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Engineering Professors Among Those Honored for Faculty Excellence
Lindsay Lewis

The University of Houston honors its faculty each year for their teaching, research and service contributions during the annual UH Faculty Excellence Awards ceremony. Held this year on April 20, five Cullen College of Engineering faculty received high honors for excellence in teaching, research and mentoring, while 17 faculty were recognized for years of service.


Teaching Excellence Award

Given to faculty in recognition of outstanding achievement in the classroom, the Teaching Excellence Award is given to only a handful of faculty university-wide. This year, longtime associate professor Betty Barr, with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was honored with this distinguished award.

Barr has received numerous advising and teaching awards throughout her tenure at UH, which spans four decades. She received the George Magner Academic Advising Award in 1993 and was the first recipient of the university's Provost Faculty Advising Award in 2007.

At the Cullen College, she has been honored twice with a Kittinger Teaching Excellence Award, the highest teaching award in the college, and she has been a recipient of the Career Teaching Award. In 2005, she was honored by the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Region IV with an Outstanding Educator Award and by the UH Engineering Alumni Association with the Abraham Dukler Distinguished Engineering Faculty Award. UH engineering student organizations also recognized her with an Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award.

Barr received a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Houston in 1967, 1969 and 1971, respectively. She has been director of undergraduate studies for the department for nearly 30 years.


Faculty Award for Mentoring Undergraduate Research Students

Gangbing Song, associate professor of mechanical engineering, received the 2011 Faculty Award for Mentoring Undergraduate Research Students. The career award is given annually to recognize a faculty member who demonstrates excellence in mentoring undergraduate researchers.

Song has hired 11 undergraduate research assistants in his lab and has served as an advisor on four undergraduate honors theses. In addition, he has worked with 10 students through National Science Foundation-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates programs and 74 students on research-oriented senior design projects.

Song is the director of the college's Smart Materials and Structures Laboratory. His research focus, as it relates to smart materials, involves adaptive and robust control, dynamics, robotics and friction compensation.

He received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Zhejiang University in 1989, an M.S. and Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1991 and 1995, respectively.


Excellence in Research and Scholarship Awards

Two UH Cullen College of Engineering professors received Excellence in Research and Scholarship Awards this year in recognition of their growing record of outstanding research and scholarship.

At the associate professor level, Pradeep Sharma in the Department of Mechanical Engineering was honored. Sharma holds a Bill D. Cook Chair professorship that supports his academic and research endeavors involving multifunctional materials, primarily on the nanoscale. He works to create theoretical and computational methods in multiscale modeling, quantum-mechanical behavior, nanoscale piezoelectricity, size-dependent elasticity and micromechanics of defects and inclusions.Sharma received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India in 1994 and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2000. He has received numerous awards for his research including an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award and a Texas Space Grants Consortium New Investigators Program Award.

Zhu Han in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering received one of the two research awards given at the assistant professor level. Han's research focuses on collaborative transmission networks, spectrum access for cognitive radios, information assurance, ultra wide band networks, distributed wireless networking using the game theory approach, and multimedia transmission over wireless networks. He received a B.S. in electronic engineering from Tsinghua University in 1997 and an M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1999 and 2003, respectively. He received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2010, one of the most prestigious awards given to junior faculty.


John and Rebecca Moores Professor

Dmitri Litvinov, professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been named a John and Rebecca Moores Professor. The professorship awards outstanding faculty a $10,000 annual stipend, renewable every five years.

Litvinov received a B.S. in general and applied physics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in 1992, an M.S. in Physics from the University of Miami in 1994, an M.S.C. in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1997, and a Ph.D. in applied physics from the University of Michigan in 1999.

Since joining the college in 2003, Litvinov has pursued research spanning a range of topics relating to the development and application of novel magnetic materials and nanodevices. He is the founder/director of the Center for Bio and Nano Systemsand the director of the UH Nanofabrication Facility, a state-of-the-art cleanroom research facility equipped with tools for nano/micro device prototyping and characterization.

Litvinov also spearheaded the college's Nano Engineering Minor Option (NEMO), a program funded by a $200,000 Nanotechnology Undergraduate Education grant. The program provides a structured curriculum in addition to research opportunities and support for its students.



Seventeen faculty were recognized for their years of service to the University of Houston:

Charles Dalton (ME) 50 years
Osman Ghazzaly (CEE) 44 years
Dan Luss (ChBE) 43 years
Larry Witte (ME) 43 years
Richard Bannerot (ME) 42 years
Lewis Wheeler (ME) 42 years
Betty Barr (ECE) 40 years
Jerry Rogers (CEE) 40 years
John Glover (ECE) 35 years
Vemuri Balakotaiah (ChBE) 30 years
Thomas Hsu (CEE) 30 years
John Lienhard (ME) 30 years
Pauline Markenscoff (ECE) 30 years
David Jackson (ECE) 30 years
Jagannatha Rao (ME) 20 years
K.H. Wang (CEE) 20 years
Su Su Wang (ME) 20 years


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