The awards recognize individuals who have distinguished themselves over a period of years in service to the school, community, profession, teaching and research.
The three were presented with certificates and cash awards at a ceremony held recently at VCUQatar with Dean Allyson Vanstone, Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs Peter Chomowicz and a host of VCUQatar faculty and staff. Recipients of the Distinguished Achievement Awards are nominated by a committee of their peers.
Dr. Khaled Saoud received the Distinguished Achievement Faculty Award for Teaching for his extraordinary efforts to link mathematics and physics to the interests of the VCUQatar design students through an emphasis on the physics of color, light and materials. Dr. Saoud created a lab manual and new series of experiments to provide a stimulating, enjoyable and memorable learning experience for the students. His course has become very popular for cross-registration of students across Education City. To share the students’ experiments, Dr. Saoud collaborated with Dr. John Schmeelk to initiate the VCUQatar Math and Physics Day. This has developed an excellent audience, bringing students from the universities and K-12 schools to speak with the students about their experiments.
The Distinguished Achievement Faculty Award for Research was presented to Patty Paine for her dedication to research both individually and through many collaborative efforts. Ms Gibbons founded diode, an online poetry anthology in 2007 that continues to publish many poets that are both emerging and established. She conceived of and collaborated on an Undergraduate Research Experience Project grant with another faculty member and a group of students to translate Arabic poetry into English. This project grew into the discovery, selection and recruiting of more than 35 Gulf poets to participate in an anthology. This unique anthology will be published by Garnet Press for release in 2011. In addition to initiating and developing very successful collaborations, Ms Gibbons creates and publishes her own poetry every year, winning accolades from the poetry world, including her chapbook, Elegy & Collapse and her upcoming collection of poems entitled Oracle Bones.
Jesse Ulmer was honored with the Distinguished Achievement Faculty Award for Service for his enthusiasm and endless energy to support students, faculty and staff for an enhanced community experience. Early in his career at VCUQatar, Ms. Ulmer provided great support as an editor on the VCUQatar 10th anniversary publication and continues writing and editorial collaborations today on the Tasmeem 2011 conference. Mr. Ulmer also acted as the VCUQatar liaison for the Education City faculty and staff life committee. While in this role, he worked with colleagues across Education City to develop many extracurricular community activities. A significant undertaking was becoming the head coach of the VCUQatar women’s basketball team for the past three seasons. Thanks to his dedication, VCUQatar students are learning a great deal about collaboration in team sports, and even won their first three games last season. In addition, Mr. Ulmer has been very active in supporting Admissions activities, public presentations, new employee recruitment, and links with external organizations such as Reach Out to Asia.
“Dr. Saoud, Ms. Gibbons and Mr. Ulmer are highly accomplished in their respective fields, and teach with dedication and inspiration,” said Dean Vanstone. "They foster mutual respect, academic challenge and transformative learning at VCUQatar. Their students, faculty colleagues, and all of us at the university are delighted to celebrate their contributions by presenting them with this year’s awards.”
(L to R) Dr. Khaled Saoud, Dean Allyson Vanstone, Jesse Ulmer and Patty Paine Gibbons