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  November 12, 2001

Faculty Awards Recognize
Changes in Use of Info Tech

Nine faculty members were presented with the Fourth Annual Chancellor's Information Technology Award at a ceremony held during "Information Technology Day" Wednesday at the Dodd Center.

The awards recognize members of the campus community for their creativity and innovation in the application of information technology to the advancement of teaching, learning, research and service.

"Originally, the awards were given to pioneers," said Paul Kobulnicky, vice chancellor for information services, who administers the awards on behalf of the Chancellor. "What we're finding now is that awards are being given for work that reflects fundamental changes in the institution's use of information technology.

"The University is integrating information technology into its daily work," he added.

This year's award recipients are:

Mark Boyer, a professor of political science and co-director (with Scott Brown, a professor of educational psychology) of the GlobalEd Project (www.globaled. The project was created to systematically evaluate perceived gender differences in leadership, decision-making, and negotiation styles and in approaches to technology. GlobalEd does this by using an Internet-based approach to conduct international negotiation simulations with students in middle school and high school social studies programs. The project is funded by a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Research and Improvement.

Mark Brand, an associate professor of plant science, was honored for the development of the UConn Plant Database, a free Web resource that contains descriptive text, a sound library of Latin name pronunciations, and thousands of photographs of 550 landscape trees, shrubs, and vines. Included in the website is an online glossary, a "plant selector" that generates plant lists and information based on specified ornamental and cultural traits, virtual campus plant walks for five New England university campuses, and a feature that helps users identify unknown plants.

Daniel Civco, associate professor of natural resources management and engineering, was honored for developing and maintaining a broad program involving information technology in teaching, research, and outreach. He has incorporated IT into his courses in earth resources information systems under the umbrella of "Curriculum in Geoprocessing Sciences and Applications in the New Millennium." Civco has had several experiences with distance education, including a course he developed titled "Introduction to Geospatial Analysis." He also helped develop, coordinate, and evaluate a distance education graduate seminar, "Ecosystem Health: An Experiment in Distance Learning," in which all the New England state universities participated.

Amy Dunbar, an assistant professor of accounting, created a tax resource website for UConn's "nonresident aliens" (http://www.sba.u, which is used during the tax filing season by taxpayers from overseas and volunteers in a program known as VITA. In addition, she converted a graduate tax accounting course to an online course in which students were able to complete the coursework on a self- determined schedule, subject to bi-weekly quiz constraints.

Gary Robbins, a professor of geology and geophysics, was honored for his CD "Expedited Site Assessment," which provides technical guidance on conducting three-dimensional investigations at underground storage tank sites. The CD, released by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, provides technical guidance in a multimedia format with slide presentations, animations, video, simulations, and a real-world exercise.

A team from the Business School was honored for creating Edgelab, a high-end information technology/e-business facility that co-locates students, faculty, and business executives in an environment that engenders new ideas, solutions to live business problems, and multiple feedback loops through research and curriculum development.

Team members are: Richard Dino, Northeast Utilities Scholar in Technological Entrepreneurship at the School of Business and associate dean for graduate programs, business partnering, and external alliances; Paulo Goes, associate professor of operations and information management, and Gladstein Professor of Information Technology and Innovation; Ram Gopal, associate professor of operations and information management; James Marsden, the Shenkman Family Chair in e-Business and professor and department head of operations and information management.

Suzanne Zack

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