Outstanding UNT faculty honored during sixth annual awards ceremony

Four UNT faculty members were among the educators celebrated for their dedication to excellence through research, service and education during UNT's sixth annual Salute to Faculty Excellence Awards Dinner and Ceremony in October.

Thomas R. Cundari

Thomas R. Cundari, professor of chemistry, was awarded the Eminent Faculty Award. He received a $15,000 check, a commemorative engraved gift and the honor of being an Eminent Faculty Awardee. In his 26-year career, Cundari, along with his research group has 340 peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Cundari has given 150 lectures across the U.S. and abroad. His team has managed 69 grants and contracts for federal, private, and industrial donors, totaling more than $10 million. The Cundari Group alumni are now working in research positions in national labs, industry, and academia. Dr. Cundari is a founder and director of UNT’s Center for Advanced Scientific Computing and Modeling, a group that has grown from two faculty members to more than 100 faculty, students, and staff in less than 10 years. The center has earned UNT recognition as an international leader in the field of computational chemistry.

John T. Ishiyama

This year’s Faculty Leadership Award winner is John T. Ishiyama, a Distinguished Research Professor in Political Science and former editor-in-chief of the American Political Science Review. He is currently principal investigator and director of the National Science Foundation-Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) program on Civil Conflict Management and Peace Science. Ishiyama’s research interests include democratization and political parties in post-communist Russian, European, Eurasian, and African politics, ethnic conflict and ethnic politics and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Recently he has also written several research articles on the politics of North Korea, a country which he has followed closely for many years. He has published extensively on these topics, producing eight books and over 130 journal articles. Ishiyama has received numerous awards and has received major grants from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, the Department of State, and the APSA.

Ishiyama has also been awarded this year’s Piper Professorship by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation has recognized outstanding educators at Texas colleges and universities. Professor Ishiyama is only the eighth Piper Professor ever from UNT, and the first since 2002.

Mariela Nuñez-Janes

The Community Engagement Award that Mariela Nuñez-Janes, associate professor of Anthropology, was honored with recognizes her dedication to action-oriented research involving migrant and Latino youth in order to address educational and social injustices. Her area of expertise includes the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — or “Dreamers.” She is the lead editor of the open source book Deep Stories: Practicing, Teaching and Learning Anthropology with Digital Storytelling and a founding member of La Colectiva, a UNT faculty mentoring group for women of color. She has published numerous books, book chapters, journal articles, and other scholarly works.

Rossana Ramírez Boyd

Rossana Ramírez Boyd, a principal lecturer in UNT’s Department of Teacher Education and Administration, is this year’s winner of the Outstanding Lecturer Award, the highest honor awarded to UNT lecturers. Ramírez Boyd is the main advisor for the Bilingual/ESL Student Organization (BESO) and is a strong advocate for English as a second language and bilingual pre-service teachers. As principal investigator over the past 10 years, Boyd has brought more than $4.5 million in internal and external funding to her department to help develop the bilingual/ESL teacher education program and to benefit a large number of pre-service teachers with scholarships and other support.

Ishiyama, Nuñez-Janes, and Ramírez Boyd each received $5,000 and a commemorative gift. In all, more than 30 professors were honored during the evening. Faculty were bestowed with Regent Professor Awards, Research Awards, Teaching Awards and Service Awards. These awards are funded by UNT Foundation and conclude a week-long celebration of UNT's faculty members. Find a complete list of winners here.