Today@Sam Article

2018 Faculty Excellence Award Recipients Announced

May 10, 2018
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti


President Dana Hoyt (far left) and Provost Richard Eglsaer (far right) recently recognized the 2018 Faculty Excellence Award recipients. They are (from left) Jihong “Solomon” Zhao, Ronald Daigle, Edie Wells and Bala Maniam (not pictured).

Four Sam Houston State University professors whose teaching, scholarly accomplishments, service and academic engagement stand out among their peers have been honored with the 2018 Faculty Excellence Awards. 

The recipients are Ronald Daigle, Excellence in Teaching; Jihong “Soloman” Zhao, Excellence in Scholarly and Creative Accomplishments; Bala Maniam, Excellence in Service; and Edie Wells, the David Payne Academic Community Engagement Award.

Excellence in Teaching  

FacultyExcellence2Ronald Daigle, professor, Department of Accounting

Ronald Daigle came to SHSU in 2006. He has been recognized for his valued publication contributions in the field of accounting, his ability to capture student interest on course subjects and his national reputation as an innovative instructor.   

“Dr. Daigle has mastered the integration of teaching, research and service in a way that is the ideal of academic profession,” wrote one nominator. “A journal article that he published served as a blueprint for the assessment plan for the entire Department of Accounting at SHSU. We adopted this plan in 2008 and have continually used this plan for the last 10 years.”

Another colleague wrote, “He is a teaching innovator through his multi-media presentations, bringing the ‘real world’ into the classroom by securing as guest lectures the actual individuals who are the subjects of the case studies in textbooks.”

Also noted, were his impressive efforts to provide students with the skills needed to compete in the technologically enhanced accounting and business environment workforce.


Excellence in Scholarly and Creative Accomplishments

FacultyExcellence1Jihong “Solomon” Zhao, professor, Department of Criminal Justice

With three published books, 83 peer-reviewed research articles and securing over $900,000 in external research funding, Jihong “Solomon” Zhao’s continuous commitment to scholarly and creative pursuits is evident.

Not only has Zhao established himself as a nationally and internationally known scholar, his research has influenced important police policies and practices.

“Dr. Zhao’s outstanding research helped our department become more recognized as the most productive research faculty in the field criminology and criminal justice. His work has elevated the research profile of SHSU in the U.S. and China,” wrote a colleague.

One nominator noted Zhao’s remarkable commitment to student development. “Although he receives positive course evaluations, his teaching evaluations do not tell the whole story. He spends hours each week doing one-on-one mentoring. He makes himself available and his advice is always sound.”


Excellence in Service

prof-bala_1_origBala Maniam, professor, Department of General Business & Finance

Since joining the faculty in 1997, Bala Maniam has established an outstanding career at SHSU. Having previously earned two excellence awards, this new honor makes him the recipient of all three awards.

Maniam’s career demonstrates a consistent commitment to service activities that have had a positive impact in-line with the mission and goals of the university. He says his teaching philosophy comes from how teachers and professor influenced his life, which has translated into "what can I do" to enhance education for others.

Several colleagues noted the significant impact Maniam has made through his development of the College of Business and Administration’s General Business Conference. Throughout the years, the conference has brought top scholars to the university from around the globe, created numerous scholarships for students and helped build a greater public profile for the college.

His hard work serving on numerous committees and going beyond to support the educational needs of his students are why one nominator finds the award so deserving for Maniam.  “Bala represents the best of Sam Houston State. Day or night, he is continuously collaborating, encouraging and motivating.”


The David Payne Academic Community Engagement Award

FacultyExcellence3Edie Wells, clinical assistant professor, Department of Art

As recipient of an award given to a faculty member for upholding the SHSU motto, “The measure of a Life is its Service,” Edie Wells stood out from other nominees because, as one colleague noted, “the numbers of families benefiting from her efforts and those of her students.”

When Wells saw an opportunity to use her passion for visual art as a means of making an impact with families in need, she began an important partnership with the Hospitality House.

​For seven years, Wells has worked with the organization to provide an art program for families with incarcerated relatives. Hundreds of such families travel to Huntsville every week to visit their loved ones in one of nine area prisons. In addition to providing food and shelter during their stay, the Hospitality House also serves as a place where children can come together and share a common bond through art.

By providing opportunities for artistic expression, Wells and her students have impacted individuals of all ages. Her students not only learn to teach art techniques, but also how serve the community in a meaningful way. Most importantly, the students see the emotional healing as these family members of incarcerated loved ones express themselves and connect through art.

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