Thursday, July 15, 2021
  Awards and Recognitions, Faculty Focus

By News and Internal Communications

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – The annual UTRGV Faculty Excellence Awards this year recognize eight faculty members for their accomplishments inside and outside the classroom.

The awards highlight the work of UTRGV faculty in the areas of teaching, online teaching, research, service, student mentoring, community-engaged scholarship and sustainability education.

“I would like to congratulate our faculty members for their hard work and commitment to our UTRGV students and community during this unprecedented time in higher education,” said Dr. Janna Arney, UTRGV interim provost. “Even through the disruptive year we have had, they have demonstrated that not even a pandemic could stop them from doing what they love – teaching, doing research and helping their communities.”

Each faculty winner receives a plaque and a $5,000 monetary award.

Recipients of the 2021 UTRGV Faculty Excellence Awards include:  

  • Teaching (Tenure and Tenure-Track): Dumitru Caruntu, professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science. 
  • Teaching (Non-Tenure Track): Lorena Lopez, lecturer I, Department of Health and Biomedical Science, College of Health Affairs. 
  • Online Teaching: Rene Corbeil, professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, College of Education and P-16 Integration. 
  • Research-Scholarship – Creative Work: Zhaosheng Feng, professor, School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, College of Sciences. 
  • Service: Karin Lewis, associate professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, College of Education and P-16 Integration. 
  • Student Mentoring: Karen Lozanoprofessor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science. 
  • Community Engaged Scholarship: Angela Chapman, associate professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, College of Education and P-16 Integration. 
  • Sustainability Education: Bradley Christoffersen, assistant professor, Department of Biology, College of Sciences. 

The awards are sponsored by the UTRGV Office of the Provost, Office of Faculty Success and Diversity, Division of Research and New Program Development; Division of Governmental and Community Relations; and Division of Institutional Advancement.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.