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The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and Dominion Energy Announce Recipients of 2022 Outstanding Faculty Awards

Dec 16, 2021, 09:59 AM

Laura Osberger
(804) 387-5191

December 16, 2021


RICHMOND — The State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV) and Dominion Energy are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022 Outstanding Faculty Awards, each of whom will receive a $7,500 gift from Dominion Energy at an in-person ceremony on March 1, 2022.

Since 1987, these awards have recognized faculty at Virginia’s institutions of higher learning who exemplify the highest standards of teaching, scholarship and service.

Institutions select the nominees, then a panel of peers reviews the applications. A committee of leaders from the public and private sectors select the final recipients.  This year, the program received 85 nominations. This group narrowed to a field of 25 finalists and then to the 12 recipients.

The 2022 recipients are listed below in alphabetical order. Asterisks indicate Rising Star (early-career achievement) awards.

2022 Outstanding Faculty Awards Recipients

  1. Liz Ackley (Roanoke College)
    Liz AckleyDr. Liz Ackley is the Brian H. Thornhill associate professor of health and exercise science at Roanoke College. Through her dual research lines, Dr. Ackley seeks to advance equity in broad community contexts - undergraduate research settings and the community-at-large. As the director of the Center for Community Health Innovation and the Roanoke Valley Community Healthy Living Index, she works closely with area residents to leverage health disparities as catalysts for infrastructure and policy change. She encourages student engagement in service-driven research experiences while actively studying mentoring best practices in undergraduate research. Dr. Ackley received the 2015 “Rising Star” Harris Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching by the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges and the 2019 “Professional Life Award” from Roanoke College. She received a B.S. in exercise science from the State University of New York at Cortland College, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in health and human performance from Middle Tennessee State University.

  3. Leah Adams* (George Mason University)
    Leah AdamsDr. Leah Adams is an assistant professor at George Mason University in the department of psychology and in the women and gender studies program. Dr. Adams is a recognized leader in health disparities research, with emphases on HIV, mental health, and adaptation to chronic illness and injury. Dr. Adams is a true product of Virginia, having attended elementary through graduate school in state. She received a B.S. from the University of Richmond, and received an M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from George Mason University. Prior to returning to her alma mater to teach, Dr. Adams completed a pre-doctoral residency in rehabilitation psychology and neuropsychology at the University of Washington Medical Center, where she won the Nancy Robinson, Ph.D. Award for Outstanding Overall Achievement. She also completed a two-year NIH-funded post-doctoral fellowship in women’s health and aging at Group Health Research Institute (now Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute).

  5. Jay Albanese (Virginia Commonwealth University)
    Jay AlbaneseDr. Jay Albanese is a professor of criminal justice in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a globally renowned expert in organized crime, corruption and professional ethics with an extraordinary record of performance in teaching, scholarship and service. For over three decades, he has advanced the field of criminal justice through transformative investigations of human behavior, which include the groundbreaking application of risk assessment methodology to combat criminal activity. Dr. Albanese’s research spans contemporary issues associated with organized crime, including human trafficking, global, environmental and social changes and corruption. His contributions to the profession include elected leadership roles within the discipline’s foremost professional associations, speaking engagements in 25 countries, two international visiting professorships, authorship of national standards and numerous contributions to the United Nations. Dr. Albanese received a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from Rutgers University.

  7. Lauren K. Alleyne (James Madison University)
    Lauren AlleyneLauren K. Alleyne is a professor of English at James Madison University and the assistant director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center. She is the author of two collections of poetry, Difficult Fruit (2014) and Honeyfish (2019), as well as co-editor of Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry (2020). Her work has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Atlantic, Ms. Muse, Tin House and The Caribbean Writer, among others. Her most recent honors include a 2020 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Poetry, the longlist for the 2020 Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, and the shortlist for Library of Virginia Literary Awards. Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, Alleyne received a B.A. in English from St. Francis College, an M.A. in English and creative writing from Iowa State and an M.F.A. and graduate certificate from Cornell.

  9. Michelle Doll* (Virginia Commonwealth University)
    Michelle DollDr. Michelle Doll is assistant professor of internal medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and associate hospital epidemiologist. She is course director for “Contemporary Issues and Controversies in Public Health,” a VCU Master of Public Health program awarded “Best Elective” by graduate students in spring 2020. She chairs the Virginia Healthcare Associated Infection Advisory Group, a collaboration of stakeholders in infection prevention composed of Virginia Department of Health (VDH), Health Quality Innovators, and The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. Dr. Doll received a VDH grant to establish a statewide infection prevention training program to expand this expertise in diverse care settings across the Commonwealth. She completed a research fellowship in hospital epidemiology and her Master of Public Health degree at VCU. She completed her infectious diseases clinician fellowship at the University of Maryland and her internal medicine residency at Temple University Hospital where she served as a chief medical resident.

  11. A. Roger Ekirch (Virginia Tech)
    A. Roger EkirchA. Roger Ekirch is a prize-winning author of six books and a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech. His writing has been published in 10 languages. Trained in early American history at Dartmouth College (A.B.) and Johns Hopkins University (M.A., Ph.D.), he has also written, to international acclaim, on the history of “segmented sleep,” the dominant form of Western sleep before the late 19th century. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Harper’s Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine and The Wall Street Journal, for which he is a regular book reviewer. The inaugural Paul Mellon Fellow at Cambridge University, he is a former Guggenheim Fellow and the recipient of four fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He serves on the board of editors of Sleep Health: The Journal of the National Sleep Foundation and is a fellow of the Society of American Historians at Columbia University.

