Chancellor’s Council Recognizes Faculty Achievement at Texas Tech University

Honoring exemplary faculty achievement in teaching and research, Texas Tech University System Chancellor Robert L. Duncan presented faculty at Texas Tech University with the Chancellor’s Council distinguished faculty awards.

The awards are the highest honor the Texas Tech University System bestows on members of the faculty. Recipients receive a medallion featuring the system seal and an award of $5,000. The awards are funded by the Chancellor’s Council, which supports top scholar recruitment, faculty recognition and other strategic initiatives that encourage excellence across the four universities of the Texas Tech University System.

This year, the Chancellor’s Council honored the contributions of 16 faculty members across the Texas Tech University System with the Distinguished Teaching and Research Awards, including two recipients at Angelo State University, four recipients at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and four recipients at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

Texas Tech University President M. Duane Nellis was on hand to introduce recipients from his institution and add his congratulations.

“These recognitions are hard earned and well deserved,” said Nellis. “I am proud of these individuals, who represent the fabric of high quality teaching and research of all faculty on campus. We appreciate Chancellor Duncan for his recognition of these outstanding faculty members.”

Distinguished Teaching Awards

The Chancellor’s Council presented Distinguished Teaching Awards for Texas Tech University to James Brink, Jorge Ramírez, and Aliza Wong.

James “Jim” Brink is an associate professor in the Texas Tech University Honors College. During his his 38 year career at Texas Tech University he has served in numerous roles, including a decade in the Office of the Provost where he served as senior vice provost for academic affairs and other leadership positions.

Brink founded the Tech Transition freshman seminar and was the founding chairman of the Teaching Academy. He has developed and taught more than 10 different courses over the course of his career and has been honored with each of the university’s major teaching awards. He received his undergraduate degrees in French and history from the University of Kansas and graduate degrees in early modern European history from the University of Washington.

Jorge Ramírez is a professor and associate dean for international programs in the Texas Tech University School of Law. Responsible for the international exchange law programs, Ramirez directs the summer law programs in Guanajuato, Mexico, and Kaunas, Lithuania. His international teaching experience covers a span of countries that include Bolivia, Costa Rica and Paraguay.

As a visiting professor, Ramírez was instrumental in developing a student/faculty exchange agreement and summer program at Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania. He also developed the Master of Laws program in U.S. Legal Studies at Texas Tech University and is credited with greatly diversifying educational opportunities for the law school’s faculty and students. Ramírez received both a bachelor’s degree in economics and a law degree from Harvard University.

Aliza Wong is an associate dean of the Honors College and associate professor of history in the Department of History at Texas Tech University. With interests in race, national identity and popular culture in modern Italy, Wong has taught more than 16 different courses since joining the faculty in 2002. Consistently described by students as engaging, enthusiastic and supportive, she initiated the Open Teaching Concept, which encourages faculty to reach across disciplinary boundaries in support of teaching, mentoring, diversity, access and opportunity.

Wong is a two-time Fulbright U.S. Scholar and has been recognized with the Department of History’s Distinguished Faculty Teaching award, the Hemphill-Wells New Professor Excellence in Teaching award and the President’s Excellence in Teaching award. She has served as president of the Faculty Senate and is the Mortar Board adviser. Wong received her doctorate from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Distinguished Research Awards

Distinguished Research Awards for Texas Tech University were presented to Carla Davis Cash, Changzhi Li and Shu Wang.

Carla Davis Cash is an associate professor of piano and piano pedagogy in the Texas Tech University School of Music. A leader in the design and implementation of empirical studies of music learning, Cash is known for the collaborative nature of her research. She has been published in leading national journals and has presented her findings internationally.

I am proud of these individuals, who represent the fabric of high quality teaching and research of all faculty on campus.

M. Duane NellisPresident
Texas Tech University

Cash has been honored twice with the Outstanding Research Award from the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy and is a member of the editorial boards of Texas Music Education and the Journal of Research in Music Performance. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in keyboard performance and pedagogy from the University of Miami and her doctorate in music and human learning from The University of Texas at Austin.

Changzhi Li is an associate professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Texas Tech University. Having authored 70 peer-review journal publications, Li’s research on the study of integrated circuits and energy efficiency of microelectronics is frequently cited by researchers in the field. His research into using portable radar technology to track the motion of lung cancer tumors in patients has been recognized and sponsored by the Cancer Prevention Research Institution of Texas — a notable endorsement for an electrical engineer.

Li has presented at more than 79 conferences around the world and has been awarded more than $1.2 million in research grant funding. He is the recipient of the IEEE-HKN Outstanding Young Professional Award, the American Society for Engineering Education’s Frederick Emmons Terman Award and the National Science Foundation CAREER award. He received his bachelor’s degree from Zhejiang University in China and his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Florida.

Shu Wang is an associate professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Texas Tech University. A pioneer in the use of biocompatible and biodegradable nano carriers to treat obesity and cardiovascular disease, her research has been published in 21 refereed journals including the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

Wang has secured more than $850,000 in sponsored research, including support from the National Institutes of Health. Her accolades include being named a finalist for the American Heart Association’s Young Investigator Award and recipient of the Outstanding Research Award from the Texas Tech University College of Human Sciences. Wang received a medical degree from Jilin University in China, a master’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from Capital Medical University in China and a doctorate in nutritional biochemistry and metabolism from Tufts University.

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