Wednesday, May 24, 2023
  Awards and Recognitions, Faculty Focus

By News and Internal Communications

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – MAY 24, 2023  – Ten faculty members have been named recipients of the 2022-2023 UTRGV Faculty Excellence Awards.

The annual excellence awards recognize faculty who have demonstrated outstanding work in the areas of teaching, online teaching, research, service, student mentoring, community-engaged scholarship and sustainability education. 

Dr. Janna Arney, UTRGV executive vice president and provost, congratulated this year’s awardees for their impactful work and accomplishments.

“We are proud to celebrate our esteemed faculty and all they have accomplished,” Arney said. “UTRGV is fortunate to have exceptional educators shaping our students and having an impact not just on the institution but also on the Valley community.

“Faculty are selected for these awards through a peer-reviewed, highly competitive selection process,” she said. “This is further testimony to how outstanding these individuals are. I am so proud to be able to recognize their dedication and impact, and I am grateful they are Vaqueros.”

Recipients of the 2023 UTRGV Faculty Excellence Awards are: 

  • Teaching (Tenure and Tenure-Track): Jean Braithwaite, Associate Professor, Creative Writing, College of Fine Arts
  • Teaching (Non-Tenure Track): Satya Kachiraju, Lecturer III, Physics & Astronomy,  College of Sciences
  • Research-Scholarship-Creative Work: Joanne Curran, Professor of Medicine, Human Genetics, School of Medicine
  • Online Teaching: Maria Elena Corbeil, Professor, Teaching & Learning, College of Education and P-16 Integration  
  • Service: Bin Wang, Professor, Information Systems, Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship 
  • Student Mentoring: Sue Anne Chew, Associate Professor, Health and Biomedical Sciences, College of Health Professions
  • Community Engaged Scholarship: Alexis Racelis, Associate Professor, Biology, College of Sciences  
  • Sustainability Education: Maria Leonard, Assistant Professor of Practice, Management, Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship 
  • Distinguished Career: Steven Schneider, Professor, Creative Writing, College of Fine Arts
  • Emerging Scholar: Fatemeh Nazari, Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science

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

The UTRGV awards are sponsored by the university’s Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, Office of Faculty Success and Diversity, Center for Online Learning and Teaching Technology, 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.