A&S Faculty Receive UM System President’s Awards

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Physics and Astronomy
Psychological Sciences
Biological Sciences
Digital Storytelling

Each year, the University of Missouri System President’s Awards are presented on behalf of President Mun Choi to faculty members across the four campuses of the UM System. These highly competitive awards recognize faculty who have made exceptional contributions in advancing the mission of the university. From April to November, President’s Award recipients will be recognized at the Board of Curators meeting on their university campus, as well as at a faculty awards event hosted at each campus. This year, Choi recognized 12 awardees, including three faculty in the MU College of Arts and Science and an A&S alumna involved in the development of the Missouri Center for Addiction Research and Education in the Department of Psychological Sciences. Congratulations to all of the winners!

President’s Award for Innovative Teaching

Johannes Schul, Professor of Biological Sciences

Johannes Schul, Professor of Biological Sciences

Within the MU Division of Biological Sciences, Professor Johannes Schul has been instrumental in overhauling the undergraduate curriculum to focus on two fundamental challenges facing the biological sciences: 1) teaching students to think integratively across biological levels and 2) recruiting and retaining students from diverse backgrounds. He has achieved this by restructuring courses around big stories that emphasize the connections between molecules, evolution, and ecology, as well as taking additional innovative steps to foster inclusiveness in the classroom. Diversity in science is an important part of his courses, which include open and active discussion of how science is a social endeavor that is improved by inclusion of people from all backgrounds and cultures. Schul is also an agent of culture change beyond the classroom, and his leadership and advocacy helped to secure a highly competitive $1 million Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence grant. Clearly, Schul exemplifies a comprehensive idea of inclusive excellence that goes beyond being excellent at including people and extends to teaching excellently and doing excellent work in a way that facilitates inclusion.

President’s Award for Early Career Excellence

Guang Bian, Assistant Professor of Physics

Guang Bian, Assistant Professor of Physics

Assistant Professor Guang Bian's career is already one of the most impressive ever witnessed in the MU Department of Physics and Astronomy. Less than three years since joining MU, and only six years after earning his doctorate, he has achieved what takes many scientists a full career to achieve in terms of high-impact publications, citations, and overall stature in the community. As well as writing 58 high-quality research papers at MU, he established the Missouri Integrated Nano-Analysis System (MINAS), a cutting-edge experimental facility that is unique in the United States. He has also secured two external grants from the National Science Foundation, which include work on topological superconductors and a project to develop an ultrafast laser platform at MU. He also teaches graduate and undergraduate classes that have received excellent student evaluations. Notably, he has demonstrated a commitment to mentoring the two doctoral and five undergraduate students currently in his lab, some of whom have already published scientific papers under his guidance. MU is extremely fortunate to have Bian, not only for his influential research, but for his mentoring of the next generation of scientists.

President’s Award for Cross-Cultural Engagement

Joseph Erb, Assistant Professor of Digital Storytelling

Joseph Erb, Assistant Professor of Digital Storytelling

A citizen of the Cherokee nation, Assistant Professor Joseph Erb joined the MU Digital Storytelling Program in 2016. Though only at MU for three years, his impact on the university has been profound, increasing the diversity of the MU campus experience and helping to recruit native students. Globally, his work promotes the visibility and inclusion of Native American culture and languages, and brings digital storytelling together with Indigenous perspectives. Erb has led major projects with Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft to ensure that the Cherokee language is accessible across technological platforms and so tribal nations are visible on digital maps. His animations in the Cherokee language have been shown at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and at Toronto’s imagineNATIVE festival, the most prominent venue for indigenous media. Erb is also highly engaged with his students and often described as “singlehandedly” creating cultural awareness programming and advocating for indigenous students at MU. He has established teaching, research, and other cross-campus collaborations. His work fosters diversity, inclusion, and excellence through his digital media innovations.

President’s Award for Intercampus Collaboration

Rachel Winograd, Associate Research Professor, Missouri Institute of Mental Health, UMSL 

Rachel Winograd, Associate Research Professor

Associate Research Professor Rachel Winograd, MA ’11, PhD ’16, psychological sciences, has built an outstanding record of collaborative research across the University of Missouri System, as well as with Washington University in St. Louis and Saint Louis University. Her collaborative work with state agency leaders, practitioners, and community stakeholders has laid critical groundwork for research collaborations aiming to develop a model systems of care to mitigate the opioid addiction and overdose crisis in Missouri. Although it typically takes junior faculty five or more years to establish high research productivity, Winograd is a clear outlier. In just over two years, she has published seven first-author manuscripts and, in collaboration with the Missouri Department of Mental Health, is the project director for over $60 million of external federal grant funds. To carry out her ambitious goals, Winograd has partnered with a team of top investigators from all four UM System campuses. She is playing an active role in the development of the Missouri Center for Addiction Research and Education (MO CARE—an effort housed in the Department of Psychological Sciences at MU) and consistently advocates for the inclusion of community healthcare providers and people who use drugs in research conceptualization, implementation, and evaluation. Her collaborative work is literally saving lives by transforming Missouri’s response to the opioid overdose crisis.

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