Home Governor McAuliffe honors 2015 Outstanding Faculty Award recipients

Governor McAuliffe honors 2015 Outstanding Faculty Award recipients


virginia-newGovernor Terry McAuliffe honored 13 Virginia educators as recipients of the 29th annual Outstanding Faculty Award (OFA) for excellence in teaching, research, and public service. The faculty members from colleges and universities across the Commonwealth will be recognized during an awards ceremony at the Jefferson Hotel as part of the annual OFA program administered by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) and sponsored by Dominion Resources. Governor McAuliffe will serve as the keynote speaker.

“Supporting Virginia’s excellent system of higher education is a crucial component of my workforce agenda,”said Governor McAuliffe. “The outstanding faculty members we honor here today have the ability to show students how their interests can be leveraged into meaningful lives. This is a calling for these educators and we thank them for their efforts with these awards.”

“A major goal of SCHEV’s recently completed Statewide Strategic Plan for Higher Education is to optimize student success for work and life,” said SCHEV Director Peter Blake. “That is exactly what these educators do every day of their professional lives.”

“This marks the 11th year Dominion has partnered with SCHEV to honor the Commonwealth’s outstanding faculty members,” said Hunter A. Applewhite, president of the Dominion Foundation. “This is an invaluable opportunity to support those who shape our students in such a positive way and in turn shape the future of Virginia.”

The awards are being made through a $75,000 grant from the Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources. Dominion Virginia Power is a subsidiary of Dominion Resources.


2014 Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award Recipients

  • Dr. Callan Bentley is an assistant professor of Geology at Northern Virginia Community College where he teaches introductory level geology, and several intermediate level field classes, including summer field courses in Montana, California, west Texas, and the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
  • Dr. Stephen Cushman is Robert C. Taylor Professor of English at the University of Virginia, where he has taught since 1982.  He specializes in American and modern literature, poetry, and the American Civil War.
  • Dr. Paul Philip D’Andrea was named the Clarence Robinson Professor of Theater and English Literature at George Mason University in 1985 and is a teacher, scholar, artistic director, producer, institution-builder and internationally recognized playwright. He has studied physics, philosophy, and literature at Harvard and Oxford.
  • Dr. Gail Elizabeth Dodge is a professor in the Department of Physics at Old Dominion University, where she has been a member of the faculty since 1995.  Her research is in the area of experimental nuclear physics, which she studies by scattering high energy beams of electrons on proton and deuteron targets at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Virginia.
  • Dr. Albert Farrell is Professor of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University where he joined the faculty in 1980. He is also Director of the Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development which he founded in 2005. Dr. Farrell is widely known for his efforts to develop programs to reduce violence among adolescents.
  • Dr. Jennifer Jones is an associate professor and Program Area Leader for the Literacy Education program at Radford University where she has served since 2003.  A founding director of the Radford University Malawi Study Abroad program, Jones engages college students in service learning opportunities within a rural village school in Malawi, Africa each summer.
  • Dr. Sarah Kucenas is an assistant professor of Biology at the University of Virginia, where she has taught and conducted research since Fall 2009. Dr. Kucenas’ research group focuses on elucidating the cellular and molecular mechanisms that establish and maintain spinal motor nerves.
  • Dr. Lance A. Liotta is a professor in the School of Systems Biology, College of Science, George Mason University (GMU). He joined GMU in 2005 as Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, where he is the Medical Director. Dr. Liotta is internationally recognized for his cancer research.
  • Dr. Miriam Liss is a professor of Psychology at the University of Mary Washington, where she has taught since 2001. She teaches a variety of classes including General Psychology, Personality, Psychology of Women, and Introduction to Clinical Psychology. She also regularly supervises psychology internships and has developed a collaborative program in which students spend a semester at New England Center for Children outside of Boston.
  • Dr. Aswini Pradhan is a professor of engineering at Norfolk State University (NSU).  He joined NSU in 2003 as a research professor for the Center for Materials Research and joined the Department of Engineering in 2007.  Dr. Pradhan is a leading scientist in the field of next-generation novel nanomaterials for energy, innovative electronics, and optics as well as biomedical applications.
  • Dr. Deborah Kay Steinberg is CSX Professor of Marine Science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, The College of William and Mary where she has been a member of the faculty since 2001. Her research focuses on the role that zooplankton play in marine food webs and the global carbon cycle, and how these small drifting animals are affected by changes in climate.
  • Dr. James E. Turner Sr. is Head of the Biology Department at the Virginia Military Institute where he has been a full time faculty member since 2001. After a career in biomedical research, medical education, and administration, Professor Turner returned to his alma mater and is the Institute’s founding Director for Undergraduate Research.


SCHEV has administered the Outstanding Faculty Awards since its inception in 1986. Photos and additional biographical information about each of this year’s recipients can be found on the web at www.schev.edu/AdminFaculty/OFAprogramIndex.asp.

Headquartered in Richmond, Dominion is one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy. Dominion operates the nation’s largest natural gas storage system and serves retail energy customers in 15 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company’s website at www.dom.com.



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