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Outstanding Faculty Recognized For Excellence

May 20, 2011
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May

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The 2011 Faculty Excellence Award recipients, pictured with SHSU President Dana Gibson (second from right) are from left: Hiranya Nath, Stacy Ulbig and Sergio Ruiz.

Three faculty members who excel at teaching, service and research have been selected for special recognition from among the hundreds at Sam Houston State University who also do those things well.

Award recipients for excellence in teaching, research and service for 2011 include Stacy Ulbig, Hiranya Nath and Sergio Ruiz. Each will receive $5,000.

Stacy Ulbig, Excellence In Teaching

Stacy Ulbig

Stacy Ulbig, associate professor of political science, came to Sam Houston State University in August 2007, after teaching five years at Missouri State University. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Thomas and her master’s and doctoral degrees from Rice University.

Her teaching interests include American government, political behavior, political participation, public opinion, quantitative methods, and survey research techniques.

She was previously given an award for excellence in teaching by the SHSU Department of Political Science in 2010 and by the Missouri State University College of Humanities and Public Affairs in 2005.

Ulbig is a member of the American Political Science Association, the Southern Political Science Association and the Midwest Political Science Association and has served with those organizations as panel chair and discussant on numerous occasions.

She has a number of publications, conference presentations, and service activities, but her co-workers and her current and former students say her positive impact on teaching, which extends to her students, colleagues and scholars of the discipline, makes her stand out in the classroom and beyond.

Some of their comments include:

“Dr. Ulbig truly wants her students to succeed. She made every possible effort to engage the students in the material. I have never had a teacher who provided so many options to get contacted. She made herself available in her office, in class, after class, via e-mail, via phone, via Facebook even. On one particular writing assignment, she even created an audio recording of her constructive comments and sent it to us via e-mail so that we would not have to wait for the following week to get crucial feedback. I happen to know her teaching scores are consistently high. She is a true teacher!”

“She is extremely knowledgeable and genuinely cares about her students, but will not hold your hand. She makes you take responsibility, like a true college professor should.”

“During the fall semester I took Dr. Ulbig's class on 'Political Attitudes and Behaviors' and I must say that I have never been more impressed with a class in my life. Dr. Ulbig not only made the material relevant, but also made it easy to understand without taking away the challenge that belongs in an upper level course. This university would do well by hiring more instructors like Dr. Ulbig.”

“She is great, makes class interesting, and is there for the students. She learns with us by helping us be up-to-date with world and local news. She guaranteed I'd pass the class, and I did! I couldn't ask for a better professor.”

“I first took Dr. Ulbig my junior year here at Sam Houston. Having her as my professor made me take a bit more pride in my political science degree. It was great to know that people like her existed in my field and had such passion about their field of study. She made me WANT to go to class, and not just because I paid to go. Class was enjoyable, memorable and I actually learned beyond that semester. I kept what information I learned instead of just sticking it in short-term memory to be forgotten as soon as the semester ended. I am now taking her stats class and once again she is a great help. Dr. Ulbig has made my life here at SHSU great. She is definitely one of the university's best assets.”

Hiranya Nath, Excellence In Research

Hiranya Nath

Known not only for conducting his own research but also for helping other researchers at SHSU, Hiranya Nath earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from the University of Delhi. He received a Master of Philosophy degree in economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1996, and a Master of Arts in economics in 1998 and doctorate in economics in 2002, both from Southern Methodist University. He has taught in the Department of Economics and International Business at SHSU since 2002.

His research on macro and monetary economics, development economics, and information economics has resulted in over 30 publications in peer-reviewed journals and other outlets. One of his papers, “Information Services in the U.S. Economy: Value, Jobs, and Management Implications,” was published in the California Management Review and was required reading for graduate-level courses at the University of California, Berkeley.

Nath has established a research seminar series within the SHSU Department of Economics and International Business as well as a departmental working paper series, which has promoted interactions with scholars around the world.

Some of the comments supporting his nomination for the research award include:

“Hiranya’s research record is outstanding by any measure; the breadth, depth and volume of his publication record are impressive. He also coauthors with a number of different colleagues, which is a testament to his kind nature and ability to work with others and as part of a team.”

“His empirical analysis allows him to take a hands-on approach to explore how data, measurement and different methodologies can find new results or explain discrepancies with theory or prior findings. This real-world approach also serves Hiranya well in the classroom and with business students, who are often looking to apply what they learn.”

“He has made several major contributions to a wide range of economic literature. Although his most significant contribution is in the field of monetary economics, his work enriched other areas such as information economics, international economics and e-commerce as well. Recently he has become a research ‘partner’ in Business and Information Technologies Global Research Network at UCLA’s prestigious Anderson School of Management. This is truly an outstanding achievement and speaks volumes about his versatility — a rare commodity among modern academic researchers.”

“Among my research collaborators, I hold Hiranya in the highest esteem. Even after publishing numerous excellent articles in various high-quality journals, his motivation and passion for work seem to only increase. His mind is full of ideas and he is always excited to explore new research avenues, which makes it a lot of fun to work with him. I hope to continue working with him for a long time to come.”

Sergio Ruiz, Excellence In Service

Sergio Ruiz

Sergio Ruiz has been called a “model” to his students and his community. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music degree at Santa Clara University; his Master of Music degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music; a Performance Certificate at Academia Marshall/Granados in Barcelona, Spain; and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Rice University.

His specialty is piano performance, and he has applied his talents and interests beyond the classroom to local, national and international service projects.

As an associate professor of music, director of keyboard studies, and director of the Institute of Latin American Music Studies at SHSU since 2004, Ruiz helped procure $80,00 in endowed piano scholarships in 2010; built and recruited an active international piano area which helped to increase piano major enrollment at the university by 500 percent; and prepared and revised undergraduate and graduate degree piano curriculum for accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music.

He was also the creator and director of Festival Inspiración 2011, a six-day Latin American Arts Festival at SHSU.

He has taught master classes for schools and colleges and has served as a judge for performance competitions from southeast Texas to Asia.

Ruiz has also devoted much of his time and service to SHSU as a member of committees.

Some of the comments supporting his nomination for the service award include:

“As a member of the university’s engaged scholars committee, Dr. Ruiz contacted other universities and experts in the field to understand the role of civic engagement in promotion and tenure decisions. He also helped propose changes to the university faculty evaluation system to include civic engagement within teaching, research and service.”

“Dr. Ruiz collaborated in the writing of the application for the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement, which took over a year. After the application was submitted, SHSU received word that we are now one of 115 colleges and universities awarded the classification this year!”

“I can’t think of a better person than Dr. Ruiz, who exemplifies the university motto: ‘The measure of a Life is its Service.’ He gives of himself and his talents, not only in his service to the university, but in his service to the local and global community.”

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