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Faculty Awards

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Cy YaVUZTURK, PROFESSOR OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING, COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING, TECHNOLOGY, AND ARCHITECTURE: Roy E. Larsen award for excellence in teaching

Cy YavuzturkMany students have been known to “flock” to mechanical engineering courses taught by Cy Yavuzturk, PhD, but even more seek him out for advice. As chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and one of the University’s most dedicated academic advisors, he seems to have a near-infinite capacity for guiding students and preparing them for the demands of a professional career. The Roy E. Larsen Award recognizes Yavuzturk’s excellence in teaching and contributions to University life.

“I owe the start of my career to Professor Yavuzturk, who helped me find a paid co-op position that landed me my first job before I even graduated,” says Austen Williams ’14, application engineer at Clarcor, which is based in East Hartford, Conn. “My ability to solve problems, teach others, and care about my actions is directly related to the passion he put into his work and into my education. I worked harder than I ever did under his guidance.”

During his nearly 10 years teaching at the University of Hartford, Yavuzturk has earned some of the most consistent and highest student course evaluations within the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture (CETA). “He has a special talent for making his topics come alive for students so they become active learners and participants,” says Louis Manzione, dean of CETA. “His lectures are engaging and full of important insights into the material.”

Yavuzturk’s work with students extends beyond the class-room. He has given many undergraduate and graduate students hands-on learning opportunities by overseeing externally funded research programs for organizations like the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Energy, and Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Yavuzturk is the founder and faculty advisor for the University chapter of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), which consistently attracts dozens of students.

Yavuzturk has also applied his expertise and experience to many scholarly publications focused on topics related to thermo-fluids. As student success remains one of his highest priorities, his research has translated into the development of new mechanical engineering courses and concentrations, opening up career opportunities in areas like sustainable energy and conservation, and solar energy design.

David MacBride '73, professor of composition and music theory, the hartt school: humphrey r. tonkin award for scholarly and/or artistic creativity

David MacbrideComposer and pianist David Macbride ’73, DMA, has written numerous works, ranging from solo, chamber, and orchestral music to music for film, TV, dance, and theatre, with an emphasis on percussion. During his more than 30 years teaching composition and music theory at The Hartt School, he has inspired and mentored hundreds of students, many of whom have gone on to become noted professional musicians.

An alumnus of The Hartt School, Macbride is universally recognized as one of the world’s most important composers of percussion music. The Humphrey R. Tonkin Award for Scholarly and/or Artist Creativity recognizes his works that challenge musicians technically, musically, and emotionally. His ability to embrace life’s issues and struggles is evident in pieces such as “Staying the Course,” a composition known to “shake the listeners to their core,” as it presents one note for every soldier who died in the Iraq war.  

As a pianist, Macbride has toured much of the world performing recitals and is also known for his innovative audience-centered compositions. A recent work, “Percussion Park,” is a musical landscape where the audience is invited to freely roam the performance site in search of the music. The commissioned piece “Silent Hands” features an American Sign Language interpreter as part of the ensemble, and is intended to show connections between the expressiveness of sign language and musical gestures.

Macbride’s artistic endeavors have had a major influence on his teaching. He founded The Hartt School’s “Composers Ensemble,” providing an outlet for student composers to perform their own works, and initiated a course encouraging students to perform locally, having presented countless concerts himself throughout the Greater Hartford area and earning the University of Hartford’s Community Service Award in 2001.

Reflecting on his career at the University, Macbride acknowledges his mentor, Professor Emeritus Edward Diemente: “He provided me with positive experiences that set the stage for my composing to develop into a lifelong habit… I often remind my students that we are blessed to be in this world, the world of music, the world we live in.”          

CATHERINE CERTO, PROFESSOR OF PHYSICAL THERAPY, COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, NURSING AND HEALTH PROFESSIONS: OSCAR AND SHOSHANA TRACHTENBERG AWARD FOR SUSTAINED SERVICE TO THE UNIVERSITY

Catherine CertoDedicated to her work and to the University, effective in what she does, and always willing to go the extra mile, Catherine Certo, PT, ScD, FAPTA, is a deserving winner of the Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Award, which honors full-time faculty members for their sustained service to the University.

Certo, who joined the University in 1997, is chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences in the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions (ENHP) and director of the physical therapy program. Under her leadership, the department grew from one undergraduate program with approximately 50 students to four different degree programs serving about 245 undergraduate and 192 graduate students. Certo added the Master of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics, the Transitional Master of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics, and the Doctor of Physical Therapy programs. This growth has been a tremendous benefit to the University as well as the health care community.

Not only has Certo done a remarkable job in her department, she has also made a huge difference on campus chairing numerous committees including the President’s Commission on Compensation, the University Athletics Council, and the University’s Strategic Planning Initiative. As co-chair of the Strategic Planning Committee’s Solution Team V, Certo developed recommendations on how to create a sustainable economic model for the University. With her leadership and creativity, the team identified several innovative tools, including the Student Success Collaborative, a web-based tool that identifies at-risk students and allows advisors to review data.

In addition to her expansive and ongoing record of service to the University, Certo has also been an active leader in the community. She has held numerous elected positions in the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and the Connecticut Chapter of Physical Therapy Association.  

“She is a joy to work with—energetic, creative, respectful of her colleagues, ready to lead, and above all, she is a superb representative of the University of Hartford to the community around us,” says University of Hartford President Emeritus Humphrey Tonkin.


