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UL honors outstanding faculty

Posted at 9:16 AM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 10:16:23-04

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette has recognized five exemplary educators as its 2021 Eminent Faculty class.

The UL Lafayette Foundation sponsors the annual awards. They are the highest recognition the University confers on faculty.

Established in 1965, the awards honor educators for their research, teaching effectiveness, and contributions to their professions and to campus life.

“Eminent Faculty Awards recognize exemplary faculty members whose devotion to students, innovative research, service and community engagement embodies the University’s core mission,” said John Blohm, vice president for University Advancement and the Foundation’s CEO.

Dr. Jamal Khattak and Dr. Radhey Srivastava are this year’s Distinguished Professor Award honorees. Khattak is a professor of civil engineering. Srivastava is a professor of chemistry.

The Dr. Ray P. Authement Excellence in Teaching Award is named for the University’s fifth president. It has recognized faculty commitment to teaching and innovation since 1992.

This year’s recipients are Sara Birk and Dr. Terrance Chambers. Birk is an associate professor of performing arts. Chambers is a professor of mechanical engineering.

The Leadership Service Award recipient is Kiwana McClung, an associate professor in the School of Architecture and Design.

The Foundation first presented the award in 2016. It honors a faculty member who combines service learning with classroom instruction to forge skills and knowledge that students can apply to community leadership opportunities.

The University selects the honorees based on recommendations from a faculty committee. Each recipient receives a $5,000 stipend.

Here are their photos:

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette has recognized this year’s Eminent Faculty Award honorees. They are, top row, from left: Sara Birk, an associate professor of performing arts, Dr. Terrence Chambers, a professor of mechanical engineering, and Dr. Jamal Khattak, a professor of civil engineering. Bottom row, from left, are: Kiwana McClung, an associate professor in the School of Architecture and Design, and Dr. Radhey Srivastava, a professor of chemistry. Photo credit: Doug Dugas / University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Profiles of the recipients follow.

Sara Birk holds the Coca-Cola/BORSF Endowed Professorship in Performing Arts. She has been recognized as an Outstanding Academic Advisor several times.

Birk is area coordinator for the School of Music and Performing Arts’ theater program. She also directs, provides vocal coaching and acts for University productions.

Her direction of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” earned Birk a Meritorious Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival, Region VI.

Dr. Terrence Chambers holds the Donald and Janice Mosing BORSF Endowed Chair in Mechanical Engineering.

His research of solar and renewable energies was a driving force in the development of the Cleco Alternative Energy Center in Crowley, La., and the Photovoltaic Applied Research and Testing Lab, a solar farm at University Research Park in Lafayette.

Chambers’ other research expertise includes engineering design, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and genetic algorithms.

Dr. Jamal Khattak holds the McDermott International and the M. Eloi Girard BORSF professorships in engineering.

He was instrumental in the creation of the University’s Infrastructure and Transportation Materials Laboratory and a sustained research program in pavement engineering.

His research in areas such as pavement performance and design and infrastructure and transportation materials has helped public officials develop and improve standards for road repair and design.

Kiwana McClung is an associate professor in the School of Architecture and Design.

She is faculty advisor for the University’s student chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects.

McClung earned the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture’s Diversity Achievement Award, which recognizes initiatives to increase diversity in architecture programs and curricula.

Her research interests include community and design development, diversity in design education and cultural spatial studies.

Dr. Radhey Srivastava holds the Marvin and Warren Boudreaux BORSF Professorship in Chemistry.

His research includes the development of novel metal complexes with catalytic properties. A primary focus is development of catalysts that are based primarily on metals such as iron and copper instead of more expensive and less common metals such as gold and silver.

He also studies metal complexes capable of catalyzing the conversion of renewable feed stocks to biofuels.

View video of the 2021 Eminent Faculty Awards ceremony []. Each of the five Eminent Faculty Award recipients is also being recognized in individual video tributes that will be uploaded to the University's Facebook page [] daily from Tuesday, May 25, through Friday, May 28. The individual tributes will also be uploaded to YouTube [].