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University of Maryland University College (UMUC) has conferred the Stanley J. Drazek Teaching Excellence Award, the university’s highest faculty teaching honor, on eight of its most outstanding faculty members, and bestowed the Teaching Recognition Award on 10 others for their noteworthy contributions to the scholarship and art of teaching during UMUC’s 1st Annual Global Faculty Awards celebration May 9 through 13.

UMUC issues awards annually to members of the faculty who are nominated by their students, and who show exceptional skill promoting student learning. The faculty’s efforts on behalf of students have always been critical to UMUC’s success, said UMUC President Javier Miyares in congratulating winners.

“Students first leads our list of core values. Your commitment to excellence, your care and concern for our students’ individual and academic well being and your focus on their personal and professional success, represent the fullest expression of that core value,” Miyares said.

The top honor, the coveted Drazek award, is named after the former chancellor of, what was known in his day as, the University College Division of the University of Maryland.

Throughout his 30-year association with UMUC, which began in 1948, Drazek was a passionate champion of teaching excellence, and a recognized leader in adult higher education at a time when such students were considered nontraditional.

His work is largely credited with expanding opportunities for adult learners, and the award in his name recognizes effective and innovative teaching methods that support and enhance learning and meet students’ needs at every level.

“We are proud to bestow this highest teaching honor on our faculty who have shown, through their dedication and hard work, UMUC’s commitment to high-quality adult education,” said Vice provost Kara Van Dam, who introduced this year’s Drazek awardees.

2016 Drazek Teaching Excellence Award Winners

Four overseas, and four stateside faculty members received the awards for teaching excellence this year.  They are:

Keith Johnston, UMUC Asia

“I learn with every class I teach. To engage a student in learning is to invite them to participate in the creative spirit.”


  • Yutaka Sagara, UMUC Asia
“I love working with our service members. They are truly dedicated to their education. I could not ask for better students.”

Mindy Otis, UMUC Europe

“Many of our students are active duty. They are serving their country. They know what service means.”

Christine Wettlaufer-Adcock, UMUC Europe

“These are my people. I’m now serving those who serve. It’s a daily devotion to the community I love and have loved for the past 30 years.”

Bernadine Barr, UMUC Stateside – The Undergraduate School

“My students are adults with demanding jobs, overseas deployments, and often with family responsibilities. Helping them develop as scholars and achieve their educational goals in the midst of a full life is rewarding to them, but also to me.”


  • Edwin Kraft, UMUC Stateside – The Undergraduate School
“I do not expect that any student knows the material at the beginning of the class. I am most concerned about what they know at the end of the class.  Providing detailed feedback and allowing students to improve their work optimizes the students’ learning and success rate.”
  • Lisa Marie Blaschke, UMUC Stateside – The Graduate School
“Learning is a lifelong experience, so the more I can equip my students with the tools and skills they will need for the future, I believe the more successful they will be.”
  • Don Olcott, UMUC Stateside – The Graduate School
“Many of my students are adult learners who have extensive life experiences and when an instructor can relate to these experiences, they feel comfortable taking risks in their writing, class discussion, and overall approach to graduate school.”

Each Friday, now through July, another of the 2016 Drazek Teaching Excellence Award Winners will be featured on UMUC’s stateside social media channels, where you can learn more about their accomplishments.

The UMUC Teaching Recognition Award 

In addition to the Stanley J. Drazek Award winners, 10 additional faculty members were honored with the UMUC Teaching Recognition Award for their noteworthy academic achievement.

When introducing the award, UMUC Vice Provost and Dean of The Undergraduate School Matthew Prineas cited what he described as the very definition of teaching excellence―a faculty member who owns the critical combination of high expectations and a caring, supportive presence.

“Nothing has a greater impact on student success,” he said, recalling that the lucky among us had a teacher along the way who took a personal interest in us, who pushed us to see and understand more, who helped us glimpse something within ourselves that we hadn’t seen before.

“The Teaching Recognition Awards are UMUC’s way of saying, ‘Thank you for being that person in our students’ lives,’” Prineas said.

