A veterinarian dedicated to bolstering hands-on learning opportunities in and out of the classroom, a civil engineering professor working to improve student outcomes by collecting data and engaging faculty, and an environmentally conscious researcher with a penchant for mentoring students are the recipients of the 2020-21 Provost’s Awards for Excellence.
The awards, given annually, were created to recognize faculty who have earned distinction in the areas of teaching, service, and scholarly and creative activities. They are made possible by a grant from the Kellogg Legacy Project Endowment.
The Provost’s Awards recipients will be recognized at their college’s drive-in Commencement ceremony in May. The Provost’s Awards Symposium is currently scheduled for Oct. 7 from 3 to 5 p.m. Additional information will be sent as the fall semester plans unfold.
Excellence in Teaching
Joanne Sohn, associate professor, joined the Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences in 2014. She is the director of the Animal Health Science program and has worked as a licensed veterinarian for over 20 years. To advance our experiential learning tradition, Dr. Sohn has developed multiple hands-on learning opportunities to help solidify academic knowledge, including the semi-annual Spa Day/Vaccine clinic. She has a passion for international travel and has taken her students on academic fieldtrips to Thailand and South Africa. As a result of her numerous grants, the on-campus veterinary teaching lab is equipped with some of the most up-to-date equipment and technology. She received the College of Agriculture Teacher of the Year award in 2016.
Excellence in Service
Seema Shah-Fairbank, associate professor of civil engineering and a licensed civil engineer, has been active at the department, university, and larger engineering community. From 2017 to 2019, she served as the inaugural faculty director for assessment and program review. Her accomplishments include the collection of assessment evidence for the core competencies and the GE student learning outcomes, her help to increase faculty engagement with assessment, and the improvement of the program review process. She continues to serve as the faculty fellow for program review but has refocused more of her time back to the department where she teaches water resource engineering courses to both undergraduate and graduate students. Shah-Fairbank has served as the faculty advisor for the Cal Poly Pomona student section of the American Society of Civil Engineering and is currently the Los Angeles Section President.
Excellence in Scholarly and Creative Activities
S. Chantal E. Stieber, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, joined Cal Poly Pomona in 2015. She pursues environmentally conscious research that investigates ways to reduce pollutants, examines methods for responsible pharmaceutical and agrochemical synthesis, and explores ways to eliminate nuclear waste. Stieber has received several prestigious grants since joining the CPP faculty, including a $600,000 Department of Defense grant to purchase an X-ray diffractometer used in determining molecular structure, and an $475,000 NSF CAREER grant, “in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through research and education.” She is currently mentoring 17 students in her laboratory. Students say that her mentorship has given them a sense of purpose and inspiration to pursue their goals. One of her graduate students, Justin Cortez, received an Exemplary Oral Presentation award at the 2021 RSCA Conference and represented the university at the CSU Student Research Competition.