GO: Celebrating Innovation and Creativity

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

2019 Award Winners


Spring is most definitely one of my favorite seasons—it’s a time when we celebrate the successes of our faculty and staff who have worked hard to help our students. Once again, the Office of Instruction team, including Naomi Norman, Bill Vencill and I made surprise visits to honor our 2019 Creative Teaching Award and 2019 Outstanding Academic Advisor Award recipients. We also honored our FYOS faculty at the First-Year Odyssey Seminar Spring Luncheon and Teaching Award Ceremony.

The Creative Teaching Award recognizes faculty who have taken innovative steps to promote student success in their classes and have made a significant impact at the University of Georgia. This year we chose four individuals who helped students apply their knowledge in engaged, hands-on learning activities outside the traditional classroom.

  • Joseph Goetz (Financial Planning, Housing and Consumer Economics) created the ASPIRE clinic – the nation’s first clinical practicum, service-learning course in financial planning in which students provide pro-bono financial planning and counseling services to couples or individuals from the local community.
  • Keith Herndon (Journalism) engages students in the Grady Mobile News Lab using new virtual reality video editing technologies. He also works with the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation leadership training program to help students develop skills in conflict resolution and decision making in a chaotic news media environment.
  • Mark W. Huber (Management Information Systems) integrates custom cases with a flipped classroom approach, weekly involvement by practicing experts from industry, and a final case competition sponsored by PricewatershouseCoopers, LLC.
  • Sarah Shannon (Sociology) launched a service-learning course, the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, in collaboration with the local Clarke County Sheriff’s Office, to exchange ideas and perceptions about crime and justice, the criminal justice system, and imprisonment. 

We also recognized outstanding First-Year Odyssey Seminar instructors who have demonstrated creativity or innovation in instruction, connection of seminar content to the instructor’s research, and incorporation of FYOS program goals into the seminar. This year’s recipients have been fully engaged with their students, provided them with a strong connection to the university through their research, and tied their curriculum directly to FYOS program goals. Winners of the FYOS Teaching Award include:

  • Grace Ahn (Advertising) — “Harnessing the Power of Digital Technology for Better Lifestyle Choices”
  • Todd Callaway (Animal and Dairy Science) — “Poo and You: Microbes, Our Animals, and a Safe Food Supply”
  • Cesar Escalante (Agricultural and Applied Economics) — “Social Issues in Agricultural Finance—from Racial and Gender Biases, to Immigration Policies, and Microfinance”
  • Adam Milewski (Geology) — “Water: The Most Important Resource of the World
  • Doris Miller (Veterinary Pathology) — “Animal Forensic CSI”
  • Jeffrey Berejikian (International Affairs) — “Foreign Policy and Neuroscience”

Four University of Georgia academic advisors have received a 2019 Outstanding Undergraduate Academic Advising Award. Mike Merva, recipient in the advising administrator category, Ali Gerlach, recipient in the new advisor category, Umesh Patel, recipient in the professional advisor category and Antonina Ignatiuc, recipient in the special populations category, were all nominated by their supervisors and selected by a team of students and former advisor award winners who reviewed the nominations.

Their passion for helping students is evident in each of these faculty and staff. They are the heart of this university and motivate our students to not just succeed but to excel in their own pursuits.

Please join me in congratulating our winners and be thinking about what we can do to continue building or scaling innovative practices at UGA. I’d love to hear your ideas and see how we may be able to help you in these efforts.


Rahul Shrivastav
Vice President for Instruction