UNC Greensboro faculty are consistently outstanding, in teaching, promoting student success, and carrying out research at the highest levels. This year, twelve faculty members have been recognized with the university-wide awards.
“The excellence embodied in the work of these award recipients distinguishes UNC Greensboro and ensures that our students have an outstanding educational experience,” said Provost Dana Dunn. “We are truly fortunate to have these exceptionally talented individuals as part of our university community.”
Winners of UNCG’s Teaching Awards were honored at a luncheon in February and included below are some descriptions of their accomplishments.
UNC BOG Excellence in Teaching
Carmen Sotomayor, Professor, Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
Sotomayor is professor of Spanish and associate head of her department. In addition to teaching both the undergraduate and graduate levels, she leads a study abroad program for undergraduates each summer in Spain and has established and supported new exchange opportunities.
Sotomayor is one of 17 award recipients who represent all 16 of North Carolina’s public universities and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. The faculty members were nominated by special committees on their home campuses and selected by the Board of Governors Committee on Educational Planning, Policies, and Programs.
She is known as a skilled peer mentor in her department and across the profession. Particularly noteworthy have been her leadership in co-organizing LLC’s Language Learning Series workshops held each semester for department colleagues and in-service K-12 teachers from the Triad and beyond and her mentorship of both the NTT Senior Lecturer serving as Director of Language Instruction (DLI) for our enormous (25-faculty-member) lower-level Spanish program and the NTT lecturer who serves as program coordinator for the LLC-managed Global Village Living-Learning Community, whose mission is to offer first-year students the opportunity to live, learn, and have fun with fellow students interested in diverse languages and world cultures. She was also instrumental in establishing LLC’s nationally recognized Modified Language Programs for Spanish and French.
Recent master’s students offered the following reflections:
I consider myself very lucky for having had Dr. Sotomayor as professor because of the valuable cultural insight she has provided me with. Her passion for instilling a sense of wonder and discovery of different cultures that she is familiar with, is evident in her classroom.
I decided to switch my major to Spanish because she gave me the confidence to believe that my heritage could be celebrated. She encouraged me continue learning about my heritage to eventually make changes in the community.
Mary Settle Sharp Award for Teaching Excellence
Elizabeth Perrill, Associate Professor, School of Art
For her courses in art history, Perrill guides students in researching modern and contemporary African artists, completing a social justice-oriented project in which the students research and write about artists’ careers and publish web pages with the information. She has supported students’ preparation for presenting at national-level conferences, as well as at UNCG expos. She is the recipient of teaching awards such as an Open Education Resources (OER) Mini-Grant, a Global Engagement Course Development Award, and a Transforming the Humanities Initiative Award funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Perrill brought her curatorial vision and research experience to the North Carolina Museum of Art’s African Gallery, which opened in 2017 and is three times as large as the prior installation. With NCMA’s education department, she also helped develop activities and interpretive materials to help the museum convey themes and build knowledge and connection with visitors.
A graduate student says of her teaching:
Dr. Perrill is dedicated to teaching her students a range of lifelong research skills. During the sophomore seminar, she brought our class to the library both to receive training from a librarian and to demonstrate the scanning technologies in relationship to creating a research archive. By prioritizing academic and practical methodologies, Dr. Perrill sets the stage for her students’ success and defines the art history program at UNCG as exceptional.
James Y. Joyner Award for Teaching Excellence
Robyn Le Blanc, Assistant Professor, Department of Classical Studies
Le Blanc teaches Classical Mythology, classical civilization, and archaeology courses. She is known by colleagues and students for her approachability, humor, and her innovative courses and material. She is a recipient of an Alumni Teaching Excellence Award (junior) and New Faculty Research Grant.
“What has made Robyn such a successful teacher is both her love of the material and her desire to get students to want to learn it,” says Maura Hehn, head of Classical Studies. “In evaluations of Robyn’s teaching students consistently cite her passion for what she is doing as the reason they like her so much:
I love how passionate Dr. Le Blanc is about the subject.
Professor Le Blanc’s passion helps me enjoy the class so much more.
Le Blanc is a great prof and passionate about her job and her students.
Her excitement in teaching the material made it more exciting to learn about it.“
Anna Maria Gove Award for Teaching Excellence
Meiqing Sun, Senior Lecturer, Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
Sun has served both LLC’s Chinese Studies program and IGS’s major concentration in Asian Studies, as an administrator of the Chinese Studies program and an active scholar in the pedagogically-related field of applied linguistics for Mandarin Chinese. She facilitates conversation opportunities for Chinese learners with native and heritage-Chinese speakers has played a major role in coordinating the annual Asian Autumn Festival and has led LLC’s annual Chinese Film Series, Chinese New Year Festival, and Chinese Music Concert.
“Like her students, colleagues regularly applaud her superior knowledge of the material, masterful organization, timely return of assignments, stimulating classroom environment, engaging demeanor, and tireless dedication to successful learning,” said head of LLC Robert Campo. “Without question, Dr. Meiqing Sun is an extraordinary teacher who has been and continues to be a lasting inspiration for her students while serving as a model of commitment to teaching excellence for all of her colleagues.”
UNCG Online Award for Excellence in Online Education
Vasyl Taras, Associate Professor, Department of Management
Instruction and Education Awards
Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award (Graduate)
Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll, Professor, Dept. of Interior Architecture
Thomas Undergraduate Research Mentor Award, pre-tenured category
Blair Wisco, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
Thomas Undergraduate Research Mentor Award, post-tenure category
Tyreasa Washington, Associate Professor, Department of Social Work
Student Learning Enhancement Awards
Department of Anthropology
Department of Biology
Department of History
Advising Excellence Award
Cristina Moreira, Lecturer, Department of Biology
Service Leadership Awards
Gladys Strawn Bullard Award (Faculty)
Joanne Murphy, Associate Professor, Department of Classical Studies
Holshouser Award for Excellence in Public Service Award (2019 Nominee)
Ann Somers, Senior Lecturer, Department of Biology
Research Excellence Awards
Senior Research Excellence Award
Olav Rueppell, Florence Schaeffer Distinguished Professor of Science, Department of Biology
Junior Research Excellence Award Joanne Murphy, Associate Professor, Department of Classical Studies
Story by Susan Kirby-Smith, University Communications
Photography courtesy of Elizabeth Perrill, bruce mcclung, and Mariche Bayonas