Texas Tech University

Chancellor's Council Honors Faculty, Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Scott Lacefield

February 14, 2017


Chancellor Robert L. Duncan presented teaching and research awards to esteemed faculty throughout the Texas Tech University System.

Faculty Awards

Texas Tech University System Chancellor Robert L. Duncan recently recognized 15 faculty members from the system's four component institutions as recipients of the 2017 Chancellor's Council Distinguished Teaching and Research Awards. These awards recognize excellence in academics and research and are the most prestigious honors granted to faculty members throughout the TTU System.

"It is an honor to present these talented and dedicated faculty members with these awards," Duncan said. "I am grateful for the commitment to excellence all of these individuals have made to not only our institutions, but to the lives of the students they impact on a daily basis."

The awards are made possible through philanthropic gifts to the Chancellor's Council, which has recognized top teaching and research faculty across the Texas Tech University System. To date, 151 faculty have received awards totaling $965,000.

The Chancellor's Council, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, was originally created in 1967 as the President's Council to recognize donors who helped Texas Tech University accomplish its highest goals. The program was renamed and expanded in 1996 with the establishment of the Texas Tech University System. Today, the Chancellor's Council plays a vital role in creating opportunities for all four universities. Among the many areas, the council funds student scholarships, faculty awards and top scholar recruitment.

The award recipients receive a $5,000 stipend and an engraved medallion.

Photo Gallery

Those recognized at Texas Tech University for teaching excellence were:

Karen L. Alexander, Ph.D.

Karen Alexander
Karen Alexander

Alexander is an associate professor in the Family and Consumer Sciences Education program in the College of Human Sciences.

She has been an educator for 25 years. During her tenure at Texas Tech, she has managed more than $4 million in external funding to oversee the development and implementation of the AchieveTexas College and Career Initiative, a statewide initiative providing resources to prepare students to be college and career ready.

Alexander earned both a bachelor's degree and master's degree in Family and Consumer Sciences Education as well as a doctorate in Human Development and Family Sciences at The Ohio State University.

Lora Deahl, D.M.A.

Lora Deahl
Lora Deahl

Deahl is a professor of piano and keyboard literature in the School of Music in the J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts.

Deahl has spent her entire four-decade career at Texas Tech. She is known for her research concerning the biomechanics of piano technique, the performance practice and literature of the piano, and women's roles in music. Her most recent project, a groundbreaking study of adaptive strategies for small-handed pianists, will be published by Oxford University Press in fall 2017. She has presented recitals, lectures and masterclasses throughout the U.S., Asia and Latin America.

A recipient of the Collegiate Teacher of the Year Award from the Texas Music Teachers Association and the Phi Kappa Phi Contributions to Excellence in Higher Education Award, Deahl has been described as a teacher of exceptional devotion with an uncanny ability to bring about change in students at all ability levels, merging intellectual rigor with musical passion.

Deahl earned her degrees at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, Indiana University and the University of Texas at Austin.

Cynthia B. McKenney, Ed.D.

Cynthia McKenney
Cynthia McKenney

McKenney is a professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources. She is also an integrated scholar.

As a pioneer in distance education, McKenney was instrumental in developing the online Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree programs in horticulture, distinguishing Texas Tech as one of the first universities in the country to offer these online degree programs.

McKenney also has been active in advancing teaching at many levels. Nationally, she has been recognized as a fellow in the American Society for Horticultural Sciences and is the vice president for the Education Division of the Society. Regionally, McKenney has provided educational service to other institutions including being a program reviewer for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Department of Renewable Resources and serving on the Dean's Advisory Committees for both Collin College and Richland College, both located in the Dallas area. She has been awarded the Texas Tech University President's Excellence in Teaching Award twice (1994 and 2016).

McKenney received her bachelor's in ornamental horticulture, Texas Provisional Secondary Teaching Certificate in broad field science, master's degree in horticulture and doctorate in higher education administration all from Texas Tech.

Those recognized at Texas Tech University for research excellence were:

Michael A. Ballou, Ph.D.

Michael Ballou
Michael Ballou

Ballou serves as an associate dean for research in the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources and is an associate professor in the Department of Animal & Food Sciences.

His research specialization is in the field of nutritional immunology, assessing how nutrition can have both immediate and long-term impacts on an animal's ability to respond to, as well as recover from, infectious diseases.

In addition to his work with livestock, Ballou was one of the first to determine that a lesser known omega-3 fatty acid preferentially incorporates into mammalian immune cells and is important in the regulation of inflammation. He is also active in professional service, serving as the chair of the American Dairy Science Association's animal health committee, on a board of directors for Breedlove Foods, and as a scientific peer reviewer for both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the American Heart Association. He also has secured more than $1 million in extramural funding.

Ballou received both his bachelor's degree in animal science and his doctorate in nutritional biology with a focus in immunology from the University of California, Davis.

Yoojin Chae, Ph.D.

Yoojin Chae
Yoojin Chae

Chae is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Human Sciences.

Chae's research emphasis primarily concerns children's memory, particularly focused on several controversial issues concerning children's eyewitness capabilities. Her research also focuses on memory for stressful experiences, memory development in the context of psychopathology and child maltreatment and attachment security and memory. She has received grants from external funding agencies including the National Science Foundation. Chae's papers have been published extensively in major psychology journals.

She earned her doctorate in the developmental psychology program at Cornell University.

Harvinder Singh Gill, Ph.D.

Harvinder Singh Gill
Harvinder Gill

Gill is an associate professor of chemical engineering in the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering and is the Whitacre Endowed Chair in Science and Engineering.

Gill's research focuses on micro- and nanosystems for use in drug and vaccine delivery, bio-nanomaterials, mucosal vaccination and immunomodulation. He is pioneering the use of pollens as a novel microcapsule to develop edible vaccines and microneedles for allergy immunotherapy to replace painful allergy shots. Another of Gill's research projects involves development of a "universal" influenza vaccine that can offer protection against a broad spectrum of influenza strains.

He has received the prestigious National Institutes of Health Director's New Innovator Award, the Young Faculty Award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and to date has secured approximately $8 million in competitive federal research funding. Gill has received numerous honors and awards including the Dr. Charles Burford Faculty Teaching Award (2011), the Whitacre Engineering Research Award (2013), and the Ed and Linda Whitacre Faculty Fellow Award (2014), all while at Texas Tech.

Gill completed his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering with honors from Panjab University, India. He obtained his doctorate in bioengineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Michael P. Jordan, Ph.D.

Michael P. Jordan
Michael P. Jordan

Jordan is an assistant professor of ethnology in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Jordan's research focuses on the construction and maintenance of indigenous forms of identity, tangible and intangible cultural heritage, and the politics of representation. He explores these topics within the context of Native North America, working closely with federally recognized tribes, including the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma and the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, Oklahoma.

As a noted scholar of Plains Indian material culture, a number of museums have invited Jordan to consult on their collections, including the Brooklyn Art Museum, the St. Louis Art Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, where he was appointed as a research associate in 2014. Since 2011, he has secured more than $300,000 in external funding from different sources. Outreach and engagement form critical components of his research, and Jordan is committed to developing meaningful collaborations between museums and native communities.

Jordan received his doctorate in sociocultural anthropology from The University of Oklahoma.

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