2016 Teaching Recognition Award winners are:

  • Elizabeth Cena, UMUC Asia
  • Frankie Ishizaki, UMUC Asia
  • Amy Ackerberg-Hastings, UMUC Stateside―The Undergraduate School
  • Michael Caruso, UMUC Stateside―The Undergraduate School
  • Anne Marie Hubbell, UMUC Stateside―The Undergraduate School
  • Michael Kulansky, UMUC Stateside―The Undergraduate School
  • David Weber, UMUC Stateside―The Undergraduate School
  • Kimberly Fleming, UMUC Stateside―The Graduate School
  • Margaret McMahon, UMUC Stateside―The Graduate School
  • Steven Richman, UMUC Stateside―The Graduate School

Additional 2016 Faculty Awards and Recognition

The Tip of the Hat Award recognizes faculty members who promote teaching excellence throughout the year.

In his message of congratulations to category winners and nominees alike, Aric Krause, vice provost and dean of The Graduate School, said: “One of the most important things we hear from students is how essential it is to have excellent teachers who care deeply about them, and help them be successful in their endeavors.  I personally thank each of you for this outstanding work that you’ve presented.”

  • 2016 Tip of the Hat Awardees are:
Kate Bauer, Kevin Brothers, Richard Cerkovnik, Philip Chan, Ashish Chatterjee, Jefferson Cronin, Bruce DeGrazia, Philip Effiong, Takako Egi, Sarah Felber, Andrew Feldman, Mary Hall, Crystal Herald, Anne Marie Hubbell, Michelle Iden, Yaeko Kabe, David Labrozzi, Mark Landahl, Mary Frances Lebamoff, Ann Little, Eve Longlade, Donna Maurer, Becky Lee Meadows, Andrew Midura, John Miscione, Christianne Mitchell, Gene Murray, Don Olcott, Curtis Richardson, Thomas Rowland, Dr. Jarmese Herrod, Danielle Skjelver, Thomas Tanner, Andrea Valdez, Irina Vlasova, Margaret Walthall, Karen Wilson, Heather  Yungbluth.

The Professional Achievement Award recognizes faculty who have been promoted at work, earned a higher degree, or achieved other professional or scholarly commendation in 2015. This year, more than 60 UMUC faculty members were recognized for such professional achievements. They embody the essence of the scholar-practitioner faculty model, often referred to as one of the distinguishing characteristics of the UMUC experience, said UMUC Provost Marie Cini.

“Faculty members who really know the field in which they teach, who continue to learn and advance in their profession, and who give back to others … that energy is so important to our students,” said Cini.

Referencing this year’s winners, Cini added, “We are so proud of these colleagues. I encourage every faculty member to look for such opportunities to learn, lead, and share their knowledge.”

  •  2016 Professional Achievement Award winners are:
Amy Ackerberg-Hastings, James Backus, Abby Bardi, Lisa Bernstein, Georgia (Gene) Berryhill, Richard Bilsker, Susan Blankenship, Alan Breitler, Myung-Hwan Cho, Romana Cortese, Stanley Dambroski, John DeRosa, Maryann DiEdwardo, Julie Dunlap, Heidi Evans, Colleen Fitzgerald, Charlene Gibson, Marie Hallion, Rosemary Hartigan, Eric Helfers, Richard Hough, Aaron Hunsberger, Stephanie Jacobe, Daniel Karanja, Victoria Kennick, Hak-sun Kim, Sujith Kumar, Linda LaMacchia, Amber Lancaster, Suzanne Lea, Arthur Liberty, Mary Lind, Meghaan Lurtz, Shabnam Lutafali, Marianne Matzo, Katherine McCord, David McCormick, Samantha McDermitt, Becky Meadows, Joe Moffett, Lisa Mullenneaux, Sam Musa, Christopher Nank, Gia'Donna Nichols-Holmes, Patricia Noone, Paula O'Callaghan, Clifford Oliver, Richard Owen, Maria Plochocki, Paul Prinsloo, Ding Ren, Jorge Santiago-Blay, Cord Scott, Mio Sekiguchi, Stefan Sittig, Murray Skees, Kamille Stone-Stanton, Hinako Takahashi-Breines, Cynthia Thomes, Patricia Valdata, Paul Wang.

UMUC's Faculty Service Awards recognizes faculty who have served the university with excellence for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 30+ years.  Select each service-year link to view the list of recipients for that award.

“Our faculty bring the best of many qualities to help our students apply what they learn in the classroom,” said Thomas Bailey, vice dean of the Science program, The Undergraduate School, in thanking faculty for their years of exemplary service.

“We applaud their practitioner-scholar approach and their personal attention to their students,” he added.