  13. Thomas M. Geary (Tidewater Community College)
    Thomas GearyDr. Thomas “Tom” Geary is a professor of English at the Virginia Beach campus of Tidewater Community College. He regularly teaches composition, rhetoric, technical writing, developmental writing and humanities courses. Dr. Geary serves as the editor of Inquiry, the peer-reviewed journal for faculty, staff and administrators in Virginia’s community colleges. He is an elected representative on the Modern Language Association Delegate Assembly and an executive committee member of the Two-Year College English Association. In 2016, Tom completed his Ph.D. in English at the University of Maryland. His dissertation addressed a gap of pedagogical applications of Gregory Ulmer's electracy theory for first-year writing courses. Dr. Geary has been published in the TYCA-Southeast Journal, Dangling Modifier and Academia Letters, as well the book PARS in Practice: More Resources and Strategies for Online Writing Instructors. He has several book chapters forthcoming on soundwriting and design thinking.

  15. Kwabena Konadu (Northern Virginia Community College)
    Kwabena KonaduKwabena Konadu is a professor and the discipline chair of cybersecurity at Northern Virginia Community College. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in training the next generation of IT and cybersecurity professionals with more than 20 years of experience working in the information technology and engineering sectors. Konadu spent the first 12 years of his career building and testing space hardware applications for nuclear vulnerability/survivability assessment, and more than eight years working as information systems security officer and systems engineer. He is a board member and former director of engineering for AllCyber, a non-profit cyber security organization at Northern Virginia Community College where he is responsible for providing virtualization platform infrastructure for offensive and defensive cybersecurity competitions training. He received a B.S. in electrical engineering and an M.S. in telecommunication networks both from George Mason University.

  17. Michael C. Leopold (University of Richmond)
    Michael LeopoldMichael C. Leopold is the Floyd and Elisabeth S. Gottwald Endowed Professor of Chemistry at the University of Richmond. He and his undergraduate research students work in the field of materials science, investigating the incorporation of nanomaterials into sensing platforms that have biomedical and environmental applications. Their latest work is a study on harnessing a fundamental intermolecular interaction called halogen bonding in order to interact with and detect explosive molecules and narcotics. He teaches general chemistry, forensics, and analytical chemistry lecture and labs. He interacts with the local community on a regular basis, where he and students perform chemistry “magic shows” at elementary schools and host on-campus field trips for middle and high school classes. Originally from Yorktown, Virginia, Dr. Leopold received a B.S. from James Madison University and a Ph.D. from North Carolina State University.

  19. Erica J. Lewis (James Madison University)
    Erica LewisDr. Erica Lewis is associate professor at James Madison University’s School of Nursing where she instructs students at all levels from undergraduate to doctoral. She also serves as a content designer and instructor in the JMU X-Labs. She has created a robust program of research while maintaining sustained professional community service and excellent teaching outcomes. Her work with numerous interdisciplinary faculty teams often spans traditional boundaries, such as across institutions and with non-adjacent disciplines. Topics about which she consistently publishes include bioethics, quality improvement, and innovation in nursing and higher education. She has been an invited speaker for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Lewis has strategically scaled her work and is part of a team awarded $200,000 to improve substance use disorder training for university health profession students. Dr. Lewis received her Ph.D. in nursing from the University of Virginia.

  21. Linsey C. Marr (Virginia Tech)
    Linsey MarrLinsey C. Marr is the Charles P. Lunsford Professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech. Her research group studies pollutants in indoor and outdoor air. She is especially interested in emerging or non-traditional aerosols such as viral pathogens and engineered nanomaterials and how they can be physically and chemically transformed in the environment. She teaches courses on air quality and environmental engineering, and has received several teaching awards. She is a Fellow of the International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate and is a recipient of an NSF CAREER award and NIH New Innovator award. Marr received a B.S. in engineering science from Harvard College and a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. She completed her post-doctoral training in earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  23. Amarda Shehu (George Mason University)
    Amarda ShehuDr. Amarda Shehu is a professor in the department of computer science at George Mason University. Her research bridges the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning, engineering and the life sciences. As one of the founders and co-directors of the Center for Advancing Human-Machine Partnerships, she advances computer science research to promote scientific discoveries in other fields and address real-world problems. Dr. Shehu has published more than 150 technical papers with her postdoctoral, graduate, undergraduate and high school students. Her honors at George Mason include the 2021 Beck Family Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Research and Scholarship, 2018 University Teaching Excellence Award and the 2013 OSCAR Undergraduate Mentoring Excellence Award. Dr. Shehu is the recipient of an NSF CAREER Award, as well as various research awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF), state and private funding agencies. She received a B.S.c in computer science and mathematics from Clarkson University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science from Rice University.


The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia is the state’s coordinating agency for higher education. With The Virginia Plan for Higher Education, SCHEV is dedicated to making Virginia the best-educated state by 2030. For more on The Virginia Plan:

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