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ULM faculty, staff presented with Foundation Awards for Excellence

Published August 22, 2016

MONROE, La. — University of Louisiana Monroe faculty and staff gathered last Thursday in Brown Auditorium to honor excellence in research, teaching, creative/artistic activity, and service at the sixth annual ULM Foundation Awards for Excellence ceremony. 

Each winner was chosen based on a set of standards determined by a selection committee.

For each category, recipients were awarded unique honors based on the recipients’ overall effectiveness in their field and their contributions to the university.

Six awards were given, with four going to faculty members, and two going to staff.


The award for excellence in research was presented to Dr. Seetharama D. Jois, associate professor of medical chemistry.

Jois was recognized for his research in protein-protein interactions, work with graduate students, and his most prestigious achievement—a patent.

Jois has earned over $1.5 million in grants, and he obtained funding from the Louisiana Board of Regents to establish a protein and peptide analysis facility at ULM.


The award for excellence in creative/artistic activity was presented to Dr. Bette J. Kauffman, professor of communication.

Kauffman was touted for her work within the community. She created an interactive photo installation called “Waterline,” which came as her contribution to the political will to rebuild and restore New Orleans and her people after hurricane Katrina.

Kauffman’s dedication to the humanities, writing, photography, and the art of teaching are what make her one of the university’s most respected employees.


The award for excellence in service was presented to Dr. Kioh Kim, associate professor of education.

Kim’s service helped established strong academic and international programs at ULM and its surrounding community. His service in creating collaborative relationships between international universities and ULM has been outstanding as he helped ULM sign academic agreements with one university in Japan, nine universities in Korea, one university in China, and one university in Taiwan.


The award for excellence in teaching was presented to business instructor Thomas J. DeNardin, whose colleagues call him an enthusiastic, motivating, and dedicating teacher who often uses the word 'remarkable' in class to emphasize to students that they should be and can be remarkable in life.

DeNardin has 13 years of teaching experience and 26 years of experience in the field of business, which gives him ability to intertwine real-world lessons into his teaching.


The award for excellence in service, given to an unclassified staff member, was awarded to Sabrina McClain, assistant to the associate dean of the College of Arts, Education, and Sciences.

McClain is the gateway person for the office, working to solve problems for students, staff, and faculty alike. 

In addition to her outstanding service to the university, McClain is deeply committed to the community. She is actively engaged in donating to and volunteering at local food banks, area nursing homes, schools, and charitable organizations.


The award for excellence in service, given to a classified staff member, was presented to Martha “Sue” Oliver, administrative assistant IV for the College of Arts, Education, and Sciences.

Oliver has served the university for more than 36 years and has led the department by assisting and facilitating daily operations. 

Oliver’s dedication to helping the students, staff and faculty has been of immeasurable benefit to the university. 

Each winner was presented with a personalized plaque and monetary award.