DENTON (UNT), Texas — The University of North Texas celebrated faculty for their cutting-edge research, dedicated service and exceptional teaching at the annual Salute to Faculty Excellence Awards Celebration April 19.
The event was hosted by the Office of the Provost and supported by the UNT Foundation, which accepts, invests and manages private gifts, endowed funds and other assets for the benefit of the university, including faculty and students.
Faculty members received awards from areas across the university, including the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, Division of Research and Innovation and International Affairs.
The most distinguished honorees of the evening were the five winners of the UNT Foundation Awards, which are some of the university’s highest faculty awards. Each awardee received a monetary reward and a commemorative medallion.
James Kennedy, Regents Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and director of the Elm Fork Education Center and Natural Heritage Museum, received the Eminent Faculty Award, which recognizes an individual who has made outstanding, sustained contributions to scholarly-creative activity, teaching and service. Kennedy reflected on what winning the award means to him in this video.
Christy Crutsinger, professor in the Department of Merchandising and Digital Retailing, received the UNT Foundation Faculty Leadership Award. Crutsinger has held numerous administrative appointments throughout her 34-year career, including department chair, associate dean, vice provost for faculty success and vice provost for academic affairs. Driven by a passion for people and helping others succeed, Crutsinger developed and implemented a wide range of university initiatives that serve students, faculty and staff.
Jennifer Callahan and Camilo Ruggero, professors in the Department of Psychology and co-directors of the Center for Psychosocial Health Disparities Research, received the UNT Foundation Community Engagement Award. Over the past several years — and especially since the onset of the pandemic — Callahan and Ruggero have worked extensively with community partners across the region to ease access to care disparities across North Texas. With grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB)’s Minority Health Research and Education Grant Program, they have worked with community partners to place doctoral level trainees in health service psychology into health professional shortage areas. With nearly $75,000 in funding from the Lupe Murchison Foundation, they also have been working hard to seed a diverse training-to-workforce pipeline. They have engaged nearly 2,000 McNair Scholars and members of other national academic groups nationwide with virtual and in-person outreach efforts and education regarding health disparities.
Leslie Roberts, principal lecturer the Department of Public Administration, received the UNT Foundation Outstanding Lecturer Award. Roberts developed most of the public administration program’s online courses to integrate important experiential skill-building opportunities for students, and she has a keen eye for the role that predictability plays in student success. She excels in advising graduating students on their next step, whether it’s applying to law or graduate school or pursuing a career in a for-profit, nonprofit or government agency.