Faculty and Staff Excellence Award Winners Honored

In celebration of their exceptional accomplishments, four faculty members in the University of Houston College of Technology were recognized with awards for research, teaching, and service, on May 1 at the UH Sugar Land campus. Dean William Fitzgibbon presented the awards and acknowledged the faculty advisory committee for their diligence in reviewing nominations and recommendation of award recipients. Dean Fitzgibbon also expressed pride and appreciation for their dedication to the advancement of innovative research, excellent teaching, and steadfast commitment to service. “We are certainly honored to offer this award program, are proud of the winners, are proud of our history and focus on innovation and technology”, said Dean Fitzgibbon.

Dr. Holly Hutchins, Associate Professor of Human Resource Development (HRD) and coordinator of the HRD undergraduate program, received the award for Faculty Research Excellence, which recognizes a tenured or tenure-track faculty member for scholarly contributions. Dr. Hutchins is an established scholar who has been widely cited in nearly all of the leading journals. She has published seven peer-reviewed publications and eight peer-reviewed domestic and international conference publications related to e-learning and learning transfer. Among 550 submissions at the 2014 Southern Management Association conference, she earned the best paper award in the human resource management track. She has published chapters in The Routledge Companion to Human Resource Development and The Psychology for Business Success. In addition, she has published four refereed conference proceedings related to learning transfer. Hutchins serves on the editorial board of prominent human resources development journals. Her work has been cited more than 1,000 times (reported by Google Scholar), and her influential article on training transfer has ranked among the top five “most cited” papers since publication in Human Resource Review. Her record in obtaining funding from the industry and federal agencies is impressive and commendable.

Dr. Hutchins is co-Principal Investigator (co-PI) on the $3.3 million National Science Foundation Institutional Transformation ADVANCE grant, to increase the number of women faculty in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. 

She has served as co-PI on the Undergraduate Quality Enhancement Grant, “Developing HRD Competencies through Service Learning – An Instructional Design Project with the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto County”.

She is visibly involved in doctoral and master thesis committees and serves in the Academy of Human Resource Development as vice president of professional development.  

Dr. Lingguang Song, Associate Professor of Construction Management, received the award for Faculty Teaching Excellence, tenure-track. This award recognizes that exceptional teaching contributes to the success of the College of Technology, the University, and the community. Demonstrating his deep commitment, Dr. Lingguang Song has developed and taught eleven different courses in the broad area of construction engineering and management, such as concrete design, scheduling, estimating, contracting, and computer applications. He has served as the graduate program coordinator for the construction management master’s degree program since 2006, recruiting new students and advising more than sixty students each semester on their study and career development.

He was also instrumental in developing faculty internship programs with Baker Concrete and Fluor Corporation, which has brought valuable insight into trending industry practices. 

Further innovation in teaching has been demonstrated through his introduction of several interactive games and virtual learning applications to promote student involvement and active learning. Proof of Dr. Song’s effectiveness rests in the consistently favorable feedback and high ratings of his presentations, organization, effectiveness, and overall quality. Motivated students have produced award-winning projects and academic publications, including best and outstanding poster awards and publications in academic conferences organized by American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and Associated School of Construction (ASC).

Dr. Song’s spirit of innovation and research excellence inspired graduate student, Arash Fallahi, to develop a 3-D virtual training environment for construction operations with complex technical, spatial, time-constraints, and logistics. The research will be presented this summer during the 2015 ASCE International Workshop on Computing in Civil Engineering in Austin, Texas.

As recipient of the award for Service Excellence, Dr. Jerry Evans, Instructional Associate Professor, has a long and distinguished record providing service to the Information and Logistics Technology Department, College of Technology, University and our community. As a service to the College of Technology, Dr. Evans took over the reins as interim chair of the ILT Department in 2007, until January 2014, when he returned to full-time teaching.

Reputed as an action-oriented, inspiring and passionate leader, Dr. Evans seizes opportunities to contribute to the benefit of society. He was the driving force behind the formation of the University of Houston Cougars for Kids volunteer program, which launched in 2007. This University-wide program promotes volunteering opportunities for students, staff and faculty members. Hundreds have been inspired to commit to volunteerism that provides benefits to children at Texas Children's Hospital, Shriner’s Hospital, The Methodist Hospital, Memorial Hermann Children's Hospital, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Healthbridge Children's Hospital.

Leading by example Dr. Evans personally volunteers in Cougars for Kids, addressing myriad administrative details of engaging hospitals and encouraging support of the program. The hospitals have provided valuable life lessons to UH students, staff and faculty by involving them in the care for children who are dealing with serious health issues. With about 150 active student volunteers, the Cougars for Kids program has evolved into mentoring elementary students throughout the city of Houston. 

Evans is an active supporter of student athletes, serving as a mentor with the UH Cougar Student Athlete Mentoring program and a member of the UH Athletic Advisory Committee. He chairs a sub-committee on UH Academics that is identifying opportunities for UH Faculty involvement in enhancing the academic success of athletes in all sports.

Dr. Evans represents the College and University as a member of the Texas Medical Center Volunteer Service Advisory Council, and served on the American Diabetes Association’s Houston Steering Committee for several years.

Professor Phil Snyder, Instructional Assistant Professor in the Digital Media Program received the Teaching Excellence award, non-tenure track. Since his arrival in January 2013, Professor Snyder has consistently demonstrated excellence in his teaching work, bringing a new dimension to the program as an experienced video producer, voice-over talent for animation and advertising, and Hollywood performing artist – all complementing his years of teaching experience at The California State University. Snyder also brings the uniqueness of being the voice of Disney’s iconic character, Jiminy Cricket and all of the incredible entertainment experience associated with that distinction.

During his brief tenure at UH, Professor Snyder has creating three new courses - 2D Animation, Transmedia, and 3D Modeling and Animation. Additionally, he teaches other highly rated courses ranging from visual communications to digital photography and video production. Demonstrating his philosophical approach of teaching holistically or teaching the “whole student”, he integrates practical knowledge into laboratory sessions, drawing from his many years of industry experience. Students quickly grasp the importance of being innovators as Snyder encourages personal creativity by bringing the “real-world” into the labs, emphasizing heavy tutorial and hands-on experience.   Teamwork and collaboration among the students on deadline-driven projects prepares them for the realities of the job market. Getting his students ready for the competitive work force, Professor Snyder conceived the “Red VidFest,” a digital video and animation festival competition where the UH digital media program industry advisory board members serve as judges. 

Senior Academic Advisor and community liaison officer, Carlo Deason received the 2015 College of Technology Staff Excellence award.     

In addition to assisting with the coordination of the academic advising activities, Deason is responsible for advising honors students, and athletes. As a highly decorated competitive distance runner, Carlo mentors the UH Men’s Track and Field and Cross Country Teams. He is also committed to furthering the University's mission of diversity and inclusiveness in student success through the Cougar ALLY program, the UH LGBT Visibility Project, and the 2014 National Collegiate Athletics Association Inclusion Forum. 

Carlo has been dedicated to international initiatives, including serving as a coordinator of the Aarhus School of Marine Science and Technical Engineering student exchange program. His work with international students and with Aarhus was the impetus for his induction into the Phi Delta Beta International Honor Society in 2014.

As the students’ voice, Carlo helps the administration understand each student's needs to ensure their academic, cultural, and social success.