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Three faculty members honored for graduate mentoring

The winners of the Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award received the award during the Graduate School’s Spring Awards Ceremony and Reception, held recently in the Center for the Arts. They are, from left, Rajan Batta, Yvonne Scherer and Anthony Campagnari.

By SUE WUETCHER

Published May 7, 2015

UB faculty members Rajan Batta, Anthony Campagnari and Yvonne Scherer are the recipients of the 2014-15 Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award, presented by the Graduate School to recognized support and development of graduate students through mentoring activities.   

The Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award is given annually to members of the graduate faculty who have demonstrated “truly outstanding and sustained support and development of graduate students from course completion through research and subsequent career placement.”

The recipients are recognized at UB's annual Celebration of Faculty/Staff Excellence held during the fall semester.

Rajan Batta, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, also serves as associate dean for faculty affairs in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

A fellow of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE), Batta has been teaching at UB for more than 30 years and has supervised or co-supervised 41 doctoral students. He’s currently teaching graduate classes in stochastic methods, facilities design and urban operations research.

He uses industrial engineering techniques, such as operations research, to develop and analyze mathematical models of systems critical to society. His research interests range from transportation planning and analysis of urban crime patterns to military logistics, telecommunications and homeland defense.

A prolific scholar, Batta has authored or co-authored more than 120 publications in the top journals in his field.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, among them the David F. Baker Distinguished Research Award from the IIE, as well as its 2015 Albert G. Holzman Distinguished Educator Award. He also has received the SUNY Research Foundation Award for Research and Scholarship, the Research Foundation’s highest award; and a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Anthony Campagnari, a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, also serves as senior associate dean for research and graduate education in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. In that position, his responsibilities include improving the environment for faculty to perform high-impact research, as well as overseeing and supporting the PhD program in biomedical sciences and cultivating training grants for all graduate and postdoctoral programs.

Campagnari’s research focuses on bacterial pathogenesis, in particular bacterial biofilms, antimicrobial therapies and vaccine antigens. His research — funded continuously for more than 20 years by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Defense, industry and private foundations — has led to 70 publications and four U.S. patents.

His research team typically includes a combination of graduate students, lab technicians and a junior faculty member. During the summer, he frequently mentors medical students or undergraduates who are interested in the fundamentals of basic science and translational research focused on microbial pathogenesis.

He is the recipient of a UB Sustained Achievement Award from the Exceptional Scholar Program, a UB Visionary Innovator Award and a UB Inventor and Entrepreneur Award.

Yvonne Scherer, associate professor in the School of Nursing, serves as coordinator of the Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Post-Master’s DNP Program.

A nursing faculty member for more than 30 years, she is an expert in adult and critical patient care, with a particular focus on respiratory care of patients with pulmonary disease. Other areas of interest include testing restorative care within a resident-centered care model and evaluation of simulation as a teaching modality for nursing.

Scherer led a school-wide initiative to incorporate a computer-assisted simulation component into the Adult Nurse Practitioner and Acute Care Practitioner programs, making UB one of the first universities in the nation to introduce full-body simulation in its advanced practice curriculum.

She has published significantly on the pedagogical and clinical implications of technology and brought in millions of dollars in funding to the university to advance educational technology within the nursing curriculum.

She is the recipient of numerous awards, among them the UB Teaching Innovation Award, the 2007 Mecca S. Cranley Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 2007-09 Mentor Award from the School of Nursing.