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Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

May 4, 2006
Susan Beasy Latto, Director, UMD Public Relations 218 726-8830

UMD Announces
Faculty Awards for 2005-06

The University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) has announced the following faculty awards for 2005-06.

University of Minnesota System Awards:

Award for Outstanding Contributions to Graduate and Professional Education

This honor is awarded to exceptional candidates nominated by collegiate units in their quest to identify excellence in undergraduate education.
Dennis Falk, UMD Professor, Social Work

Dennis Falk received a Ph.D, in Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota and taught on the Twin Cities and Morris campuses prior to coming to Duluth. He has primarily taught courses on human behavior and advanced social research in the Masters of Social Work Program at UMD for the past 28 years, but has also taught an additional six graduate courses and 12 undergraduate courses during that time. Dr. Falk currently serves as Director of the UMD Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies and has been the Principal Investigator for Title IV-E Child Welfare Educational Project contracts that have brought over $8,000,000 to UMD to provide student stipends and educational programming and support.

Dr. Falk's research interests have included instructional technology, domestic violence, global awareness, and the evaluation of education and human service programs, and he has written one book and over 40 articles and reports on these topics. His University service activities include serving as Director of Graduate Studies, Acting Department Head, and Director of the UMD Study in England Program. His community service includes serving on many boards and committees and consulting on the evaluation of over 20 human service agencies.

Dr. Falk recognizes that numerous students, staff, faculty, and administrators have contributed to all of his activities at UMD, and he very gratefully acknowledges their support.

University of Minnesota Duluth Awards

UMD Chancellor's Distinguished Research Award

This honor is given yearly to recognize the research contributions of a UMD faculty member and to provide opportunities to present developing research to a broad UMD audience.
Barbara Elliott, Professor, Family Medicine

Barbara Elliott PhD, is Professor of Family Medicine at the Medical School Duluth, and Faculty Associate in the Center for Bioethics. Her education includes degrees from the University of Minnesota, studies in Europe, a Visiting Scholar at the Hastings Center, and a Fellowship with the Kellogg National

Leadership Program. She teaches Medical Ethics, and has had continuous research funding since 1984. She has received grants from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HRSA (Maternal Child Health Bureau), National Cancer Institute, the Minnesota Departments of Children, Families and Learning and of Economic Security, the Healthier Minnesota Community Clinics Fund, and local foundations. Dr. Elliott's research focuses on social justice issues in health care settings. Currently most of her research evaluates outcomes of access to health care for at-risk youth. These research projects fund a clinic that serves homeless youth in Duluth, and a demonstration project providing health, social welfare and child care to teen-families. Other projects have documented the impact of improving care for those living with family violence, in rural settings, as part of a minority ethnic group, with mental health issues, in poverty, and at life's end. Her publications have gained the attention of the AMA, Institute of Medicine, legislature, and media as they describe needed improvements in our health care system.

Jean G. Blehart Distinguished Teaching Award

This honor is given each year to a UMD faculty member who has made contributions to the teaching mission of UMD that are of extraordinary quality.
Viktor Zhdankin, Professor, Chemistry

Viktor V. Zhdankin was born in 1956 in Sverdlovsk, Russia. His M.S. (1978), Ph.D. (1981), and Dr.Chem.Sci. (1986) degrees were earned at Moscow State University in the research laboratories of Professor N. S. Zefirov. In 1987 he was appointed as Senior Research Fellow - Head of Research Group at the Department of Chemistry, Moscow State University, in Russia. He moved to the University of Utah in 1990, where he worked for three years as Instructor of organic chemistry and Research Associate with Professor P. J. Stang. In 1993 he joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota Duluth where he is currently a Professor of Chemistry. Professor Zhdankin is one the world's most renowned experts in the organic chemistry of hypervalent main group elements. His research involves the development and application of new reagents for organic synthesis based on polyvalent iodine compounds. He has published over 180 refereed research papers, which are widely cited by organic chemists in many countries. He serves on Editorial Boards of several international journals and is a member of the Japanese Forum on Iodine Utilization. His previous awards include the prestigious national fellowship from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus foundation and the UMD Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Research.

Albert Tezla Teacher/Scholar Award

This award is given annually to a UMD faculty member in the College of Liberal Arts or the School of Fine Arts who has an exceptional and effective teaching style that emphasizes the worth of research in a learned discipline and the maturing impact scholarly activity has on the development of human attitudes and values.
Larry Knopp, Professor, Geography

Larry Knopp earned a B.A. from the University of Washington and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. He has been at UMD since 1989. He serves on the graduate faculties of UMD and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and holds Adjunct/Affiliate appointments at UMTC and the University of Washington.

Larry's scholarly interests coalesce around issues of space and power, particularly in relation to gender, sexuality, race, class, and "nation". A secondary research area has to do with the geography of elections. He has conducted research in North America, Britain, and Australia, and has published in numerous scholarly journals, edited books, and encyclopedia. He has served as book review editor, editorial board member, and manuscript referee for several scholarly journals and books.

Larry believes strongly in the teaching mission of UMD and in the fusion of teaching and scholarship. He teaches a wide range of courses and modules for the Geography, Urban & Regional Studies, and Master of Liberal Studies programs, and has lectured or led field courses in other departments at UMD and elsewhere. In all of this he strives to demonstrate the value of active, socially relevant scholarship, and to mentor students in the discovery of their own academic, intellectual, and activist capacities. Several former students have gone on to earn graduate degrees and/or to make their marks in community service and social advocacy.

Larry plans to use the stipend associated with the Tezla award to establish a new scholarship fund in Geography geared towards enhancing diversity among the department's students.

UMD Outstanding Faculty Adviser Awards

The Outstanding Faculty Adviser Award is given each year to UMD faculty members who have demonstrated outstanding service to their students.

  • Tom Beery, Instructor of Health, Phy Ed & Recreation, College of Education and Human Service Professions
  • Geoff Bell, Assistant Professor of Management Studies, Labovitz School of Business and Economics
  • Craig Grau, Associate Professor of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
  • Vicky Lehman, Assistant Professor of Art & Design, School of Fine Arts
  • Bilin Tsai, Professor of Chemistry, College of Science and Engineering

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