JANE HORVATH, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES AND HILLYER COLLEGE: OSCAR AND SHOSHANA TRACHTENBERG AWARD FOR SUSTAINED SERVICE TO THE UNIVERSITY

Jane HorvathTo quote from the University Values Statement she helped create, Jane Horvath, PhD, is truly “committed to community.” Known across campus for collaborating and consensus building, Horvath is an ideal recipient of the Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Award for her sustained service to the University.

Horvath joined the University in 1985 and has been teaching economics ever since. While her academic contributions are extensive, her dedication to the University extends far beyond the classroom. She has held many leadership positions, including her current roles as director of the Bachelor of Arts in Economics program in the College of Arts and Sciences, chair of the University Pre-Law Advising program, and senior advisor to University President Walter Harrison.

Horvath is the founding director of the van Rooy Center for Complexity and Conflict Analysis, an interdisciplinary initiative that fosters interdisciplinary collaboration, teaching, inquiry, and research. She is working with faculty across the University’s seven schools and colleges to develop a minor in complexity that will be open to any student, regardless of major.

Horvath chaired the University Values Committee, which was charged with establishing a set of shared values that represents the University community and with recommending ways to use it to strengthen a collective sense of community. Horvath and the Committee synthesized the input from more than 1,200 faculty, staff, and students into the University Values Statement and she coined the often-quoted slogan, “Committed to Community.”  

“Jane helps us live our values daily,” Assistant VP for Student Affairs Suzanne Anderson McNeil wrote in her nomination letter. “She is always looking to give a helping hand, especially when it comes to improving the college experience for our students.”

Horvath has been an integral part of educating the community about bystander intervention and campus safety. As special assistant to the president on LGBT issues, Horvath supports LGBT students and their parents, trains Department of Athletics coaches and staff, informs campus policies, and advocates for the University to be inclusive and diverse.
Horvath earned her bachelor’s degree from Eastern Connecticut State College (currently Eastern Connecticut State University), and her master’s and PhD from the University of Connecticut.

michael horwitz, assistant professor of academic strategies, hillyer college: donald w. davis all-university curriculum award

Michael HorwitzWith great energy and passion, Michael Horwitz, PhD, uses an interdisciplinary teaching approach that inspires students to think critically and see the connections between various subjects.

As Stephan Bullard, associate professor of biology and assistant dean of research in the University’s Hillyer College, explains, Horwitz “broadens our students’ understanding of how different disciplines relate to one another, increases student grades, and increases Hillyer College’s retention.”

An example of this approach is his popular All-University Curriculum (AUC) class “Why We Talk,” which takes up the study of the origins and evolution of language from the perspectives of fields such as anthropology, biology, linguistics, psychology, and culture. Student evaluations attest to the popularity of the class and his teaching style. “I feel that the whole class would strongly agree that he is one of our favorite professors and that we will all miss that class,” one student wrote.

These qualities have earned Horwitz the Donald W. Davis All-University Curriculum Award, which honors faculty members who are effective interdisciplinary teachers and scholars; have contributed to the All-University Curriculum (AUC) program as a whole; and are advocates for interdisciplinary education.

In addition to developing and teaching new courses, Horwitz helps other professors start their own interdisciplinary courses. Since 2009, he has coordinated Hillyer College’s learning community initiative, a project linking courses from different disciplines and fostering collaborative work among professors. This past year, 50 percent of Hillyer students experienced a learning community in their first semester.

Horwitz’s creativity is evident in his passion for refining his teaching style to engage his students by constantly infusing new technologies, ideas, and pedagogies into his course. His creativity extends to the performing arts as he is a published composer and songwriter.

Horwitz, who joined the University in 2008, earned his bachelor’s in psychology with a minor in philosophy from the University of Richmond, a master’s in counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University, as well as a master’s in literacy and a PhD in theoretical linguistics from the City University of New York.

DAPHNE BERRY, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF MANAGEMENT, BARNEY SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: belle k. ribicoff junior faculTy prize

Daphne BerryDaphne Berry, PhD, is an outstanding teacher and prolific published researcher in the fields of management and organizational behavior. She is passionate about sharing her expertise in employee ownership, worker cooperatives, and social enterprises with her students. Berry’s extensive accomplishments earned her the Belle K. Ribicoff Junior Faculty Prize, which recognizes an outstanding professor who is in a tenure-track position but is not yet tenured.

A dedicated mentor, Berry has been advising students since joining the University in 2012 and helps coach new faculty on advising. She is actively engaging an undergraduate student in a major research project on employee ownership and modest income workers. She also supervises honors theses for the Department of Management, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship.

In addition to teaching existing courses in the Barney School of Business, Berry has created two new popular classes. Socially Responsible Enterprises explores the way business organizations address the need for continuity between the social, environmental, and economic outcomes of business activity. Sustainable Work-places in Northern Spain, which Berry developed with Professor of Management John Ogilvie, is a short-term study abroad class that focuses on sustainable business practices and social enterprises such as worker cooperatives. Each of these classes fulfills the Barney School’s mission of preparing leaders who are globally aware and socially responsible.

Berry already has eight blind peer-reviewed journal publications and five peer-reviewed book chapters, well above what is typical of other junior faculty approaching the tenure decision. She is an editorial board member of the Journal of Co-operative Organization and Management and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, another unusual accomplishment for someone at her career level. Deborah Kidder, Berry’s department chair, calls her a role model for other junior faculty.

“She is an inspired teacher, an accomplished scholar, a strong contributor to the life of this institution,” Kidder says. “She meets or exceeds every criteria for this prestigious award.”

Berry worked as an engineer early in her career after earning her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame and her master’s in electrical engineering from Rice University. She returned to academia to earn her PhD in management from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.