Gibbs College Announces 2021 Faculty, Staff Award Recipients

Nine Gibbs College faculty and staff were recently recognized during the awards segment of the Fall 2021 Back-to-School Meeting. Honorees were nominated by their colleagues in Gibbs College through an open nomination process. Among those recognized were:

  • Teaching Award | OU Institute for Quality Communities and Urban Design Studio Faculty, including Shane Hampton, Ron Frantz, Vanessa Morrison and Shawn Schaefer
  • Research & Creative Activity Award | Angela Person
  • Service Award | Suchi Bhattacharjee
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Faculty Award | C. Aujean Lee
  • James L. Kudrna Professionalism Award | Francesco Cianfarani
  • Jerri Hodges Bonebrake All-Around Staff Award | Camille Germany

Read on to learn more about the recipients.

TEACHING AWARD 

The Institute for Quality Communities and Tulsa Urban Design Studio faculty are the recipients of the GCA Teaching Award. This team includes Shane Hampton, Ron Frantz, Vanessa Morrison and Shawn Schaefer.

Together they consistently lead the way in community-engaged coursework, providing among the most meaningful service-learning opportunities on the entire OU-Norman campus, and supporting Gibbs College faculty in developing opportunities. The OU Community Engagement office has looked to their model when establishing processes and procedures for ensuring reciprocity.

Recently, their students had the opportunity to work with Tullahassee, Oklahoma’s first Black township, just one example of a long history of extremely powerful service-learning opportunities offered every year by IQC educators.

Learn more about just a few of their recent service learning projects:

RESEARCH AND CREATIVE ACTIVITY AWARD

Dr. Angela Person is recipient of the Gibbs College of Architecture Research & Creative Activity Award. 

Dr. Person published two edited volumes in the past year, one of which has already won an Oklahoma Book Award. Within these two books, Person authored or co-authored three different chapters. Through her research collaborations she published three co-authored journal articles this past year: “Climate Change Communication: Examining the Social and Cognitive Barriers to Productive Environmental Communication,” published in Social Science Quarterly; “Community Education and Perceptions of Water Reuse: A Case Study in Norman, Oklahoma,” in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, and “Tornado Climatology and Risk Perception in Central Oklahoma,” in the journal Weather, Climate and Society. Dr. Person’s research was also supported by two prestigious external grants this past year, from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Graham Foundation.   

Dr. Person currently leads the interdisciplinary OU Carceral Studies Consortium, which now receives over $20,000/year from four different colleges and brings together over 30 faculty, staff and student affiliates on collaborate projects relating to incarceration and carcerality (architecture.ou.edu/csc). She also co-leads the American School team, which produced a major exhibition, Renegades, in 2020. When the exhibition was forced to close early due to the pandemic, she responded quickly and strategically by working with Dr. Somik Ghosh to create a 3D scan of the exhibition. She served as project co-lead on OU’s only NEA grant in 2020 ($20,000), which has supported the creation of an interactive online American School database is an important achievement. Dr. Person is also supporting a Social Science & Humanities Seed Grant project (OUVPRP, $20,000), “Spatial Storytelling with Emergent Technologies: Muscogee (Creek) Tribal Town Futurity.” She is currently developing a new research project in partnership with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. 
 
Dr. Person is also an outstanding research mentor to undergraduate and graduate students alike at OU.  One of her student research mentees was awarded the grand prize at OU Undergraduate Research Day in 2021 for the project “Expressions of Place Attachment and Justice near the Tar Creek Superfund Site.” Another was awarded an honorable mention for “Hidden Water Infrastructure and Environmental Injustice: Three Case Studies from Oklahoma and Texas” 

Dr. Person’s outstanding research contributions earned her one of the University’s highest research honors this past May.

SERVICE AWARD 

Dr. Suchi Bhattacharjee is the recipient of the GCA Service Award, in recognition of outstanding service to her division, the college, and university.

