ULM Foundation recognizes outstanding faculty and staff with Awards for Excellence


The 2019 ULM Foundation Awards for Excellence were announced Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, following President Nick J. Bruno’s State of the University address. Bruno, left, and ULM Foundation Board of Trustees President Jerry Allen, right, presented the awards to, beginning second from left, Dr. Jana Giles, Jessica Griggs, Dr. Rhonda Hensley, Sharon Doaty and Dr. Michelle Zagar.
Emerald McIntyre/ULM Photo Services.

MONROE, La. — (8/16/19) Each year the ULM Foundation presents the Awards for Excellence to faculty and staff who have shown outstanding service to the University of Louisiana Monroe and the community.

The five awards were presented following ULM President Nick J. Bruno’s State of the University address on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, in Brown Auditorium. Career biographies of each recipient were read by Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Alberto Ruiz. The awards were presented by Bruno, ULM Foundation Board of Trustees President Jerry Allen and Executive Director of ULM Advancement, Foundation and Alumni Relations Susan Chappell.

Awards were presented to three faculty and two staff members.

The recipients include the following:

Award for Excellence in Teaching – Dr. Michelle Zagar, Clinical Associate Professor of Pharmacy in the School of Clinical Sciences for the College of Pharmacy

Dr. Michelle Zagar joined the College of Pharmacy in 2004 after eight years in kindergarten and elementary education. She earned her B.S. in Elementary Education in 1990 and Master of Elementary Education in 1995 from the University of Southwestern Louisiana. In 2003 she completed her PharmD at ULM.

Zagar has served on 25 committees and subcommittees including nine years on the College of Pharmacy Curriculum Committee. She has received nine teaching awards and honors, coordinates and instructs eight courses, published four peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been cited 39 times and has given over 30 continuing education presentations. She strives to maximize the interactions of her clinical practice students with their learning material, pharmacy practice, as a mentor and motivator, giving them autonomy and promoting confidence.

Award for Excellence in Research – Dr. Jana Giles, Associate Professor and Endowed Professor in English Literature in the School of Humanities for the College of Arts, Education, and Sciences

Dr. Jana Giles joined the university in 2009 and earned tenure in 2015. She has published 231 pages of research, presented 24 conference papers or invited lectures, received many grants of external and internal funding, supervised 64 students in research activity and taught 77 courses. Her current book project is titled, “The Post/Colonial Sublime: Aesthetics, Politics and Ethics in the Twentieth Century.”

Giles was one of only eight people in Louisiana to receive the prestigious Board of Regents Awards to Louisiana Artists and Scholars (ATLAS) grant in 2018. She earned a B.A. of Arts in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in 1988, a Master of Arts in English from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Cambridge.

Award for Excellence in Service – Dr. Rhonda Hensley, Professor of Nursing and Associate Director of Graduate Nursing Programs for the Kitty Degree School of Nursing in the College of Health Sciences

Dr. Rhonda Hensley’s 45-year career began with a B.S. in Nursing from ULM in 1973. She went on to earn an M.S. in Nursing, a Doctor of Education and a Doctor of Nursing Practice. In addition to her professorship at Kitty DeGree School of Nursing, Hensley is editor-in-chief for the Online Journal of Inter-Professional Health Promotion, collaborates with Ochsner-LSUHSC Monroe to present Stanford Youth Diabetes Coach Training to Richwood High School students, coordinates grant activities for the Mobile Bridge to Health and has led five medical mission trips to underserved communities outside and inside the U.S.

Hensley is president of BDR Advanced Education Associates in Continuing Education Services and is a family nurse practitioner part-time at Winnsboro Medical Clinic. In 2018, she received the state award for Nurse Practitioner Advocate of the Year.

Award for Service by Unclassified Staff – Jessica Griggs, Student Advocate and Retention Coordinator for ULM Online

With her professionalism, care and dedication, Jessica Griggs has many responsibilities with ULM Online. As Student Advocate and Retention Coordinator, she assists online students with academic advising and career planning, educates potential students on specifics of ULM Online, promotes student success in online courses by providing necessary tools for at-risk students and managing and maintaining social media for ULM Online.

Griggs was the first person on either side of her family to graduate high school and earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Her college experience had many challenges, but she overcame these with grace and determination. She is an example of perseverance to her students. When she isn’t on campus, Griggs devotes hours to coaching/sponsoring a flag cheerleading squad, judging social studies fairs, organizing events and promotions for her church and organizing multiple charitable events.

Award for Service by Classified Staff – Sharon Doaty, Administrative Coordinator, Marriage and Family Therapy & Counseling Program

Recognized Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019 for 20 years of service to ULM, Sharon Doaty started as an administrative coordinator in the College of Education and Human Development/Curriculum and Instruction before joining the Marriage and Family Therapy and Counseling programs in the School of Allied Health in the College of Health Sciences. Doaty is responsible for communicating effectively with multiple departments to plan meetings and prepare welcome packages, coordinating dozens of recruiting events, managing the office when the supervisor is absent, and much more.

Her dedication resulted in excellent marks on performance reviews and her ability to learn and master new concepts for administrative use. Her colleagues and supervisors have also given her praise for the wonderful work she has done saying that she an asset to the Marriage and Family Therapy and Counseling programs and especially to ULM.

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