VCU honors six outstanding educators and researchers at faculty convocation

The annual awards recognize faculty for their teaching, scholarship and service.
a group photo of Michael Rao, Provost Fotis Sotiropoulos, Peyton Rowe, Alan Dow, Jeanine Guidry, Pin-Lan Li, Omar Abubaker and LaRon A. Scott. [View Image]

Virginia Commonwealth University honored six faculty members Thursday at the 39th annual Opening Faculty Address and Convocation at the Grace Street Theater. The event, which serves as a kick off to VCU’s new academic year, is held to recognize educators for outstanding teaching, scholarship and service.

The 2021 honorees are from VCU’s schools of Dentistry, Education, Medicine and Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture (part of the College of Humanities and Sciences). They each spoke in filmed interviews for the event about their work, their passion and their commitment to students, research and higher education.

LaRon A. Scott, Ed.D., School of Education

University Award of Excellence

Scott’s research focuses on postsecondary transition experiences for youth of color with an intellectual and developmental disability. His work has been funded by more than $6 million in grants. He has been published in over 40 peer-reviewed journals and has written two books and 14 chapters.

Pin-Lan Li, M.D., Ph.D., School of Medicine

Distinguished Scholarship Award

Li’s research focuses on cardiovascular and renal pharmacology. She has published 220 scientific papers and 10 book chapters, resulting in 20,000 citations. At VCU, Li has been continuously funded through four National Institutes of Health grants, resulting in more than $33 million for her research programs.

Alan Dow, M.D., School of Medicine

Distinguished Teaching Award

Dow directs the Center for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Care. Each year more than 2,000 students and 100 faculty participate in interprofessional programs through the center. He recently created programming to help disseminate critical information about COVID-19.

Omar Abubaker, D.M.D., Ph.D., School of Dentistry

Distinguished Service Award

Abubaker is a professor and the S. Elmer Bear Chair of oral and maxillofacial surgery. He has offered his expertise at the local, regional, national and even international level. His most recent contribution was in the area of addiction, becoming an advocate against opioid addiction. Abubaker has spoken to the U.S. Senate, media and others about the opioid crisis.

Jeanine Guidry, Ph.D., College of Humanities and Sciences

Outstanding Early Career Faculty Award

Guidry is in her fourth year on a tenure track at the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture. Her work focuses on health communication messaging, testing and evaluation. Guidry regularly presents at conferences and has published 45 peer-reviewed journal articles on the impact of visual social media in the field of health communication.

Peyton Rowe, College of Humanities and Sciences

Outstanding Term Faculty Award

Rowe currently serves as interim director of the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture and is a professor of design and creative advertising. She is considered a leader in experiential learning and founded CreateAthon@VCU. Through the program, 1,100 student and professional volunteers have helped Richmond-area nonprofit organizations receive $2.4 million in pro bono strategic and creative work.

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