Alumni Outstanding Teaching Award

The Alumni Outstanding Teaching Awards were established in 1997 to honor distinguished teaching in the classroom. Peer committees in UNO colleges chose recipients, each of whom receives a $2,000 award and a commemorative plaque. With the 2023 awards, the association has issued $257,000 through the program.


Ashley J. Blount, Ph.D., Counseling, College of Education, Health and Human Sciences

Elizabeth L. Chalecki, Ph.D., Political Science, College of Arts and Sciences

Michele Marie Desmarais, Ph.D., Religious Studies, College of Arts and Sciences

Jongwan Eun, Ph.D. PE, Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering (UNL)

Robert Fulkerson, Ph.D., Computer Science, College of Information Science & Technology

Mary J. Hallin, Ph.D., Marketing and Entrepreneurship, College of Business Administration

Nuri Heckler, J.D., Ph.D., Public Administration, College of Public Affairs and Community Service

Patrice June Proulx, Ph.D., Foreign Languages and Literature, College of Arts and Sciences

Seth Shafer, Ph.D., Music Technology, College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media


Ashley J. Blount, Ph.D., Counseling
Ashley J. Blount is an Associate Professor in the Department of Counseling in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska Omaha. Dr. Blount specializes in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and her research is focused on Women's Health, Athletes and Coaches, and Counselor Education and Supervision. Dr. Blount's primary focus is Counselor Education & Supervision and training future Counselors. Dr. Blount specializes in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and teaches a variety of master's-level classes including Introduction to Counseling, Advanced Clinical Mental Health, Diversity and Wellness, and Counseling Internship. Coinciding with teaching, Blount mentors many student researchers and supports students in conducting research and publishing original pieces within the counseling and related health fields. 

Elizabeth L. Chalecki, Ph.D., Political Science
Elizabeth L. Chalecki is an Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of Nebraska Omaha, a Research Fellow in the Environmental Change & Security Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center, and a Research Chair with Fulbright Canada. Her expertise lies in the areas of climate change and security; international environmental policy; and the intersection of science/technology and IR. Dr. Chalecki has authored groundbreaking research on geoengineering and just war, and has published more than 25 books, articles, and book chapters on diverse topics such as climate change and Arctic security; environmental terrorism; climate change and international law; public perceptions of environmental issues; and water in outer space. She also serves as an environmental security subject matter expert for NATO.

Michele Marie Desmarais, Ph.D., Religious Studies  
Michele Marie Desmarais is a Métis, Dakota, and settler poet and scholar from the lands now known as Canada. Desmarais is an Associate Professor in Religious Studies and a teaching faculty member in Native American Studies, Medical Humanities, and International Studies. She was the founding director of UNO’s Medical Humanities program, which began with a Medical Humanities minor and publishes on Indigenous and non-Eurocentric perspectives in the health humanities. Desmarais’ poetry has appeared widely in literary journals and more recently in her poetry chapbook, “owlmouth”. She received a Ph.D. in Asian Studies (Sanskrit and Indian philosophy) from the University of British Columbia. Desmarais developed and facilitated the internship course in Religious Studies including a paid internship with the Tri-Faith Initiative. She is a passionate advocate for inclusivity, diversity, equity, and Indigenization in education.

Jongwan Eun, Ph.D. PE, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Jongwan Eun is an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). He received his Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Wisconsin. Eun has more than 15 years of professional and academic experience in geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering. Before joining UNL, he was a research faculty at New York University Abu Dhabi. His research interests are waste containment systems, contaminant transport and radioactive disposal facilities. His research has been published in more than 50 national and international journal papers and proceedings. He is also an associate editor for the KSCE Journal of Civil Engineering and a reviewer for several journals.

Robert Fulkerson, Ph.D., Computer Science 
Bob Fulkerson has taught and coordinated undergraduate courses at UNO for nearly 30 years, including computer literacy, Honors theses, web development, and introductory computer science. Over the past decade, he has played a key role in rethinking how introductory computer science courses are taught at UNO. His work with other faculty has led to the CS1 course being taught using peer instruction for large sections, which has resulted in a 20% drop in the DFW rate for the course each semester.  

Mary J. Hallin, Ph.D., Marketing and Entrepreneurship
Mary J. Hallin teaches business statistics and tutors in the CBA Statistics Lab. She brings an international and interdisciplinary background including health care, business and medical anthropology to her teaching. She places a high value on student learning and believes she learns from her students as they learn from her. Hallin has brought CAPS leaders to Scott Campus to conduct Gatekeeper suicide prevention workshops. Beyond the classroom and UNO, she organizes international sessions and gives international presentations on teaching remotely and teaching across cultures. Hallin is a board member of the Teaching Anthropology Network (TAN) and is chair of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) Commission on Documentation. Hallin helped establish the Catholic University of Cameroon Bamenda (CATUC) library by donating books from book drives she organized.

Nuri Heckler, J.D., Ph.D., Public Administration 
Nuri Heckler focuses his research on whiteness and masculinity in public organizations including nonprofits, social enterprises, and government. Using experimental, qualitative, historical and theoretical research methods, he examines the mechanisms that reinforce inequities and inefficiencies in public organizations. As a Maryland barred attorney, his research also examines the role law plays in the work of public administrators. His research can be found in Administrative Theory & Praxis, Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory, Administration & Society, Journal of Public Affairs Education, Urban Affairs Review, Public Integrity, and the Oxford Handbook on Jane Addams, among others. 

Patrice June Proulx, Ph.D., Foreign Languages and Literature
Patrice J. Proulx is professor of French and director of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha and holds affiliated faculty status with The Goldstein Center for Human Rights. Her primary teaching and research interests include contemporary French and francophone literature and film; cultural studies; and the literature of immigration in France and Quebec. Proulx serves as a French and WGS student advisor, is a co-organizer of the French Club and created and directs the Summer Study Abroad Program in Quebec City, Quebec. 

Seth Shafer, Ph.D., Music Technology
Seth Shafer is a composer and researcher whose work focuses on real-time notation, interactive music, and algorithmic art. His compositions have been performed internationally in London, South Korea, Athens, Hamburg, Shanghai, Kraków, Spoleto and Rio de Janeiro and across the US in New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Dallas. His sound installations have been shown at Kaneko (Omaha), the Perot Museum of Nature and Science (Dallas), and the Long Beach Museum of Art. Seth is assistant professor of Music Technology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and holds degrees from the University of North Texas and California State University, Long Beach.