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Faculty Honored at Annual Awards and Retirement Dinner

Edward Markowski, E.V. Williams Teaching Fellow and University Professor in the Department of Information Technology and Decision Sciences, received the Alan Rufus Tonelson Faculty Award Tuesday evening at the annual Old Dominion University Faculty Awards and Retirement Dinner.

The award, which is sponsored by the ODU Alumni Association, was presented in recognition of his outstanding achievements in teaching.

Markowski joined ODU in 1980 as an assistant professor of mathematical sciences. He currently holds the only teaching fellowship awarded in the College of Business and Public Administration.

Nancy Bagranoff, dean of the college and one of several colleagues who nominated him for the award, noted: "Professor Markowski is an outstanding instructor and that rare teacher who is able to take very complex subject matter and explain it simply."

The following quote from a student evaluation speaks to his teaching talents: "Dr. Markowski is one of the best teachers I have ever had at the university. His ability to explain clearly a difficult topic significantly helped me to learn the material. I had always found statistics hard to get a feel for, but his way of presenting his information, in light of the whole picture, helped immeasurably."

The Tonelson Award, which includes a $2,000 prize and free parking for a year, is named for one of ODU's first students, the late Alan Rufus Tonelson '33, who went on to serve as a professor and administrator of the university.

Many other awards and honors were presented at the dinner, including the Faculty Research Achievement Award. For the first time in 25 years, the award was shared between two individuals, Lawrence Hatab and Mounir Laroussi. They each received a cash award of $1,000.

"This year, the committee had difficulty breaking the tie," said Mohammad Karim, ODU's vice president for research. "This year's co-winners are from relatively non-overlapping disciplines and yet were considered co-equals in terms of broader impact they have already made via their research."

Hatab, who holds titles of University Professor and Louis I. Jaffe Professor of philosophy, has taught at ODU for 32 years. He was one of two ODU winners in the 2009 SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Awards competition. The only member in the College of Arts and Letters to have received both its teaching and research award, Hatab is a nationally and internationally recognized scholar. He has published six books (all monographs) and more than 40 articles, book chapters and reviews.

His areas of specialization include 19th- and 20th-century Continental philosophy, ancient philosophy and social and political philosophy. John D. Caputo, arguably the premier Continental philosopher in the country, calls him "one of the major philosophers writing in the Continental tradition in the United States."

Laroussi, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the university's Laser and Plasma Engineering Institute, is the inventor of the so-called plasma pencil, which has been likened to a Star Wars light saber. Biological research begun earlier at ODU, and which is continuing, investigates uses of cold plasma to kill harmful bacteria in the mouth, disinfect wounds and speed healing.

Nearly eight years ago, Business Week magazine named Laroussi as one of the nation's leading experts in atmospheric, or cold-plasmas, and he has been building research momentum ever since, much of it supported by funding from the Air Force's Office of Scientific Research. He explores numerous applications of plasmas, including radar shields for aircraft.

Other awards presented at the dinner included:

• Eminent Scholars - Hatab, Lepsha Vuskovic (physics) and Li Xu (information technology and decision sciences)

• University Professors - James Kosnik (music), Joyce Magnotto Neff (English), Steven Rhiel (information technology and decision sciences) and James Swanson (biological sciences)

• Teaching with Technology Awards - Karen Crum (educational leadership and counseling), Kurt Gaubatz (international studies) and Katherine Gossett (English)

• Provost's Award for Leadership in International Education - Qiu Jin (history)

• Doctoral Mentoring Awards - Laurel Garzon (nursing), Regina Karp (international studies) and John Ritz (occupational and technical studies)

• J. Worth Pickering Administrator of the Year Award - Terrell Perry (Center for Learning Technologies)

• Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards - James Benton (College of Business and Public Administration) and Abby Braitman (College of Sciences).

The following retiring administrator and faculty members were recognized:

• Ed Fraim (athletic development)

• Hiroyuki Hamada (exercise science, sport, physical education and recreation)

• John Holsinger (biological sciences)

• Peter Mikulka (psychology)

• Raymond Morgan (educational curriculum and instruction)

• Allen Sandler (early childhood, speech-language pathology and special education)

• Carl Schulz (mathematics and statistics).

This article was posted on: May 7, 2009

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