Dr. Bhattacharjee is known across the GCA as a treasured, professional and reliable colleague in every way.  Dr. Bhattacharjee consistently steps up to serve not only her own division, for example as grad liaison, but also the college, for example, as PhD coordinator, and other campus entities, such as chairing the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Women’s Issues (PACWI).

Dr. Bhattacharjee has also served on search committees around campus including most recently for a visual communication search in the School of Visual Arts. \

Whatever service Dr. Bhattacharjee commits to, she always brings a reputation for being enthusiastic, thorough, and effective.  

DIVERISTY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION FACULTY AWARD

Dr. C. Aujean Lee was awarded the GCA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Faculty Award due to her tireless work pushing DEI excellence at OU, the GCA and nationally.

Recently, Dr. Lee developed the course “Planning with Diverse Communities,” which has transformed the Regional + City Planning master’s degree and improves cultural awareness and competence of professionals produced in the entire College of Architecture. Her colleagues were so impressed by the impact that the course was voted into the core degree requirements this semester. Dr. Lee’s course includes diversity from a comprehensive lens, including class, dis/ability, Indigeneity, race, queer identities, and gender.

From her first semester at OU, Dr. Lee led efforts to author and implement the RCPL division’s first ever Underrepresented Student Recruitment Plan, which was adopted the following semester. This plan provides a multi-year commitment and blueprint for programmatic reflection and change toward an inclusive and welcoming environment. Her work helped inspire the GCA “Taking Action” document, which she also supported.

Dr. Lee co-organized a college-wide brown bag on inclusive teaching and pedagogy (Fall 2020). She also co-led a OU DEI training on “allyship and co-conspirators,” which shows her early involvement with promoting DEI across OU campuses. Her efforts resulted in the creation of RCPL’s DEI advisor service role. In this role she is a fierce advocate for the creation of inclusive policies and attends DEI-related events to share best practices.

Dr. Lee’s research also challenges the profession to consider framing non-white communities from an asset rather than a deficit perspective, which connects to her service and teaching. She has multiple publications in flagship journals on these topics.

Further, Dr. Lee is co-author of the “Diversity Climate Survey – Moving from Aspiration to Action: Reorienting Planners Values Toward Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.” This was published recently by the American Planning Association to help the planning profession implement it stated values.

These efforts and more demonstrate Dr. Lee’s long-term commitment to creating systems that promote OU DEI excellence.  

JAMES L. KUDRNA PROFESSIONALISM AWARD 

Dr. Francesco Cianfarani is this year’s recipient of the James L. Kudrna Professionalism Award.

This award pays tribute to longtime Professor and dedicated colleague, Jim Kudrna.  Jim was known for his kindness and collegiality.  This award recognizes that building a faculty community founded on kindness and respect for one another makes our work together more meaningful, fun and impactful. 

Dr. Cianfarani is known across the college as always being kind, courteous, thorough and professional. He meets deadlines, supports his colleagues, cares for his students, and exhibits excellence in professionalism.

Dr. Cianfarani has demonstrated a commitment to helping colleagues, students and support the GCA mission whenever called upon to serve.   

JERRI HODGES BONEBRAKE ALL-AROUND STAFF AWARD

Camille Germany is recipient of this year’s Jerri Hodges Bonebrake All-Around Staff Award.

The award recognizes all-around excellence in supporting the Gibbs College and University mission, as well as professionalism. Bonebrake, for whom the award is named, served as Bruce Goff’s assistant at OU (learn more).

In the past year, Germany has shown outstanding leadership in a number of critical areas for Gibbs College. Among her key achievements include the coordination of national searches for nine new, full-time faculty hires, overseeing the distribution of a record-setting $261,000 in scholarship awards, and supporting the onboarding of several new administrative staff members. Prior to onboarding these new staff, she worked for several months during the pandemic as the only administrative staff member serving the college.

She balanced this intense workload with calm, confidence, clear and effective communication, and a great sense of humor.