Six to be honored for teaching, scholarship and service

Stellar faculty will be recognized at VCU’s 37th annual Opening Faculty Address and Convocation.

A faculty member speaks at a podium on an auditorium stage. Faculty members and administrators ar...
Six professors will be recognized for teaching, scholarship and service achievement at VCU’s 37th annual Opening Faculty Address and Convocation on Thursday. (Photo by Tom Kojcsich, University Marketing)

Six distinguished faculty will be recognized for teaching, scholarship and service achievement Aug. 29 at Virginia Commonwealth University’s 37th annual Opening Faculty Address and Convocation

VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., and Gail Hackett, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs, will preside over the ceremony, which will begin at 3 p.m. at the W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts, 922 Park Ave.

Faculty and staff traveling to the Monroe Park Campus may use the Pulse (VCU/VUU stop) or GRTC Route 5 (Main and Harrison stop) to attend the event. Information on reciprocal parking can be found on the university’s parking and transportation website.

A glance at the 2019 honorees:

John T. Kneebone, Ph.D., College of Humanities and Sciences
University Award of Excellence

Kneebone, an academic and public historian who retired earlier this year, was an associate professor in the Department of History for more than 15 years. He was the department’s internship coordinator, where he supervised more than 540 undergraduate and 120 graduate student internships. He is currently writing a book on the history of VCU and its relationship with the city of Richmond.

John J. Ryan, Ph.D., College of Humanities and Sciences
Distinguished Scholarship Award

Ryan, a professor in the Department of Biology and associate vice president for research development, is a nationally recognized immunology expert. His research has contributed to a greater understanding of asthma, allergic reactions, infection and cancer. Ryan has served as principal investigator or project lead on research grants that have received more than $13 million in funding.

Karen Kester, Ph.D., College of Humanities and Sciences
Distinguished Teaching Award 

Kester, an associate professor in the Department of Biology, has taught a range of courses, from large introductory classes to specialized graduate seminars. She helped create — and serves as program director of — VCU’s Bridges to the Baccalaureate: Dream to Goal program. The student development, teaching and research training program prepares community college transfer students interested in biomedical sciences for their transition to VCU.


June O. Nicholson, College of Humanities and Sciences
Distinguished Service Award

Nicholson is a professor of journalism in the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture, where she educates students and professionals on the craft of producing in-depth stories and multimedia coverage of major issues. She has served the past 10 years as director of graduate studies for the school and was president of VCU’s Faculty Senate from 2013 to 2015.


Christine Lee Bae, Ph.D., School of Education
Outstanding Early Career Faculty Award

Bae, an assistant professor, has conducted research in the fields of educational psychology and science education. Her NSF CAREER project partners with educators in local school divisions to create engaging and equitable science learning opportunities that build on middle school students’ knowledge to promote long-term success in technology, math and science.


Lisa K. Brath, M.D., School of Medicine
Outstanding Term Faculty Award

Brath, a professor of medicine, also serves as medical director of both Respiratory Care and the Unique Pathogens Unit at VCU Medical Center. She helped create a program in 2014 to address VCU’s preparedness regarding the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which led to VCU Medical Center becoming one of the first 35 federal Ebola treatment centers in the United States.

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