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UMSI faculty awards recognize excellence in instruction, service and community engagement

"2022-2023 Faculty Awards Recipients" Headshots of Kentaro Toyama, Melissa Chalmers, Cliff Lampe, and Kristin Fontichiaro.

Wednesday, 09/21/2022

Four faculty members received awards for excellence in community-engaged research, outstanding service, and instruction at the University of Michigan School of Information’s first faculty meeting of the 2022-23 school year on Sept. 21. 

“It is one of my great pleasures to recognize faculty for their professional and scholarly contributions and service to the school,” says Beth Yakel, interim dean of UMSI. “Awardees demonstrated excellence in community engagement, service, and instruction that represents the best in the UMSI community. I am glad that we have this opportunity to celebrate them and their outstanding work.”

Clinical professor Kristin Fontichiaro was the recipient of this year’s Joan Durrance Community Engagement Award. The award recognizes excellence in building partnerships with communities in order to develop information-related projects that can lead to social change. It is named for Professor Emerita Joan Durrance, who was devoted to conducting research that helped underserved populations. 

Fontichiaro was recognized for her engagement work in helping libraries adapt to the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with the Library of Michigan, she hosted a series of meetings to help librarians adapt youth services due to pandemic-related closures and service restrictions. These events were attended by hundreds of librarians, and one event connected over 90 libraries across the state. This led to another effort with the Library of Michigan to run a similar workshop for adult services, which was attended by over 300 librarians in the state.

Professor and associate dean for academic affairs Cliff Lampe received the Michael D. Cohen Outstanding Service Award. This award was named to honor the memory of Professor Emeritus Michael D. Cohen and recognizes commitment to serving the UMSI community and mission. 

Lampe was recognized for his leadership as the general chair of the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, an incredibly time-consuming role made more complex by the COVID-19 pandemic. The award also recognizes his excellent service to UMSI as director of the Bachelor’s of Science in Information (BSI) program, where he spearheaded successful efforts to create several Auto User Experience (UX)-focused courses, as well as two new minors in Social Media Analysis and Design and UX Design. 

Kentaro Toyama and Melissa Chalmers are the co-recipients of the Excellence in Instruction Award. Toyama, W.K. Kellogg Professor of Community Information, was recognized for his outstanding work teaching SI 501: Contextual Inquiry and Consulting Foundations. Under his leadership, this course has earned consistently high student evaluations and is often recognized by alumni as among the most valuable courses in their subsequent careers. The award also recognizes Toyama’s's work on anti-racist and DEI curricular development through his role as co-chair of UMSI's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee.

Chalmers, lecturer III, was recognized for her important and broad-ranging contributions to UMSI's teaching, particularly in the residential Master of Science in Information and the online Masters of Applied Data Science degrees. She has taught a wide variety of courses effectively and has made considerable modifications to course materials to make courses more inclusive, including improving the transparency of learning goals. She also serves as a co-coordinator for UMSI Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) Training and Support, and does an outstanding job in helping to build the instructional skills of UMSI students.

Previous honorees:

UMSI Excellence in Instruction Award

Michael D. Cohen Outstanding Service Award

Joan Durrance Community Engagement Award