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Faculty Honors

External Awards | University of Houston Awards | CLASS Awards

External Awards

Rebecca Lee

Rebecca Lee, Health and Human Performance
2011-2012 Fulbright Scholar fellowship, Mexico

Rebecca Lee, associate professor of nutrition, whose work examines environmental, social and psychological factors that lead to obesity, will research the issue in Guadalajara, Mexico, as a Fulbright Scholar.

Lee will work with researchers at the Instituto de Ciencias Aplicada a la Actividad Fisica y al Deporte in Guadalajara to develop education and training protocols for health care practitioners and researchers so they can better document and define obesity, as well as the environmental factors that contribute to the epidemic.

Lee, who is director of the UH Texas Obesity Research Center, has done extensive studies on the many factors that lead to obesity and its related illnesses, including cultural, sociological and neighborhood determinants.


Kairn Klieman

Kairn Klieman, History
Fall 2011 External Faculty Fellowship, Humanities Research Center, Rice University

Kairn Klieman, associate professor of African history, has been awarded an External Faculty Fellowship from the Humanities Research Center at Rice University. She will spend the Fall 2011 semester in residence at the Center and teach a course affiliated with a humanities department at Rice. She will also use the time to work on her book Before the “Curse:” Petroleum, Politics, and Transnational Oil Companies in the Gulf of Guinea, Africa, 1890s-1980s.



Alice Cepeda

Alice Cepeda, Sociology
2010 National Award of Excellence in Research by a New Investigator, National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse

Sociology professor Alice Cepeda’s research on drug abuse, autoimmune disease and Latino gang culture has earned her national recognition.

The National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse awarded her the National Award of Excellence in Research by a New Investigator.

The national honor is presented for outstanding research and/or publication in the field of Hispanic drug abuse. The candidate must be a postdoctoral student (within five years of completing doctorate). Cepeda received the award based on her scientific contributions to the field of drug use among Hispanic populations.

Cepeda, the associate director of the Center for Drug and Social Policy Research in the Graduate College of Social Work, is also the recipient of the 2010 Junior Scholar Award from the Drinking and Drugs Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems.

University of Houston Awards

These CLASS faculty members were recognized on April 20, 2011 at the Faculty Excellence Awards ceremony:

Moores Professor

This five-year renewable award is given to faculty who are outstanding in teaching, research and service. The recipient is awarded a $10,000 annual stipend.

David Mikics David Mikics, English

Teaching Excellence Awards

Distinguished Leadership in Teaching Excellence

This award is given to a tenured faculty member who has made sustained and significant contributions to education. The recipient is honored with a trophy and a prize of $25,000, divided into a $15,000 cash award and $10,000 in departmental support.

Frank Holt Frank Holt, professor, History

Teaching Excellence

This award is given to faculty in recognition of outstanding achievement in teaching. Recipients are honored with a trophy and an $8,000 prize.

Anadeli Bencomo Anadeli Bencomo, associate professor and chair, Department of Hispanic Studies
Betsy Cook Weber Betsy Cook Weber, professor, Moores School of Music

Provost’s Core

This award is given to faculty in recognition of outstanding teaching in the core curriculum. Recipients are honored with a trophy and an $8,000 prize.

Casey Due Hackney Casey Dué Hackney, associate professor, Department of Modern and Classical Languages
Maira Elena Solino Maria Soliño, associate professor, Department of Hispanic Studies


This award is given in recognition of outstanding teaching by faculty instructors, clinical faculty, research faculty, artist affiliates and lecturers. The recipient is honored with a trophy and an $8,000 prize.

Lisa Alastuey Lisa Alastuey, clinical assistant professor, Department of Health and Human Performance
Martha Dunkelberger Martha Dunkelberger, assistant clinical professor, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

2010 UH Faculty Excellence Awards

CLASS Awards

The College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences (CLASS) announces the winners of the 2011 Ross M. Lence Awards for Teaching Excellence.

The college gives out teaching excellence awards in three categories:  Humanities, Social Sciences, and Performing and Visual Arts. The awards are named to honor the memory of one of the University of Houston’s most inspiring teachers, Ross M. Lence, a professor of political science from 1971 – 2006.


Monica Ercolani

The Ross M. Lence Award in the Humanities goes to Monica Ercolani, instructional assistant professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. Professor Ercolani teaches and serves as the coordinator for first- and second-year Italian.

Her nominator, Dr. Francesca Behr, notes that Professor Ercolani’s classes are extremely demanding, but she is amazed at how much fun they are. Ercolani’s students agree that she engages them and teaches way more than the basics of the language, sparking a life- long interest in Italian language and culture. Read more


Steven Craig

The winner of the Ross M. Lence Award in Social Sciences is Dr. Steven Craig in the Department of Economics. Professor Craig specializes in micro, urban and public economics, and has an extremely impressive publication/research record. But teaching is why he became a professor, he loves, as he puts it, “turning on the lights.”

Professor Craig insists, however, that he does not teach students answers, but, rather, he provides them with “answering methodologies.” That’s why when a student asks him a question, he often responds, “It depends.” Students come to realize that his classes require them to ask questions and think critically. As Professor Craig explains, professors don’t really teach students – “in the end the students must teach themselves.” Read more



The Ross M. Lence Award in Performing and Visual Arts goes to Stephan Hillerbrand, Assist Prof of Photography and Digital Media in the School of Art. Professor Hillerbrand is a remarkably accomplished artist who has exhibited here and around the world. “We live in the most exciting times to be holding a camera,” he says, because the world of photography is in the midst of a huge transformation.

By mentoring, providing structure and allowing students to learn by doing, Hillerbrand transforms students’ excitement about photography into accomplishment. He assigns truly unconventional exercises and projects that encourage student creativity, problem-solving and critical thinking. A favorite is an exercise he calls “Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head” – students assemble an image of a face by combining images of other people’s eyes, noses, ears, etc. Read more

CLASS congratulates the winners on a job well done!