Recipients | Kent State University

The President's Faculty Excellence Award was created in 2015 to recognize exceptional performance by a faculty member, which leads to the achievement of national or international recognition. Under the collective bargaining agreement, the university will award a pool of $400,000 in the form of special salary adjustments over a three-year period.

National or international recognition may be demonstrated in research, teaching and/or service. Tenured and tenure-track faculty members in all disciplines and from all campuses were eligible based on recommendations to department chairs and deans.

A total of 74 nominations and self-nominations were received, and 13 (seven men and six women) were recommended by the provost and approved by the president.

This year, each will receive a special salary adjustment of $10,000.

2018 Recipients

Mahwish Chishty

School of Art

Mahwish Chishty
Mahwish Chishty, assistant professor in the School of Art, has had more than 50 national and international exhibitions in the past 10 years, including an invited solo exhibition at the Imperial War Museum of London and a group show on the artist’s response to war and conflict since 9/11 that featured work from the top artists in the world today. In 2017, she was awarded the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for exceptional creative ability in the arts. Ms. Chishty is currently working on cross-border projects along the U.S./Mexico and Pakistan/Afghanistan borders.

Yanhai Du

College of Aeronautics and Engineering

Yanhai Du
Yanhai Du, Ph.D., associate professor in the College of Aeronautics and Engineering, is a nationally and internationally recognized fuel cell expert. He has secured more than $800,000 in research funding in the past three years. Dr. Du has more than 120 publications, including 37 since joining Kent State in late 2013. He is the author of one of the top 10 most downloaded articles in the Journal of Fuel Cell Science and Technology.

John Gunstad

Department of Psychological Sciences

John Gunstad
John Gunstad, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences. He has 240 peer-reviewed publications and an h-index of 35. Dr. Gunstad serves as principal investigator on three current research grants, with a total budget of $700,000 in 2017-18 alone. His work demonstrating that obesity is associated with reduced brain function is in the top 1% of the most-cited research according to Web of Science. In 2011, he received the International Neuropsychological Society Early Career Award. Students and trainees under his supervision have authored more than 50 publications.

Kim Hahn

The Fashion School

Kim Hahn
Kim Hahn, Ph.D., interim director of the Fashion School, received the 2017 Award for Innovative Design Scholarship from the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA) and the 2017 Best of Show (with Assistant Professor Ja Young Hwang) for the exhibit on Innovations in Cotton Design at the American Association of Family and Consumers Annual Conference. Dr. Hahn has won five additional ITAA awards. She is the lead author or co-author of 14 refereed journal articles in the past five years. She has had nearly 30 juried exhibitions of her work in the past five years.

Phillip Hamrick

Department of English

Hamrick
Phillip Hamrick, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of English. He studies second language acquisition, psycholinguistics, implicit and explicit learning. Since arriving at Kent State University in 2013, Dr. Hamrick has earned $525,000 in external research awards. Recently, he published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which is one of the highest impact journals in the sciences. He and his colleagues’ research has garnered wide attention in nonscientific outlets such as Newsweek.

Matthew Lehnert

Department of Biological Sciences

Matthew Lehnert
Matthew Lehnert, Ph.D., is an associate professor of biological sciences at Kent State University at Stark. His research on butterflies and moths resulted in the most downloaded article in American Entomologist in 2015 with 5,000 downloads. Dr. Lehnert has appeared in an episode of the PBS series “Nature.” He is principal investigator or co-principal investigator on $800,000 in National Science Foundation (NSF) grants. In recognition of his teaching excellence, he has been invited to participate in an NSF “WIDER” workshop on incorporating research into undergraduate STEM classroom teaching. Dr. Lehnert incorporates undergraduate researchers into his work, having mentored more than 20 undergraduate researchers in the last four years.

Jian Li

School of Foundations, Leadership and Administration

Jian Li
Jian Li, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Foundations, Leadership and Administration, studies how to improve services for disabled combat veterans, particularly the cognitive, psychological and employment challenges faced by veterans with traumatic brain injuries. She is the lead author or co-author of 35 refereed journal articles since joining Kent State in 2012. Dr. Li has secured $500,000 in research funding, with $5 million in proposals currently under review by the U.S. Department of Defense and the Multiple Sclerosis Society. She has earned two best paper awards from the International Organization of Social Science and Behavioral Research, and in 2016, she received the Best Research Article Award from the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association.

Antal Jakli

Chemical Physics Interdisciplinary Program

Antal Jakli
Antal Jakli, Ph.D., is a chemical physics professor in the Liquid Crystal Institute. He is a world leader in the study of ferroelectric liquid crystals and has an h-index of 32. Dr. Jakli holds a wide range of patents, and he is consistently funded by corporate and federal research awards. He serves as editor of Physical Review E, a top journal in soft matter physics. He was awarded the Luckhurst-Samulski Prize for the best paper published in Liquid Crystals.

Françoise Massardier-Kenney

Department of Modern and Classical Language Studies

Françoise Massardier-Kenney
​​​​​​​Françoise Massardier-Kenney, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Language Studies, is a scholar of gender, race and translation studies. Since 1996, she has served as the general editor of the American Translation Association’s Scholarly Monograph Series. In 2015 and 2017, Dr. Massardier-Kenney served as the principal investigator on two, large National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grants, which brought more than 50 U.S. scholars to Kent State to study the science and art of translation. She currently is principal investigator on a $1 million grant awarded by the Gawlicki Family Foundation.

Robert Twieg

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Robert Twieg
Robert Twieg, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has completed his 21st year at Kent State. He is the author or co-author of nearly 400 publications, which have been cited more than 10,000 times. Dr. Twieg has an h-index of 56. He has collaborated with Nobel Laureate Professor W.E. Moerner, Ph.D., of Stanford University. Dr. Twieg synthesized a set of dyes that allowed Dr. Moerner to investigate cellular machineries at the single cell level. While at Kent State, he has always been funded by federal grants, often holding multiple grants simultaneously.

James Tyner

Department of Geography

James Tyner
James Tyner is a professor in the Department of Geography. In December 2017, he was named Fellow of the American Association of Geographers in recognition of his exceptional and sustained scholarship. His 2009 book titled “War, Violence and Population” won the Meridian Award for outstanding work in geography. In 2007, the American Association of Geographers bestowed the Glenda Laws Award for outstanding scholarship on social issues on Dr. Tyner. He has won five additional outstanding research and service awards, and he has authored 16 books on subjects ranging from the killing fields of Cambodia to the geography of Malcom X to the legacies of war.

Robin Vande Zande

School of Art

Robin Vande Zande
Robin Vande Zande, Ph.D., is a professor in the School of Art. In 2017, she received the Kent State Distinguished Teaching Award, the National Art Education Higher Educator of the Year Award, Western Region Art Education Higher Educator of the Year Award and Ohio Art Educator of the Year Award. She also was named Distinguished Fellow of the National Art Education Association. In 2014, Dr. Vande Zande was named Outstanding Design Educator by the Design Issues Group of the National Art Education Association. She published her book “Design Education: Creating Thinkers to Improve the World” in 2016. Dr. Vande Zande also works as a consultant for the South Carolina Department of Education to develop state design education standards.

Yin Zhang

School of Information

Yin Zhang
Yin Zhang, Ph.D., professor in the School of Information, is the 2009 and 2017 winner of the Bohdan S. Wynar Research Paper Competition Award given by the Association of Library and Information Science Education. In 2003, Dr. Zhang was named Member of the Year by the American Society for Information Science and Technology. She is the author or co-author of six books and 34 referred publications. Dr. Zhang has earned nearly $1 million in federal research for her studies of information use and information systems.