Arkansas Alumni Association Announces Faculty Achievement Awards


toller_celebration_bellThe Arkansas Alumni Association and the University of Arkansas are proud to recognize faculty who display achievements in teaching, research and service through four annual awards: the Charles and Nadine Baum Faculty Teaching Award, the Rising Teacher Award and the Faculty Distinguished Achievement Awards. This year’s recipients, Manuel D. Rossetti, Benjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon, Cheryl Ann Murphy and Russell D. Meller will be honored during the 69th annual Alumni Awards Celebration during homecoming weekend.

Rossetti, a professor of industrial engineering and associate department head, is receiving the Charles and Nadine Baum Faculty Teaching Award. Rossetti joined the University of Arkansas faculty in August 1999, after completing his doctorate in industrial and systems engineering at the Ohio State University. He teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses, and is an internationally known researcher in the field of industrial engineering.

Rossetti’s peers and colleagues recognize him for his achievements in teaching courses in computer simulation, inventory control, probability and statistics, database design, and transportation and logistics. He has been named outstanding teacher by the industrial engineering department three times, was voted best teacher by undergraduate students twice, received the John L. Imhoff College of Engineering Outstanding Teacher Award in 2011 and was elected a fellow for the Institute of Industrial Engineering in 2012.

His primary research and teaching interests include the design, analysis and optimization of logistics, manufacturing, health care and transportation systems using computer simulation and operations research techniques. Rossetti said his mission is to be “a world-class scholar who promotes innovative teaching and research within an environment that values learning, hard work, intellectual curiosity and collaborative research.” Rossetti works to develop new methods and techniques in the field of industrial engineering and identifies and solves problems within the fields of logistics, manufacturing and health care. He has served as an investigator on 47 projects totaling $4,536,444 in grant funding, sole investigator for 19 projects totaling $984,709, and the primary investigator for 40 projects totaling $3,160,223. He has also authored and co-authored 37 research reports.

Grob-Fitzgibbon, recipient of the Rising Teacher Award, is a history professor and the director of programs in international relations at the University of Arkansas. He joined the faculty in 2007 and has since accepted the position of the Cleveland C. Burton Professor of International Programs. Grob-Fitzgibbon teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses and believes in exposing students to the profession and not just historical “facts.” He encourages students to think and read critically by training them in the ways of a historian’s thought process. By requiring students to submit book reviews, he engages them in insightful discussion and provides students a chance to learn the skills that are necessary for a historian to succeed in the field.

Grob-Fitzgibbon has helped rework the graduate advising system within the department and obtained a superior reputation among his students. One student in particular said, “Dr. Grob-Fitzgibbon is an excellent source of knowledge both as a history instructor and as someone to seek out for teaching advice. In addition, he brings to the university a passion for writing and research that, in combination with his teaching abilities, is rarely found.”

He is respected among his peers, who view him as an innovative and rigorous teacher in history and international relations. He has written three books, numerous articles and book chapters, and is referred to as a “highly productive research faculty member.” In 2012, he received multiple awards including the Mentor Award from the University of Arkansas Honors College, the Master Teacher Award from the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, a certificate of appreciation for outstanding teaching by the Wally Cordes Teaching and Faculty Support Center, and was elected a fellow by the University of Arkansas Teaching Academy.

Murphy, who’s receiving a Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award for service, is a professor of educational technology and the program coordinator for the department of curriculum and instruction. She also serves as the director of distance education for the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas. As the director, she oversees policy development, data gathering, compliance, strategic planning, quality assurance and faculty and student support. Murphy joined the University of Arkansas faculty in August 1996.

Murphy is also a distance learning consultant and a consultant peer reviewer with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. She is active in eight national and international profession organizations, and locally, she serves on the athletics and course evaluation committees, teaching council and distance education task force just to name a few.

Since joining the faculty, Murphy has been awarded the Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations Department Outstanding Teacher Award three times, as well as the Outstanding Service Award once by the department and once by the College of Education and Health Professions.

Meller, who’s receiving a Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award for service, holds the James M. Hefley and Marie G. Hefley Professor of Logistics and Entrepreneurship and has been a professor in the department of industrial engineering since 2005. Meller focuses his research interests in facility logistics, logistics system design, operations research applications in production and health care and forest systems. He serves as the director of the Center for Excellence in Logistics and Distribution at the University of Arkansas.

Meller completed his doctorate at the University of Michigan in 1992. In 1995, with the support of a National Science Foundation Career Award, he developed optimal solutions to problems involving 15 departments within a facility. His leadership with the Center for Excellence in Logistics and Distribution has been recognized nationally and internationally. Meller has led this multi-university industry/university cooperative research center to receive a third, five-year term of support, ensuring that the center will operate through 2017.

Meller has proven he is dedicated to seeing his students excel in the field. His students value his high standards and hard work ethic. He is the recipient of the “Backbreaker” Award, a student-elected award given to a faculty member who is both demanding and highly respected. He has received many research awards, as well as awards for his teaching.

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