Last summer we solicited nominations for a set of faculty awards. I appreciate the many nominations submitted by you and from officials outside the School. After considering the submissions and seeking advice from the full professors, I recommended the following people for term professorships in recognition of the awards. The appointments have been grinding through the campus approval process and I heard last week that they had been approved by the campus Appointment, Promotions, and Tenure Committee and the Board of Trustees. Congratulations to everyone who was nominated, and especially to the following folks who received the term professorships. We are fortunate to have many more qualified faculty members than we have available awards.
Chuck Szypszak—Teaching Award. The Teaching Development Committee (co-chaired by Cheryl Howell and Greg Allison) received many nominations and conducted a thorough review process. They observed the teaching of each person who was nominated. They recommended that the award go to Chuck and I wholeheartedly agreed. His teaching in the MPA Program is consistently ranked at the top even though it is among the most demanding of the students. Chuck’s teaching for registers of deeds also is ranked very high—both for his effectiveness in the classroom and for his redesign of our programs for them and others in their offices. Chuck does it all very quietly, seriously, creatively, and effectively. The recipient of this award should be a model teacher in every way, and Chuck certainly meets that requirement.
Greg Allison—Faculty Excellence. Greg has been honored in the past with the teaching award, but his contributions extend far beyond teaching. He has taken on important leadership roles—directing and reorganizing Municipal and County Administration, and co-chairing (with Cindy Lee) the strategic planning implementation committee on communication and collaboration. His role in helping to plan the July 1 retreat was an important piece of that work. Greg also has been a key contributor to the financial condition analysis project (with Bill Rivenbark and Dale Roenigk) in partnership with the State Treasurer’s Office. He also has been involved in working on the new finance, budget, and tax curriculum, which also grew out of the strategic planning process. Greg is one of our very best people—a hard worker with a great sense of humor—and an excellent partner with faculty and staff.
Kara Millonzi—Faculty Excellence. The nominations for these awards revealed a strong and collective sense of Kara’s value to the School. Not only is she a smart and careful lawyer, but her energy and level of productivity is impressive. Kara also has emerged as a wonderful leader. She has transitioned smoothly into David Lawrence’s local government finance work, and she also has developed broad expertise in general local government law—including serving as our liaison with county attorneys. Kara has spearheaded the Coates Canons blog and our streamlined curriculum on local government budget, finance, and tax. It would not have happened without her leadership. Kara is a great colleague who accomplishes a lot by working effectively across boundaries without taking personal credit. We are so fortunate to have her as a colleague.
Shea Denning—Faculty Excellence. It is incredible how quickly and successfully Shea took over the property tax law area, and then transitioned again just as smoothly into the motor vehicle law field. She is smart, trusted, and highly productive. Shea excels at supporting her colleagues and fostering feelings of accomplishment by everyone. She has routinely accepted invitations to teach tough topics and then mastered the areas in short order. In addition to learning motor vehicle law and practice, Shea has demonstrated the necessary self-confidence to gain the respect and appreciation of district court judges–a tough group. The fact that she was taking over the field from Jim Drennan has made it more challenging in some ways, but she has become an expert in her own right. Shea is a wonderful collaborator and colleague and I am pleased that we can honor her with this award.