2022 Salute to Faculty Excellence Reception

Last night we hosted our annual Salute to Faculty Excellence Reception. Five faculty recipients were awarded based on their achievements. Congratulations to those awarded!

Dr. Selcuk Acar for the Faculty Research Excellence

Dr. Acar has published 16 journal articles in the last three years and is the lead author in 9 of them. He is also the author of four book chapters. Additionally, he was the recipient (PI) of a large grant from the Department of Education. His work has been cited over 1,600 times since 2019.

Dr. Dan Li for the Junior Faculty Research Excellence Award

Dr. Li is an Assistant Professor of Counseling in the Department of Counseling and Higher Education who began her appointment at UNT in 2019. For the review period including 2019 to 2021, Dr. Li published 12 empirical, refereed journal articles in top tier journals, 9 as lead author. Additionally, she was awarded small grants - two external grants and one internal grant. She had 12 professional presentations, and published 1 book chapter. These totals are impressive across all scholarly areas, indicating that Dr. Li far exceeds the expectations of the typical junior faculty and, instead, is already producing at a pace commensurate of the top scholars in her discipline.

Dr. Yolanda Mitchell for the Faculty Teaching Excellence Award

Dr. Mitchell has dedicated herself to teaching and students here, especially our students of color and first-generation students. She has taught larger courses on race, diversity, and culture, which is a task that is difficult to do well and gracefully at a school here in North Texas. Dr. Mitchell has also developed/taught at least 10 different courses over the last 5 years (not including supervision, practicum, research, special problems courses). Her teaching extends beyond the classroom into mentorship of students, especially students of Color (quite a few) outside of her own department even. Her CV demonstrates how she takes her teaching to make an impact in the field of family science as well.

Dr. LaKaavia Taylor for Outstanding Lecturer Award

Dr. Taylor’s teaching record as a clinical professor is impressive, as both students and the colleagues who wrote her nomination letter, speak to her knowledge, competence, and humanity in carrying out her work.

Dr. Brenda Barrio for the Faculty Service Excellence Award

Since arriving at UNT, Dr. Barrio’s leadership and service in the field of special education at the national, international, and regional levels is extensive. One of the most impactful contributions to the university, the college, community, and her field has been leading an interdisciplinary group of faculty, researchers, staff, community members, and students to develop and have implement the UNT ELEVAR program. ELEVAR has risen to prominence at the national level as the only four-year fully inclusive post-secondary education program for young adults with intellectual disabilities in Texas and the first of its kind in the DFW area. Dr. Barrio has also provided her service by providing professional development for families, teachers, and other educators impacting over 300 people across the state. As part of a professional community, she has served in leadership roles in national and international organizations. In 2019, she was voted into the presidential line for the Council for Learning Disabilities, one of the most prominent professional organizations in the field of special education. In 2021, served as the Vice President and Conference Chair, and in mid-2021 she assumed the role of President-Elect. She spent over 100 hours in planning, organizing, and conducting a successful CLD annual conference in 2021 with over 400 people in attendance. In 2019, she was invited to assume the role of Associate Editor for the journal Intervention in School and Clinic (impact factor: 1.28), leading the Diversity Column reviewing more than 15 manuscripts each year. Dr. Barrio has also provided service to the research community in her field as a consulting editor and reviewer for various journals leading efforts in addressing inequality in education. At the University level, she has led one of the core areas for the Center for Racial and Ethnic Equity in Health and Society (CREEHS) providing mentoring to faculty in grant writing and facilitating collaborations between faculty, staff, and community organizations. She is also serving the Faculty Senate as part of the University Writing Awards Committee. She has also served vital leadership and service roles in the College of Education as well as her department and program.

Andrea Black for Outstanding Staff Contribution Award

Andrea Black assumed the role of Administrative Coordinator at a time when the department was facing multiple transitions: a new Department Chair, multiple faculty searches and staff transitions. Despite the inherent challenges of the transition process, Mrs. Black has demonstrated efficiency, creativity, resilience, and timely humor. Not only has Mrs. Black effectively carried out her own responsibilities, but she also assumed the duties of the Center for Play Therapy’s Coordinator when that position was temporarily vacated. It was during this time of additional internal pressure that the department was able to see Mrs. Black’s capacity to handle extreme stress, skillfully multi-task, appropriately delegate, and adeptly supervise. Without complaint, Mrs. Black went far beyond the call of duty, and always with a smile, handled each day with grace and strength. Mrs. Black has been played an integral part in providing support to the faculty. Mrs. Black is an excellent supervisor. With patience and non-judgment, she spends as much time as it takes to ensure that staff members understand their responsibilities. Mrs. Black is always approachable and interacts with students and university personnel with professionalism and engagement. Her customer service orientation is contagious and sets the tone for the department. Mrs. Black is the epitome of excellence and her work ethic is incomparable. She is at the same time an exceptional supervisor, mentor, administrator.