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The Richard and Virginia Eisenhart Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching

Richard and Virginia Eisenhart Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching

Teaching excellence has been formally recognized at RIT since 1965, when the Awards for Outstanding Teaching and their accompanying ceremony were established. The scope of the awards program was broadened in 1967 to include Distinguished Young Teachers. The program was further expanded in 1975 to better recognize the diversity of RIT's education by providing a maximum of four awards to faculty members from various educational disciplines. Although the program has changed, the reasons behind the awards have not: to encourage the professional growth and development of RIT faculty and specifically recognize those members of the academic body who contribute most to enhance student learning. The late M. Herbert Eisenhart, former president and board chairman of Bausch & Lomb, Inc., was a member of RIT's Board of Trustees for more than 50 years. His contributions to RIT during that span were countless, and he was the recipient of the RIT Founders Awards in 1971. His commitment to RIT was further evidenced by his generous bequest that created the M. Herbert and Elsa Bausch Eisenhart Endowment Fund, which provides permanence to the Eisenhart Awards for Outstanding Teaching as well as a major scholarship fund.

2016-2017 Award Recipient

Benjamin Banta, Ph.D — College of Liberal Arts

Benjamin Banta, Ph.D

Benjamin Banta, Ph.D
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science
College of Liberal Arts

  • Joined RIT in 2015
  • Research interests include the just war tradition, humanitarianism, and the ethics of emerging military technologies
  • Author of articles published in the European Journal of International Relations, Review of International Studies, and Journal of Refugee Studies
  • Author of 13 conference papers or invited talks at regional, national, and international conferences
  • Reviewer for the Cambridge Review of International A airs, Journal of Global Security Studies, European Journal of International Relations, Review of International Studies, and International Studies Review
  • Developed curriculum and courses for War and Peace Studies Program at Ohio University; co-director, political science program, Department of Political Science at RIT
  • Faculty representative and mentor, RIT College Democrats, RIT Model United Nations and Global Leadership Program at the RIT Leadership Institute and Community Service Center
  • Ph.D., MA, political science and international relations, University of Delaware; BA, political science, Purdue University

2015-2016 Award Recipient

Reginald Rogers, Ph.D — Kate Gleason College of Engineering

Reginald Rogers, Ph.D

Reginald Rogers, Ph.D
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering
Kate Gleason College of Engineering

  • Joined RIT in 2010
  • Research interests include adsorption for environmental and chemical/biological sensor applications using carbon nanomaterials; next generation batteries for alternative energy applications; synthesis and characterization of micro-and nanomaterials using microwave techniques
  • Recipient of the Gordon Research Conference Carl Storm Underrepresented Minority Fellowship, the RIT Kate Gleason College of Engineering Award for Exemplary Performance in Teaching Award, and the RIT Multicultural Center for Academic Success STAR Awards Partner of the Year Award
  • Recipient of the 2015 James N. Cannon Award in Chemical Engineering from the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers
  • PI or co-PI for government and private industry grants studying carbon electrodes, carbon nanotubes
  • Author or co-author of 20 published papers featured in peer-reviewed journals or conference proceedings
  • Advisor to RIT Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and mentor to Men of Color, Honor, and Ambition
  • Ph.D., University of Michigan, chemical engineering; MS, Northeastern University, chemical engineering; BS Massachusetts Institute of Technology, chemical engineering

2014-2015 Award Recipient

David Halbstein — College of Imaging Arts and Sciences

David Halbstein

David Halbstein
Assistant Professor, School of Design
College of Imaging Arts and Sciences

  • Joined RIT in 2010
  • Co-author of Integrating 3D Modeling, Photogrammetry and Design
  • Teaching focus is on 3D digital design and graphics, modeling, and animation
  • Recipient of Provost’s Learning Innovation Grant for development of new course “Photography and Computer-Based Imagery: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Realistic Image Creation and Control”
  • Established and ran the first Autodesk Corporate Training center in New York, where he led corporate training for staff from Bose Audio, the FBI, The United States Army, Merck, as well as several TV stations and universities around the country
  • Speaker at Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (ACM SIGGRAPH) International Conference, on “Adapting Curriculum to Explore New 3D Modeling Technologies and Work-flows”
  • Speaker at Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy, on “Leveraging Pedagogical Expertise and Quality of Technology Based Design Education Using Online Video in Course Content”
  • President, RIT and Rochester Area Autodesk Animation User Group Association (AAUGA)
  • MA, computer animation, William Paterson University; BA, art, William Paterson University

2013-2014 Award Recipient

Sean Hansen, Ph.D. - E. Saunders College of Business

Sean Hansen, Ph.D.

Sean Hansen, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Management Information Systems
E. Saunders College of Business

  • Joined RIT in 2010
  • Nine years of teaching experience and 14 years of private-sector information technology management experience
  • Research focus is on the interplay between technological advances and the contexts of social action, including Web 2.0 technology, distributed cognition and societal impacts of ubiquitous computing
  • Author of ten published articles, four book chapters and several working papers and presentations on virtual technologies, organizational applications of innovative technical environments, and information systems research
  • Recipient of the Zutes Faculty Fellowship, the Saunders College Faculty Scholarship Grant, and the Norman A. Miles Award for Academic Excellence in Teaching
  • Contributed to National Science Foundation-funded projects on new computer environments and distributed requirements engineering
  • Refereeing work includes the Journal of the Association for Information Systems, the European Journal for Information Systems and the MIS Quarterly
  • Associate editor of the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
  • Ph.D., management, and MBA, management of technology and finance, Case Western Reserve University;  BA, psychology, Harvard University

2011-2012 Award Recipient

Jason Kolodziej, Ph.D. - Kate Gleason College of Engineering

Jason Kolodziej

Jason Kolodziej, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Mechanical Engineering
Kate Gleason College of Engineering

  • Joined RIT in 2008
  • Eight years of experience in fuel cell hybrid vehicle systems
  • Research focus in online system analysis and measurement in engineering systems as related to fault detection, diagnosis and prognostic health management
  • Awarded seven U.S. Patents related to hybrid fuel cell vehicle systems
  • Faculty lead for RIT's Aero Design Team
  • Mentored eight graduate students between 2009-2012
  • Funded research projects include collaborations with MOOG, Dresser-Rand and General Motors
  • Recent presenter at two national conferences
  • Ph.D., MS, BS, Mechanical Engineering, University of New York at Buffalo

2010-2011 Award Recipient

Sandra J. Connelly, Ph.D. - College of Science

Sandra Connelly

Dr. Sandra Connelly joined RIT in 2009 and teaches courses in applied General Biology and Ecology of UV Radiation. Dr. Connelly's current research interest is investigating the fitness of freshwater and marine invertebrates with climate change, effect of temperature and UV on induction of DNA damage, genomic shifts in freshwater invertebrates with UV exposure, and enhancement of pigments in Daphnia with temperature and UV, and the biochemical effects of Vitamin D on freshwater invertebrates in high UV-radiation systems. She has authored or co-authored five publications and six professional presentations since 2007 and has mentored 12 independent study research students, including 3 deaf or hard-of-hearing students, between 2008 and 2011.

Focusing on student success, Dr. Connelly redesigned an introductory biology sequence (lectures and labs) for non-biology majors, implementing the use of the iClicker Student Response System and redesigned labs for Comparative Physiology to better achieve learning outcomes.

For more information on the The Richard and Virginia Eisenhart Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching, and to view award recipients from previous years, visit