CETL University Teaching Award Winners

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning University Teaching Awards are held annually to honor faculty and graduate students who show exemplary commitment to their teaching craft. The winners of these awards are leaders in their disciplinary pedagogy, innovation, and have an unequaled focus on student success.

Announcing 2024 Teaching Award Winners

University Teaching Fellow

The recipients who win this award are representative of exemplary practice and service to the university. Their commitment to teaching, demonstrated knowledge of pedagogy, and an interest in fostering innovative teaching practices is unparalleled. This award identifies recognition of excellence in and out of the classroom by students, peers, and administrators. The 2024 Winners of the University Teaching Fellow Award are:

sarah_reed_headshotSarah Reed

Sarah Reed is an Associate Professor in the Department of Animal Science, where she teaches courses in horse breeding farm management, equine sports rehabilitation, comparative exercise physiology, and scientific writing. Dr. Reed is an active academic and research advisor for undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. Reed is passionate about student learning and helping students develop into scientifically literate members of our community that can share science widely with others.

qian_yang headshotQian Yang

Qian Yang is an Assistant Professor in the School of Computing. Her research interests center on computational science and machine learning for materials, chemistry and other physical science applications, and she teaches both undergraduate and graduate-level courses on machine learning. She is chair of the School of Computing's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee, and the faculty advisor of the School of Computing’s BEACH program focusing on collaboration and community building among undergraduates. She also co-chairs the annual Women in STEM Frontiers in Research Expo, a one-day UConn-wide conference for undergraduate and graduate students highlighting both research and career trajectories by female faculty and alumni in STEM.

Teaching Fellow Previous Award Winners


Sarah Reed, Animal Science
Qian Yang, School of Computing


Lindsay Cummings, Dramatic Arts
David McArdle, Mathematics
Suzanne Wilson, Curriculum & Instruction


Stephen Stifano, Communications
Xinnian Chen, Physiology and Neurobiology
Cara Bernard, Curriculum & Instruction


Oskar Harmon, Economics
Sarira Motaref, Civil and Environmental Engineering


Devra K. Dang, Pharmacy Practice
Jason Hancock, Physics


Thomas Van Hoof, School of Nursing
Annamaria Csizmadia, Human Development & Family Studies


Laura Donorfio, Human Development and Family Studies, Waterbury
Daniel Burkey, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering


John Clausen, Natural Resources and the Environment
Nicholas Leadbeater, Chemistry


Amit Savkar, Mathematics
Steven Zinn, Animal Science


Lisa Sanetti, Educational Psychology


Mary Truxaw, Curriculum and Instruction
Ray DiCapua, Art & Art History
Thomas Meyer,Natural Resource and the Environment


Craig Coleman, Pharmacy Practice
Alans S. Marcus, Curriculum and Instruction


Douglas Kaufman, Curriculum and Instruction
Catherine Little, Educational Psychology


Robert Milvae, Animal Science


No awardee this year


Wendy Glenn, Curriculum & Instr. Dept.
Jane Kerstetter, Allied Health Services


Joseph Madaus, Educational Psychology
Robin Bogner, Pharmaceutical Sciences


Ralph B. McNeal Jr., Sociology
Sarah Glaz, Mathematics


Jaci Van Heest, Kinesiology
C. Michael White, Pharmacy


Ernie Zirakzadeh, Political Science
Greg Semenza, English
David Moss, Education
Nancy Rodriguez, Nutritional Sciences


Daniel Civco, Natural Resources Management
Del Siegle, Education


Preston Britner, Family Studies
Doug Cooper, Engineering


No awardees this year


Thomas DeFranco, Curriculum and Instruction
Karl Guillard, Plant Science


Nina Rovinelli Heller, Social Work


John Ayers, Electrical & Systems Engineering
Stephen Jones, English (Avery Point)


Regina Barreca, English
John Enderle, Electrical & Systems Engineering
Robert Gallo, Physiology & Neurobiology
Sally Reis, Educational Psychology


David B. Miller, Psychology
Katharina von Hammerstein, Modern & Classical Languages


Jean Givens, Art & Art History
Sandra Rigazio-DiGilio, Family Studies
Linda D. Strausbaugh, Molecular & Cell Biology


Janine Caira, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Cameron Faustman, Animal Science
James M. O'Neil, Family Studies & Educational Psychology


Keith Barker, Computer Science & Engineering


Douglas S. Hamilton, Physics

University Teaching Innovation

University Teaching Innovation: The individuals considered for this recognition show a demonstrated commitment to continuously improving teaching through innovation and reflective practice. They are dedicated to teaching effectiveness and support enhanced levels of student engagement and learning. The 2024 winners of the University Teaching Innovation Award are:

Fayekah_headshotFayekah Assanah

Fayekah (Faye) Assanah is an Assistant Professor-in-Residence in the Biomedical Engineering Department and the Director of Engineering Education Initiatives at the College of Engineering. Being an artist at heart, an engineer by training, and a teacher by passion, Dr. Assanah’s teaching approach is based on cultivating the creative minds of the students. She teaches a wide range of students - from first-year undergraduate to advanced-level graduate students across the College of Engineering. She is the lead instructor for ENGR 1166, Foundations of Engineering (an introductory core course for all first-year engineering students), where she strives to incorporate project-based, active-learning experiences through designing innovative design projects. She incorporated the “Ungrading” approach to enhance experiential learning in ENGR 1166. She has also conducted a (short-term) Service-Learning Project for first-year engineering students to design, build, and test DIY low-cost, portable air filtration units – the Corsi-Rosenthal (C-R) Box (99% effective in removing airborne viruses and improving indoor quality during wildfire smoke). Over 1200 first-year students have participated in this project from 2022-2024, and at the end of the project, a total of 300 C-R Boxes were donated to school districts, patients in need, and Veterans across Connecticut, gaining national recognition. Dr. Assanah, who leads the Professional Development Course Series for Graduate Engineering, has also created several new courses to expand the engineering curriculum to teach graduate students how to use “Storytelling” in both speaking and writing to make their scientific research clear and engaging to all audiences and achieve the NACE Career Competencies. Learn more about Dr. Assanah here.

katherine Hall HeadshotKatherine Hall

Katie Hall is an Associate Professor in Residence in the Department of Mathematics. She teaches courses across the undergraduate curriculum including business calculus, multivariable calculus, linear algebra and analysis. She also teaches the graduate math pedagogy course. She has taken on many roles in the department including serving as an advisor to math majors, on the Undergraduate Program Committee and as faculty co-advisor for the department’s AWM (Association for Women in Mathematics) student chapter and provides members of ScHOLA2Rs House math help weekly during their study hall hours. As an instructor, she likes to explore different ways to let students exercise choice in what assessments they complete and how certain assessments will be weighted toward their final grade. In and out of the classroom, Dr. Hall works to help students have a positive experience while forming a deep understanding of what they are learning by using active learning techniques and hands-on and technology-based demos.

Teaching Innovation Previous Award Winners

  • Fayekah Assanah, Biomedical Engineering
  • Katherine Hall, Mathematics
  • Eleanor Ouimet, Anthropology
  • Linda Pescatello, Kinesiology
  • Jonathan Moore, Operations and Information Management
  • Howard Winston, Physics
  • Rahul Kanadia, Physiology & Neurobiology
  • Georgios Matheou, Mechanical Engineering
  • Leanne Adams, Accounting
  • Anthony Rizzie, Mathematics
  • Sarah Reed, Animal Science
  • Cynthia Jones, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • Stephen Stifano, Communications
  • Jamie Kleinman, Psychological Sciences, Avery Point
  • Jeffrey Ladewig, Political Science


  • Gary Robbins, Natural Resources and the Environment
  • Roger Travis, Literature, Culture & Languages

Teaching Scholar Award Winner Archives

  • John Andrew Jolly-Ballantine, Geography
  • Lauren Schlesselman, Pharmacy Practice
  • Jennifer Brown Mailly, Law School
  • Jason Courtmanche, English
  • René Roselle, Curriculum and Instruction
  • Thomas Barber, Mechanical Engineering
  • Thomas Abbott, Molecular & Cell Biology
  • Kristen H. Kimball, Physiology & Neurobiology
  • Kevin McEvoy, Marketing

University Outstanding Adjunct

This award identifies exemplary adjunct faculty with teaching service to the University. The individuals considered for this recognition show a commitment to teaching, demonstrated knowledge of educational pedagogy, and an interest in fostering innovative teaching practices at the University. Congratulations to the winners of the Outstanding Adjunct Award.

Colleen_Bonadies_headshotColleen Bonadies

Colleen Bonadies has been teaching in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at UCONN for the last 10 years.  She also actively treats patients 2 days a week at the Nayden Rehabilitation Clinic on the UCONN Storrs campus. Her interests include treating orthopedic conditions as well as neurologic movement disorders.  She has been a physical therapist for over 30 years having graduated from UCONN’s PT program in 1993.  Colleen serves as a clinical instructor to students within the program and teaches courses involving the spine, extremities, manual therapy and therapeutic interventions. She lives in Columbia with her husband and enjoys spending time with her 4 adult children.

Marie_Luby headshotMarie Luby

Marie Luby, PhD, received her doctorate in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Connecticut where she is currently an adjunct professor in the BME department.  Dr. Luby has been working with the Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at the National Institute of Health (NIH) for over twenty years. Her primary research involves the design and development of data and image applications focused on stroke research, predictive multi-parametric models and the usage of qualitative and quantitative MR imaging in stroke.

