Dear College of Mathematics and Science Alumni and Friends,
As I reflect on the college’s progress over the past few months, I am amazed at how many examples I can provide of the energetic contributions and efforts of our faculty and staff. We have remained steadfast in our commitment to our mission to advance knowledge, prepare students for success and leadership roles, and contribute to the intellectual life, health, and economy of the metropolitan area. The awards our outstanding faculty received at the August convocation demonstrate some of the ways we contribute to academic excellence, transformative learning, and student success, and engage with our community:
- Sanjeewa Gamagedara from the Department of Chemistry was a recipient of the Neely Excellence in Teaching Award. This is notable because this is the fourth year in a row that a College of Mathematics & Science faculty member has received this prestigious university-wide award!
- The Vanderford Engagement Award went to Dr. Matthew Parks from the Department of Biology. This award recognized Dr. Parks’ engagement with undergraduate students and colleagues in research.
- Jicheng Fu from the Department of Computer Science and Dr. Morshed Khandaker from the School of Engineering received Merit Credit awards for Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activities.
- Although not from CMS, Jared Scism from the UCO Office of Global Affairs received an Exceptional Performance Award for his work immersing our Iraqi Fulbright Scholars in Oklahoma culture and planning activities to help our UCO community better understand Iraqi history and culture.
- And at our CMS Back-to School Meeting, Dr. Michelle Haynie from the Department of Biology received the CMS Vanderford Teaching Award.
We have continued our efforts to increase our students’ preparation and competitiveness for the workforce, and to help fill critical workforce needs in Oklahoma. We developed another curriculum option for student success, an undergraduate Certificate in Cybersecurity in the Department of Computer Science. Our Department of Engineering and Physics was re-designated as a School of Engineering to recognize its excellence and productivity. We formed a partnership with Tinker Air Force Base that resulted in the donation of a large supercomputer cluster that will enhance our faculty’s and students’ ability to analyze large sets of data. The Engineering Makerspace, made possible by Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education workforce development funds, is under construction and will be completed in the spring. The Department of Nursing responded to workforce needs by adding an evening cohort of students this fall to increase bachelor’s trained nurses. We held a STEM Industry Careers Panel with representatives who shared their experiences and advice with students. The John Barthell Pollinator Garden, composed of Oklahoma native plants, will be established by the STEM Building this fall, providing many opportunities for education, research, and outreach.
Our faculty and students produced many publications, gave many research presentations, and submitted 45 external grant proposals. Among the funded proposals were two National Institutes of Health grants and a National Science Foundation grant. The Fulbright Scholar Pro
gram resumed this summer, bringing four Iraqi Scholars to our college. Several faculty members mentored incoming students in our Summer Bridge program, and the Department of Engineering & Physics held a STEM Summer Academy.
Our Health Professions Mentorship Dinner last spring was a huge success and has led to more alumni being engaged with and supporting our pre-health professions students. The partnerships we are pursuing with engineering and biotechnology companies are leading to collaborations, internships, and a pipeline into jobs for our students. If you wish to help us in our efforts to better prepare our students for the workforce and professional schools, please reach out to me or to one of our department chairs!
On behalf of the faculty, staff, and students, I thank you for your continued confidence in and support of our college.
Gloria Caddell, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Mathematics and Science