Every year the Provost Award Selection Committee forwards me their recommendations for the Provost's Awards for Excellence.
The Awards were developed to recognize faculty who have earned distinction in the areas of teaching, scholarly and creative activities, and service. The awards are made possible by a grant from the $42 million Kellogg Legacy Project Endowment. I am pleased to announce and present to you the 2018 awardees.
Excellence in Teaching
Alexander Rudolph, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has been recognized
locally, nationally, and internationally for his mentoring and teaching of students historically underrepresented in physics and astronomy. He is the founder of the California Minority Partnership for Astronomy Research and Education (CAMPARE) and the CSU-UC bridge program Cal-Bridge. Dr. Rudolph has mentored a tremendous number of undergraduate students and has co-authored many publications with undergraduate students. He has published numerous articles about research on the effectiveness of interactive learning strategies in physics and astronomy classrooms. His work has received significant external grant funding, almost all of which has focused on classroom teaching pedagogy and the promotion of diversity in physics and astronomy. Many of Dr. Rudolph's former students are attending Ph.D. programs at some of the most prestigious universities around the country. We celebrate the work of Dr. Rudolph as he introduces astronomy and
physics to underrepresented students and inspires them to graduate.
Excellence in Service
Felicia Friendly Thomas, professor in the Department of Psychology and Sociology was one of six African American children who integrated an all-white school in rural South Carolina in the 1960's. Dr. Friendly Thomas became a passionate champion of under-served and under-represented people, especially first-generation college students like her. She co-founded the Cal Poly Child and Family Services Friendmobile Program, a parenting and tutoring/mentoring center on wheels that provided free services to local communities. The Friendmobile evolved into a program where psychology students went into community facilities and schools to provide much needed services. Additionally, Dr. Friendly Thomas has been recognized for her research on diversity, bias, and mentoring - conducting numerous workshops and invited presentations including being a Distinguished Speaker and "Terman Master Teacher" for the Western Psychological Association and James Jones Invited Speaker for the American Psychological Association. Finally, she was a Malone Fellow with the National Council on U.S - Arab Relations and has served on city and county agencies and commissions.
Excellence in Scholarly and Creative Activities
Mingheng Li, professor of Chemical and Materials Engineering, has developed a nationally recognized research program in the area of process systems engineering with a variety of practical applications, including water desalination, renewable and sustainable energy techniques, air quality control, and advanced materials processing. Dr. Li's numerous publications, including 44 peer-reviewed articles in top-tier journals and six book chapters, have received 1200+ citations (per Google Scholar). He is a member of the distinguished editorial board of the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy and Coatings, indicating Professor Li's prominence and accomplishments in research. Professor Li's record of
blending teaching and research into a single synergetic endeavor is impressive. His efforts are manifested by his undergraduate students' outstanding achievements, whether being awarded scholarships to complete their graduate studies in prestigious programs nationwide, or working at top engineering companies. As stated by one of his students "The idea of learn by doing is not simply a motto in Dr. Li's projects but the actual execution of novel and innovative research."