four books either already published or in-press, and 39 peer-reviewed publications including journal articles, book chapters, and monographs

Robyn Hess’s research interests are in the areas of school dropout/completion especially among Latino students, culturally responsive assessment and intervention, systemic interventions, and stress/coping in children. She and a colleague have recently started a project to evaluate the effects of cultural adjustment groups on the social and school adjustment of Somali refugees. Her recent publications have appeared in Best Practices in School Psychology-V and The Journal of Special Education. She has co-written two books, Counseling Children and Adolescents in Schools and Public Health Problem-Solving to Address Children’s Mental Health Needs. Dr. Hess is actively involved in many different school psychology professional organizations in her roles as Chair of the School Psychology Specialty Council, Chair-elect of the American Academy of School Psychology, and Co-Chair of the School Psychology Leadership Roundtable. Dr. Hess is board certified in the area of school psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), is a licensed psychologist, and is a licensed school psychologist in Colorado. 

Nicholas Syrett teaches and researches the history of women, gender, and sexuality in the United States.  He is the author of The Company He Keeps: A History of White College Fraternities, published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2009.  He has also published journal articles in American Studies, Genders, and The Journal of the History of Sexuality, and has articles forthcoming in GLQ: A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies, The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, the Pacific Historical Review and a number of edited collections. He is also coediting a collection of essays on the significance of age in American history, which will be published next year by NYU Press. He has been interviewed about his research by Newsweek, Out Magazine, The New York Times, Inside Higher Ed, and local and national newspapers and radio programs in the US, UK, and Canada.  Two years ago he was given the College of Humanities and Social Sciences first annual Diversity in the Classroom Award and the GLBTA Resource Center named him their Outstanding Supportive Faculty Member. He is currently on sabbatical writing a book about the history of child marriage and the regulation of children's sexuality in the United States.  

Isaac Wanasika’s research interests include strategic deception, transaction cost economics, base-of-the-pyramid strategies and strategic leadership orientations. He has collaborated with internationally-known scholars in the GLOBE studies, the largest international study in management involving 62 countries. His research has been published in prestigious journals such as the Journal of World Business, Journal of Strategic Innovation and Sustainability and the Journal of Managerial Issues. His work has been presented at national and international management conferences including the Academy of Management

Robin Macaluso has established a research program at UNC that focuses on the synthesis and structural characterization of intermetallic compounds. More recently, she has begun a research program in the synthesis of novel oxynitride compounds for solid-state lighting technology. Since her time at UNC, Robin has published 11 journal articles in the field of solid-state chemistry and publications. She has earned over $1.5 million in external grants, including a highly competitive CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation, and funding from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund.

Melissa Malde has performed with numerous orchestras and opera companies throughout the United States, including Kentucky Opera, the Bangor Symphony and Opera Colorado. She has sung abroad with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the Prague Radio Symphony, the Bad Reichenhall Orchestra, and Vancouver Opera.  Dr. Malde holds degrees from Oberlin, Northwestern, CCM at the University of Cincinnati, and the Hochschule für Musik in Munich, where she studied under the auspices of a German Academic Exchange grant. While in Munich, she won first prize in the Kulturforum Competition. Other honors include winning Cincinnati Conservatory's Concerto Contest and Chicago's Sudler Oratorio Competition, a Farwell Award, and the Brice-Gooter Award from the NATSAA competition. She is licensed as an Andover Educator to teach Body Mapping and the book she has co-authored on that subject entitled What Every Singer Needs to Know about the Body is in its second edition.  She is an active clinician and presenter at national conferences for organizations including the College Music Society, the Multidisciplinary Rehabilitation of the Performing Voice and the Physiology and Acoustics of Speech. Dr. Malde teaches Voice and Vocal Pedagogy the University on Northern Colorado and is the Governor of the West Central Region of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

Jennifer Leffler is known as the “master of unraveling challenges in user access” and “brings order to chaos in work that is a vital element in access to library resources.”  Jennifer is committed to providing clear, easy access to the Libraries resources, particularly online resources, to serve the university community.  During her tenure at UNC, Jennifer has contributed substantially to a wide array of Libraries’ initiatives to address the changing nature of information resources, and, through development and implementation of technology, she has provided leadership in integrating new applications of technology to library operations resulting in processing efficiencies and enhanced access to resources.  In her role as library faculty liaison to the Theatre Arts program, Jennifer works collaboratively with disciplinary faculty to tailor Libraries collections to their curriculum, securing funding for resources in support of the Theatre Education Master’s Degree program, and providing specialized instruction to Theatre Arts students.  Jennifer has a strong record of presentations at regional and national conferences and publications in peer-reviewed journals relating to her areas of interest: technical services workflows, use of technology in technical services, use of software tools such as web conferencing, and building collections in support of new interdisciplinary degree programs. Jennifer was appointed to the national editorial board of the Journal of Electronic Resource Librarianship, and she serves as a copy editor for UNC’s Undergraduate Research Journal.  Jennifer is Co-chair of the Libraries User Interface Coordinating Group, has chaired or served on numerous search committees, and serves as the Libraries representative on the Undergraduate Council and on the Faculty Research and Publications Board.

Paula Conroy has been the Project Director on several U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs and Services personal preparation and research grants in the area of culturally and linguistically diverse students with visual impairment, helping to prepare teachers for working with this unique population of students.   Paula has also received numerous grants from other organizations in the areas of assistive technology, training, and in-service and pre-service teacher preparation.  Paula is a certified teacher of students with visual impairments, an orientation and mobility instructor and has been working with students with visual impairments for over 20 years. Paula has published book chapters, juried articles, juried special/technical reports and has conducted numerous professional presentations in her areas of expertise.  She has been involved with professional running and triathlon groups in the Boulder, Colorado community and has studied the importance of physical education and activity for students who are blind and visually impaired.

Jill Bezyak is a certified rehabilitation counselor with a wide array of clinical interests including psychiatric rehabilitation, substance abuse counseling, and counseling individuals with physical disabilities and chronic illness. Her research interests include health promotion of individuals with disabilities, evidence-based practice in rehabilitation counseling, and education and implementation strategies for the Americans with Disabilities Act. In addition to these specific interests, she enjoys working with students to develop their clinical and research interests.