Outstanding Adjunct Previous Award Winners

  • Colleen Bonadies, Kinesiology
  • Marie Luby, Biomedical Engineering
  • Sarah Casper, Human Development & Family Sciences, Hartford
  • Paulo Contreras, History, Hartford
  • William Schwendner, Mathematics, Stamford
  • Julie Choffel, English
  • Cynthia Van Fleet, Human Development & Family Sciences
  • Louisa Baker, Human Development and Family Sciences
  • Mark Tschiegg, Management
  • David Tonn, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Cynthia Frank, Anthropology
  • Edward Orszulak, Educational Psychology
  • Ron Glaz, English, Hartford
  • Stuart Duncan, Music
  • Jeannette Wick, Pharmacy Practice
  • Marianne Cavanaugh, Mathematics
  • No awardee this year
  • Jann Leppien, Educational Psychology
  • Cara Vickers, Art & Art History
  • No awardee this year
  • Steven Kalb, Journalism
  • Lynne Rogers, English (Avery Point)
  • Laurie Wolfley, English (Avery Point)
  • Mark Naigles, Mathematics
  • Lori A. Smolin, Nutritional Sciences
  • Tamarah Kohanski, English
  • Sydney Plum, English

University Outstanding Graduate Student

The Outstanding Graduate Teaching Awards were established in 1999 to recognize teaching assistants who demonstrate excellence in the classroom or laboratory. The nominee for this award demonstrates effective instructional skills, possesses excellent interpersonal skills, and contributes to the development of the instructional program.

Kim Savinon headshotKim Savinon

Kim Savinon is a dedicated mathematician and educator who values diversity and inclusion in all of her work. As a first-generation college student and the first in her family to pursue a Ph.D., she is passionate about promoting the advancement of women and Latinx students in the field of mathematics. At UConn, she has mentored new first-year math graduate students and organized workshops, conferences, and social events to establish a strong mathematical community. Kimberly has also worked as a mathematics instructor and coordinator for the Student Support Services summer program and volunteered at the MATHCOUNTS math competition for middle school students. She recently helped edit an open resource textbook as part of a Connecticut grant project for Business Calculus, which was successfully adopted in Fall 2022.

Aynal HeadshotM. Aynal Haque

Aynal Haque is a Ph. D. candidate at Political Science Dept. at the University of Connecticut. Aynal is fortunate enough to attend five cross-country universities including the UConn, and has earned degrees in Anthropology, Public Health, Global Development and Peace, Human Rights, and in Political Science. Learn more about Aynal here.


Outstanding Graduate Teaching Previous Award Winners

  • Mohammad Haque, Political Science
  • Kimberly Savinon, Mathematics
  • Ningwei Jiang, Mathematics
  • Quinn Molloy, Geography
  • Rebecca Oramas, Physiology and Neurobiology
  • Kiedra Taylor, English
  • Amani Jayakody, Physics
  • Mandy Long, Philosophy
  • Tracy Walters, Human Development & Family Sciences
  • Megan Lyons, Music
  • Pauline Levy Valensi, Literatures, Cultures, and Languages
  • Sercan Canbolat, Political Science
  • Jaime Blackmon, Psychological Sciences
  • Samantha Lawrence, Human Development and Family Studies
  • Matthew Phelps, Physics
  • Mary Bugbee, Anthropology
  • Sally Chamberland, Molecular & Cell Biology
  • Alycia LaGuardia-LoBianco, Philosophy
  • Phanuel Mariano, Mathematics
  • Holly K. Brown, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • Niko Tracksdorf, Literature, Cultures & Languages
  • Aida Talic, Linguistics
  • Amanda Bulger, Art & Art History
  • Nataliya Plesha, Agricultural & Resource Economics
  • Jennifer Corriveau, Psychology
  • Klye Hull, Communications
  • Rebecca Ranucci, Management
  • Manette Sandor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • Alexandra Merceron, Communications
  • Matthew Lamoureux, Mathematics
  • Jorge Castillo
    El Institute: Institute of Latina/o Cribean and Latin American Studies
  • Nicholas Koberstein, Human Development & Family Studies
  • Valerie Pare, Statistics
  • Jennifer Bisson, Psychology
  • Kirstin Lawrence-Apfel, Natural Resources and the Environment
  • Mamta Kapoor, Pharmacy
  • Anurag Rimzhim, Psychology
  • Barbara Gurr, Woman's Studies
  • Sara K. Johnson, Human Development & Family Studies
  • Brett Shook, Physiology & Neurobiology
  • Martina Lüke, Modern & Classical Languages
  • Oscar Levin, Mathematics
  • Jason Schmink, Chemistry
  • Steven Todd, Philosophy
  • Renée Gilberti, Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Sumie Shima, Chemistry
  • Nicholas Shuda, Economics
  • Diana Milillo, Psychology
  • Linda Patrylak, Communication Sciences
  • Donald Levy, Sociology
  • Fulvio Orsitto, Modern & Classical Languages
  • Gabi Kathofer, Modern & Classical Languages
  • Regina Speicher, Mathematics
  • Rowena Ortiz-Walters, Business
  • Adam Potthast, Philosophy
  • Deborah Bubela, Physical Therapy
  • Douglas Hume, Anthropology
  • Christie Cathey, Psychology
  • Leslie Withers, Communication Sciences
  • Michelle Pulaski, Communication Sciences
  • Jason Molitierno, Mathematics
  • Carol S. Sotiropoulos, Modern & Classical Languages
  • Erika Anderson, Communication Sciences

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