CEAS Faculty Members Honored With UC Faculty Awards

By: Ashley Duvelius
May 16, 2012

CEAS has not one, but four distinguished faculty members who are being honored with a 2012 Faculty Award at the Faculty Awards Celebration on May 17, 2012. These awards are a way for UC to honor one of its greatest assets – its distinguished faculty. Major awards in teaching, research, service, entrepreneurship and more were presented. The entire community was invited to attend the 2012 ceremony in TUC's Great Hall.


Marc M. Cahay, PhD, CEAS professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering, School of Electronics and Computing Systems, receives the Distinguished Teaching Professor Award. The awarding of the title of Distinguished Teaching Professor to a faculty member represents the highest level of recognition for achievements and contributions in university teaching. It recognizes long-term commitment on the part of an individual to excellence in teaching at the university.

Cahay earned his BS in physics from the University of Liege in Belgium (’81). Later, he received his MS in physics (’86) and his PhD in electrical engineering (’87) from Purdue Unversity. Cahay joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UC (’89) as an assistant professor of ECE. He was then promoted to associate professor in 1995 and to a full professor in 2000.

During his time at UC, Cahay has many achievements to his credit. He started and developed a successful research program in nanotechnology with its most recent focus on spintronics. Cahay was promoted to the status of Fellow of the IEEE and the Electrochemical Society. Over the last 23 years, he has trained 10 PhD students, over 20 master’s students and hundreds of undergraduates. He’s helped many graduate students attend international meetings with the help of traveling grants awarded to him by the National Science Foundation. Cahay reflects, “It gives me a great sense of accomplishment to have contributed to the American engineering workforce.”

Cahay says, “This award means I have gained respect from not only many undergraduate and graduate students at UC but also from peers worldwide for my longstanding dedication to teaching. I never thought I would get such an award. Teaching has always been a part of my life and receiving this award is very gratifying. It gives me great pleasure to have trained
and educated students who now have successful careers and who let me know about their current projects.”

Cahay recently wrote a book titled"Introduction to Spintronics" with his colleague Supriyo Bandyopadhyay PhD, professor of electrical and computer engineering and professor of physics at Virginia Commonwealth University. To date, it is the only textbook on spintronics available and they have sold 1,000 copies thus far. Cahay’s publisher, Taylor and Francis, has asked him and his colleague to write a second edition. Looking toward the future, he eagerly accepts the challenge and states, “This book will be on a collection of problems in quantum mechanics which should be appealing to all engineers because they will deal with practical problems in the rapidly growing field of nanotechnology. It should be of great value for students and professors in engineering and applied sciences.”


 “He is one of the most influential teachers in my college experience and future professional career,” junior Mark Schutte says of Andrew C. McAvoy, PhD, CEAS adjunct associate professor in environmental engineering. McAvoy is awarded the Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award.  Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Member Awards are granted each year in recognition of the vital contributions adjuncts make to the teaching mission of the university. One person is selected from among those adjuncts who teach on a quarter-by-quarter basis, and one is selected from among those who have annual or continuing appointments. A full-time (non-adjunct) employee who is represented by AAUP but who also teaches as a term adjunct in another academic unit is not eligible for these awards.

As an environmental engineering graduate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (’86), McAvoy started his distinguished career at The Procter & Gamble Company as a Principal Research Scientist. He worked with P&G for 20 years. McAvoy first joined the faculty of UC in 2006. Currently, McAvoy divides his time between being an adjunct at UC and serving as an environmental specialist and Independent Consultant.

McAvoy has a strong background and immense leadership experience in facilitating collaboration, advising on difficult problems, guiding project direction and developing new methodologies. He explains, “I am a critical thinker with high energy and passion to lead or contribute to challenging environmental initiatives. I execute with high integrity and deliver quality results. My hands-on leadership approach enables me to keep focused and to be productive during the inevitable ups and downs of a project.”

McAvoy considers advising and teaching graduate and undergraduate students alike in environmental engineering courses a privilege. He specializes in mathematical modeling, environmental sustainability, environmental risk assessment, environmental chemistry and flushability assessment.

