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Through their work, the Rowan University employees we honor here contribute magnificently to the lifeblood of our institution. Every day, they generously share their talents—and the best of themselves—with our students staff, faculty and the external community. They are teachers and scholars, leaders and mentors, researchers and innovators, advocates and creators. With distinction, honor and heart, they uphold our institution’s most sacred values. Here, we appreciate their work and celebrate their excellence. We are honored that they are members of the Rowan University family. Congratulations and best wishes to all of the honorees.

Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award

Leslie Spencer

As an institution dedicated to excellence in teaching and learning, Rowan joins with the Office of the Provost and the Lindback Foundation, funded through a gift from the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation, to honor one tenured faculty member with an outstanding record of teaching and a sustained record of commitment to student learning.

Rowan Research Achievement Award

James Heinzen

This Faculty Research Achievement Award honors full-time faculty members for their outstanding achievements in research activity, either for a specific project or for a body of work accumulated over multiple years.

Breakthrough Research Award

Chun Wu's Computer-Aided Drug Design Lab

The Breakthrough Research Award is given to a research team led by a full-time faculty member. It recognizes a recent discovery that represents a significant advance in understanding a particular subject or problem-solving approach. The breakthrough must show evidence of public dissemination and documented impact that the work has led to discovering new information, developed an innovative technology, technique or approach, or has explained a previously unexplained phenomenon.

Gary J. Hunter Excellence in Mentoring Award

Jennifer Courtney

The Gary J. Hunter Excellence in Mentoring Award, sponsored by AFT Local 2373 and Rowan University, acknowledges those faculty, professional staff, coaches, and librarians who go to extraordinary lengths to mentor students in the spirit of Gary Hunter, a professor of history at Rowan for 29 years. Honorees demonstrate exceptional abilities in supporting, encouraging and promoting the development of students’ academic, personal and professional growth.

Frances S. Johnson Faculty Innovative Teaching

Kate Seltzer

The Frances S. Johnson Junior Faculty Innovative Teaching Award honors the memory of the late Frances S. Johnson, a writing arts professor and former director of the Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. The award was established by Writing Arts Professor Sanford Tweedie to recognize junior faculty members who challenge their students in unique, important and interesting ways.

Joseph A. Barnes Award for Outstanding Service

Christine Larsen-Britt

Joseph A. Barnes Award for Outstanding Service Joseph Barnes served the University for 23 years as a professional staff member and a tenured librarian, and he regularly taught courses in the College of Communication. The University Senate, AFT, and Campbell Library established and fund this annual award to recognize the outstanding contributions of a current member of the faculty or professional staff who has provided consistent, extraordinary, and longstanding contributions to Rowan University.




The Rowan Excellence in Diversity Awards acknowledge Rowan's outstanding students, faculty, staff and administrators for their exceptional contributions in the areas of scholarship, multicultural awareness and social justice initiatives that improve Rowan's overall educational experience and campus climate. Awards are presented to faculty, administrators, and staff in the categories of scholarship, group projects, social activism and professional performance, which includes - but not limited to - the fine and performing arts.



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This award recognizes a Rowan faculty or staff member who produces scholarship or creative work that meaningfully engages diversity, equity, and inclusion. Submissions may address a single project or a collection of work over time that work toward DEI, including: academic articles, journalism, creative projects or performances, published case studies, grant-funded research, conference presentations, a book project, scholarly-based social media projects, and more. 




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Honorees of this award are chosen for DEI-based activism that benefits Rowan or a particular community. Submissions may describe efforts such as: leading service learning projects, organizing social justice-based campus or community events, or establishing public partnerships to help advance underrepresented students in a particular field. Social media campaigns or other virtual activism will also be considered.





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This award celebrates a group of two or more faculty or staff members who work together to organize an event, to produce a project, or in an ongoing effort in social justice. Group projects may take the form of a grant to meet DEI outcomes, work with a DEI task force, crafting and delivery of professional development to make curriculum more inclusive, work to make campus more accessible, or other DEI-based projects. 



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Kira Aguilar


The Engagement recipient is committed to the University’s mission and contributes to its success. The recipient’s contributions may include designing a workplace where employees feel inspired by their work, attracting talented employees, fostering collegiality, responsiveness and trust, establishing avenues and dialogue that help employees, students and alumni feel valued and appreciated, and reflecting Rowan’s pillars, vision and values through action.


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Altonia Bryant


The Student-Centeredness honoree is focused on students’ interests, abilities, and learning styles. The recipient promotes a culture that engenders a caring and supportive environment that helps each individual student feel valued, demonstrates commitment to a safe environment where students feel comfortable to learn and grow, and empowers students to take responsibility for their academic work, social life and career development.

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Jessica Vattima


The Entrepreneurship Award honors a recipient who initiates new ideas and practices to benefit the University. The honoree collaborates to solve problems, embraces change as an opportunity for growth and innovation, is proactive in finding sustainable solutions to University challenges, demonstrates a high degree of financial responsibility, and improves work flow.



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Ash Lierman


The Inclusivity Award recognizes an employee who promotes an inclusive workplace by inviting diverse viewpoints, encouraging collaboration, and modeling appreciation and respect toward colleagues. The recipient embraces the importance of cultural sensitivity in the workplace, actively working to resolve conflicts to ensure all individuals and groups are represented and included.



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Pallavi Jalakam


This award recognizes an employee who values and demonstrates the importance of delivering high quality service to both internal and external customers. Such contributions include, but are not limited to, delivering courteous and prompt service, taking personal responsibility for resolving customer concerns, striving to exceed customer expectations, and anticipating the needs of others by offering proactive and flexible solutions.

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Brittine Pratt


The Teamwork recipient recognizes that the accomplishment of the team is more significant than that of the individual. The honoree works with others across the University to assess a situation, plan a solution or resolve a problem. He or she actively recognizes each member’s contribution to the team, works to achieve measurable improvement in interactions with others, and institutes significant positive changes at the University.

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Group Award


Technology Support Center, Information Resources & Technology


This award recognizes a team’s commitment to common goals based on open and honest communication while demonstrating respect, concern and support for one another. The team works as one to seek out varying perspectives, communicate, and achieve measurable improvement in interactions with others. The honored team measurably impacts the University community in a positive manner and collectively values group success over individual success.