Cristina Bacuta is presented the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award by Dean George Watson.

CAS achievements, honors

College of Arts and Sciences recognizes alumni, faculty, college developments


12:18 p.m., May 18, 2012--The University of Delaware College of Arts and Sciences held its annual awards ceremony on May 16 in the Roselle Center for the Arts to recognize its alumni award winners, college award recipients, and University teaching and advising honorees, and to celebrate the notable accomplishments of the past academic year, which included launching a new website, welcoming new centers and congratulating a faculty member on earning the Francis Alison Award.  

Calling the annual celebration “one of my favorite events of the year,” Dean George Watson spoke of broad college achievements, such as the expansion of the NUCLEUS program, anniversary celebrations in the School of Public Policy and Administration and Department of Black American Studies, and developments within the Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center

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He recognized scores of individual faculty members for receiving prominent national and state awards, including the two National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development awards, national book awards, and numerous other honors and achievements. 

Also, the four recipients of the 2012 College of Arts and Sciences Awards, which recognize faculty members’ “outstanding contributions to the life of the University of Delaware,” were honored.

Watson called the awardees an “incredibly talented and eminent group of scholars and educators,” adding, “I couldn’t be more pleased to celebrate their success.”

This year’s recipients are:

  • Cristina Bacuta, assistant professor of mathematical sciences, Outstanding Teaching Award;
  • Fidelma Boyd, professor of biological sciences, Outstanding Scholar Award;
  • Vicki Cassman, associate professor of art conservation, Outstanding Service Award; and
  • América Martínez, assistant professor of Spanish, Outstanding Advising Award.

Cristina Bacuta—Teaching

Bacuta is an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences.

In nominating Bacuta for the award, her colleagues routinely described her as someone who “goes well beyond what is expected of instructors,” from calling on students by name in lecture classes of 130 undergraduates, to serving as teaching observation supervisor for secondary mathematics education majors. 

“Her attention to detail is amazing, her preparation unmatched, and her concern and care for every single student exemplifies the ideal faculty member,” John Pelesko, department chair, wrote in his nominating letter. 

The Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher Award is based on student and peer evaluations, alumni testimonials, number and range of courses offered, involvement in individual instruction, quality of advisement and mentoring, demonstrated commitment to student welfare and development and acknowledged reputation in teaching.

Fidelma Boyd—Scholarship

Boyd is professor of biological sciences. 

She is a highly regarded researcher in microbiology, gaining a national and international reputation for her work in the bacterial genome evolution, particularly in the Vibrio bacteria.

Boyd has published 78 peer-reviewed research articles, reviews and book chapters—the vast majority in high impact journals—and 38 of the 78 have been published since coming to UD. 

In the past six years, she has received nearly $3 million in research funding, and serves as principal investigator on two active National Science Foundation grants, one of which is the highly coveted Early Career Development Award.

“Fidelma has greatly improved the microbiology program within the department and has established an international presence at the University of Delaware within this field,” wrote Randall Duncan, department chair. 

Boyd joined the University in 2006 and was promoted to full professor this spring. 

Vicki Cassman—Service

Cassman is an associate professor in art conservation and director of undergraduate studies in the department. 

In the latter role, she also serves as honors liaison, curriculum designer, study abroad coordinator, e-portfolio creator, mentor, assessment officer, and graduate admissions coach. 

At the University, Cassman chairs the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, International Committee, Krill and Fiske Awards Committee, and Undergraduate Convocation Committee

She also assists with minority recruitment through the Mellon Foundation, the Arts and Humanities Summer Institute, and advisory committee meetings with Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 

She was selected for the amount of service she has “selflessly carried out for the University of Delaware, the local Newark community, and the profession of conservation, both nationally and internationally.”

Most recently, Cassman was awarded the University’s Excellence in Undergraduate Advising Award.

América Martínez— Advisement

Martínez is an assistant professor of Spanish. 

She was recognized for her commitment to Spanish minors, a group of approximately 500 students, each of whom she meets or emails to ensure they’re on track with their education. 

Martínez prepares checklists for her students, holds a series of meetings for declared minors, advises students about the Spanish major and study abroad opportunities, and, her nominators add, “always goes beyond the call of duty.”

Until the year 2006, she advised Spanish majors as well as three language majors. 

Like Cassman, her exceptional advising has been recognized with the University’s 2012 Excellence in Undergraduate Advising Award. 

Alumni Weekend

The college will next kick off Alumni Weekend with an alumni reception from 6-8 p.m. in Memorial Hall on Friday, June 1, co-hosted by the Institute for Global Studies.

Article by Artika Rangan Casini

Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson

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