College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Announces Outstanding Faculty Awards

Contact: Kristin Sobolik, 207-581-3583

Three professors in sociology, chemistry and classical languages have been named recipients of the 2011 Outstanding Faculty Awards in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Maine.

Amy Blackstone, an associate professor of sociology, is the recipient of the Outstanding Teaching and Advising Award. Brian Frederick, an associate professor of chemistry, is the recipient of the Outstanding Research and Creative Achievement Award. Kristina “Tina” Passman, associate professor of classical languages and literature, is the recipient of the Outstanding Service and Outreach Award.

Blackstone’s teaching and research interests include the sociology of gender, work, families, social movements and research methods. Her current research focuses on workplace harassment experiences across the life cycle and childfree adults. Blackstone is an exceptional teacher who receives top of the line student evaluation scores and high praise from her students for her caring, concern, and ability to engage students in any subject matter. She has involved a large number of students on independent studies, internships, work merit projects, senior thesis projects and honors theses. With Blackstone’s mentoring, many students have won awards and are included in her numerous research publications.

Blackstone involves herself in many advising and teaching roles. She has co-edited and contributed teaching materials published by the American Sociological Association; co-organized a session on teaching the sociology of gender for the 2008 annual meeting of the American Sociological Association; co-advises the UMaine Sociology Club; served on the advisory board to the Center for Undergraduate Research; and advised Students for a Safe Campus, a university group that raises awareness about sexual violence. She has participated in Center for Teaching Excellence workshops, an Interdisciplinary Learning Circle on undergraduate research, a “boot camp” for instructional development in Colorado, and a two-day symposium on teaching introductory sociology classes in Florida.

Frederick’s research is in physical and theoretical chemistry. He is internationally known for his work on characterizing surfaces at the molecular scale using instrumentation in the Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology, including photoelectron spectroscopy, vibrational spectroscopy and adsorption porosimetry, as well as neutron scattering at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Current work in developing oxide and metal catalysts for conversion of woody biomass into transportation fuels is in collaboration with members of the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute, an interdisciplinary team consisting of chemists, physicists, chemical engineers, forest scientists, and economists focused on creating value-added products from waste wood in a sustainable way.

Frederick is the author or co-author of 60 refereed articles, 12 patents or patent applications and more than 100 presentations. He has consistently supported his work with external funding from agencies such as the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy and the Office of Naval Research. He has been the PI or co-PI on grants totaling more than $10 million in the last decade. Frederick also has served as a major advisor for 14 Ph.D. students, three M.S. students, five undergraduate thesis students, and several gifted high school students through the Maine MERITS Scholar program.

Passman’s research and teaching center on Latin, ancient Greek, classical studies and literature in translation. She is devoted to service to her students, the University of Maine, and to the belief that education is important and should be accessible to all. Passman is considered a pioneer in online teaching and the application of Universal Design principles to instructional design and delivery. Her commitment to teaching is not limited to students in her daytime classes; she has also tutored high school students whose schools were unable to offer Latin at an advanced level. In addition, she schedules independent studies late in the day to meet the needs of in-service teachers who must learn Latin to retain their positions.

Passman has served on dozens of service committees. She currently chairs the Faculty Senate’s General Education Assessment Committee and recently co-chaired the Provost’s Committee on Student Learning Outcomes and Assessment to help ensure that all courses and programs move toward assessment of learner outcomes. She has served on and chaired the Academic Council within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the university-wide Undergraduate Program and Curriculum Committee. Passman also helped craft the initial iteration of the Maine Learning Results (outcomes assessment for K-12 education) in the areas of Bilingual Education and Modern and Classical languages.