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University honors excellence with Eminent Faculty Awards

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The University of Louisiana at Lafayette has recognized five exemplary educators as its 2022 Eminent Faculty class.

The UL Lafayette Foundation sponsors the annual awards. They are the highest recognition the University confers on faculty.

Established in 1965, the awards honor educators for their research, teaching effectiveness, and contributions to their professions and to campus life.

“For nearly sixty years, the Eminent Faculty Awards have acknowledged exceptional faculty members whose commitment in the classroom, to research, and to community service and engagement epitomizes the core mission of the University,” said John Blohm, vice president for University Advancement and the Foundation’s CEO.

Blohm noted that the 2022 class of Eminent Faculty honorees is the first since UL Lafayette’s official designation as a Carnegie Research 1 University, a status held by just 3% of the nation’s higher education institutions.

“To understand how the University achieved this top-tier designation, look no further than the quality of this year’s Eminent Faculty honorees. They are indicative of the extraordinary scholars, educators and community servants you’ll find in every discipline here,” he added.

Dr. Afef Fekih and Dr. Emily K. Sandoz are this year’s Distinguished Professor Award honorees. Fekih is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Sandoz is a professor in the Department of Psychology.

The Dr. Ray P. Authement Excellence in Teaching Award is named for the University’s fifth president. It has recognized faculty commitment to teaching and innovation since 1992.

This year’s recipients are Dr. Philip Auter and Associate Professor Sarah Young. Auter is a professor in the Department of Communication. Young is a faculty member in the School of Architecture and Design.

The Leadership Service Award recipient is Dr. Emad Habib, a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering.

The Foundation first presented the award in 2016. It honors a faculty member who combines service learning with classroom instruction to forge skills and knowledge that students can apply to community leadership opportunities.

The University selects the honorees based on recommendations from a faculty committee. Each recipient receives a $5,000 stipend.

Profiles of the recipients follow.

Dr. Philip J. Auter holds the Hubert Bourgeois Endowed Professorship in Communication, and is graduate coordinator for the Department of Communication. He collaborated with American University in Cairo, Egypt, on “The Handbook of Research on Communication as an Agent of Change in the Modern Arab World.” Auter is planning a partnership for cross-cultural programming between the universities. He is past executive director of the American Communication Association.

Dr. Afef Fekih holds the Harold Callais/BORSF Endowed Professorship in Electrical and Computer Engineering and the O’Krepki/BORSF Professorship in Telecommunications. She is director of the University’s Advanced Control Systems Laboratory. Her research interests include control theory and applications, nonlinear and robust control, fault-tolerant control and dynamic system modeling. Her research was featured by the Thomson Reuters Science Watch Essential Science Indicators.

Dr. Emad Habib is the Theriot Endowed Chair in Hydrology. He directs the University’s Louisiana Watershed Flood Center and is interim director of its Institute for Coastal and Water Research. He was Researcher of the Year for the College of Engineering in 2021. His research in flood prediction and mitigation, and water and climate sustainability has been widely recognized. He earned the UL Lafayette Foundation’s Distinguished Professor Award in 2016.

Dr. Emily K. Sandoz holds the Emma Louise LeBlanc Burguieres/BORSF Professorship in Social Sciences. She directs the University’s Louisiana Contextual Science Research Group, and is graduate coordinator for the Department of Psychology’s master’s degree program. Sandoz was recognized as an Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor. She is a fellow of the Association for Contextual Behavior Science. Sandoz is a licensed clinical psychologist.

Associate Professor Sarah Young is a faculty member in the School of Architecture and Design. She earned the College of the Arts’ Rising Star Award. Her research interests include design pedagogy and design communications dealing with representation, writing and storytelling. She was a member of a team of researchers whose grand prize-winning “Coastal Caretaker” project was featured in an exhibit in Ankara, Turkey.

UL Lafayette’s 2022 Eminent Faculty class will be recognized during a private luncheon on Friday, June 10.

Photo caption: This year’s Eminent Faculty Award honorees at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette are, top row, from left: Dr. Philip J. Auter, Dr. Afef Fekih, and Dr. Emad Habib. Bottom row, from left, are: Dr. Emily K. Sandoz and Associate Professor Sarah Young. Photo credit: Doug Dugas / University of Louisiana at Lafayette

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