McAvoy remains actively involved in organizations such as Green Cincinnati, LCA in Industry, Research & Development Career Network, Water Environment Federation, Acre Sustainability Recruitment Network, American Cleaning Institute, Environmental Consulting Professionals, Environmental Engineers Group and Environmental Remediation Specialists.

He reflects, “It’s always nice to get recognized for your efforts. I was quite surprised and humbled when I was selected for this award, particularly since there are so many outstanding adjunct professors at UC. I will cherish this award for the rest of my life.”


Rajiv Soman, PhD, CEAS professor of chemical engineering, is to be inducted as a new Fellow of the Academy of Teaching & Learning (AFTL) at its next meeting on May 22nd. AFTL strives to place students at the center, grow research excellence in the scholarship of teaching and learning, achieve academic excellence and forge key relationships that advance pedagogy at UC.

Soman earned his BS with Honours in Chemistry and Physics at Bombay University in India. He continued on to receive his MS in applied chemistry while working as a faculty member of Technology and Engineering at the University of Baroda, India. Once he came to the US, Soman achieved his PhD in analytical chemistry at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. In his early career, he helped to develop Lakota Elementary Schools’ curriculum and discovered a passion for helping students learn and succeed.

Soman always asks himself, “How can I give back to my school, my students and my community?” He finds his answer in advising graduate students, both in the classroom and abroad. Soman started the international program here at UC and also works with the honors programs. Additionally, he strongly encourages hesitant female science students to pursue their dreams of a scientific career.

Recently, he took a group of DAAP students to rural India so that they could learn about the roots of fashion and also Indian culture. As Soman often says, “Education knows no boundaries.” Two of these students have already been recognized as up-and-coming fashion designers. He also donates funds for elementary schools in India as a way to give back to his home.

Soman continuously looks for new ways to help students learn. Some of these new styles of teaching are hands-on learning like his trip to India or enquiry, like the Tweets of questions he uses in the classroom. It is his desire for discovering new teaching techniques and a drive to help his students learn that earned him a fellowship with AFTL.

In addition to this fellowship, Soman has received a number of prestigious awards, including: Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers (’00,’02), Faculty Appreciation Award from Student Tribunal (’02), Certificate of Appreciation from the Ohio Department of Education (’01), Excellence in Teaching Award from NTSA (’00), Teacher of the Year Award from UC (’98) and the Academic Achievement Award from the Tau Alpha Pi National Honor Society (’97).


Gui-Rong Liu, PhD, CEAS professor and eminent scholar in aerospace engineering, receives a fellowship to the Graduate School. The Fellows of The Graduate School is an organization that recognizes distinguished researchers and scholars from throughout UC. In addition to their outstanding individual accomplishments, Fellows are generally among the most experienced and accomplished graduate-student mentors at the university.

Liu received his PhD from Tohoku University, Japan (’91) and was a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University. He went on to become a professor of mechanical engineering and the director of the Centre for Advanced Computations in Engineering Science at the National University of Singapore. Liu joined the School of Aerospace Systems at CEAS in September 2010, as an international expert in computational solid mechanics.

Liu’s reputation preceded his arrival at UC. He was named the Ohio Eminent Scholar in Reliability and Service Life Management for Advanced Propulsion and Power Systems. Liu is recognized worldwide for his influential contributions to computational solid and fluid mechanics. Some contributions include: establishing the G space theory, the families of smoothed finite element methods and smoothed point interpolation methods, and principles of W2 formulations.

Liu is also interested in researching nano-scale and micro bio-system computation and computational inverse techniques for nondestructive evaluation and materials characterization. Today, he is a widely-cited scholar in computer modeling and simulation. Liu has written over 300 international journal papers and 9 books, including: Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics: A Meshfree Particle Method and Mesh Free Methods: Moving Beyond the Finite Element Method.

Currently, along with teaching, Liu serves as President of the Asia-Pacific Association for Computational Mechanics (APACM) and Executive Council Member of the International Association for Computational Mechanics (IACM). He is also Editor-In-Chief of the International Journal of Computational Methods.

“This fellowship of the Graduate School means limitless opportunities for me to help the university and others in advisory ways. I got to where I am by working extremely hard and I will continue to give it my all,” Liu reflects.

These faculty members are the essence of UC’s continuing excellence!

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