UHV honors faculty members for teaching, research, service excellence

Jennifer Ortiz-Garza
Kaveh Moghaddam
Amy Barnhill

Three University of Houston-Victoria faculty members from the fields of psychology, curriculum and instruction, and business management recently were recognized for their efforts to help students and the university through research, service and teaching.

Three faculty members are selected by their colleagues and students each spring for the prestigious awards. This year’s winners are:

  • Enron Teaching Excellence Award – Jennifer Ortiz-Garza, lecturer in psychology
  • Research and Scholarly Activity Excellence Award – Kaveh Moghaddam, assistant professor of management
  • Distinguished Faculty Service Award – Amy Barnhill, associate professor of curriculum and instruction

Each winner will receive a plaque and a monetary award. They also will be honored during UHV’s two graduation ceremonies May 13 at Faith Family Church, 2002 E. Mockingbird Lane. The 9 a.m. ceremony will be for graduates of the schools of Arts & Sciences, and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. The 1 p.m. ceremony will be for graduates of the School of Business Administration.

David Cockrum

“Each of these faculty members are outstanding educators who are making an impact at UHV,” said David Cockrum, UHV interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Their efforts in each of these areas show our students the importance of striving for excellence in everything they do.”

The Enron Teaching Excellence Award was established in 1993. UHV students nominate professors who exemplify innovative, high-quality instruction relevant to their lives and careers.

For Ortiz-Garza, receiving this award was a welcome validation that her work in the classroom is having a lasting impact on her students. It is especially gratifying knowing that she, as a UHV alumna, is continuing the tradition of excellence that she experienced in the classroom.

“Every day, I come into the classroom and see students who are facing challenges,” she said. “I only have a limited time with them, so I work to create a culture and environment that encourages them to have spirit and embrace their collective experience and make the best of what they have. It’s an honor to know that my students appreciate and enjoy my classes.”

The Research and Scholarly Activity Excellence Award recognizes professors who have made outstanding research contributions to their scientific and scholarly communities. Moghaddam has pursued two angles of research: international entrepreneurship and strategies emerging market firms use to reach international markets.

During the past three years, Moghaddam has presented his research through various media including six peer reviewed articles in respected academic journals and eight presentations in academic conferences. He also has served as a session chair in several academic conferences, evaluated manuscripts for journals and reviewed more than 25 manuscripts for several prestigious conferences.

“This award is a great honor for me,” Moghaddam said. “Faculty research is important to maintain academic program accreditations and also positively affects the ranking and reputation of the university. That, in turn, attracts more students to the university. I am grateful that my contributions have been acknowledged by UHV.”

UHV faculty members also annually recognize a peer with the Distinguished Faculty Service Award. This faculty member must admirably serve both the university and community.

“Selecting Dr. Barnhill as the service award recipient was an easy decision for the committee,” said Jie Yang, professor of quantitative management science in the UHV School of Business Administration and a member of the Faculty Awards Committee. “She shows a continuous dedication to UHV and the community through her many acts of service both at the university and in the community. We chose Dr. Barnhill based on her impact, dedication and involvement.”

During her time at UHV, Barnhill has been involved in various projects, including starting a traveling bookmobile in 2016 using a grant, helping launch the university’s kinesiology program, assisting with a science teaching project and serving as an advisor for the university’s chapter of Kappa Delta Pi education honor society. She also serves as program coordinator for teacher education and coordinator of student teaching for the UHV School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.