Distinguished Faculty Achievement
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May 11, 2012
Distinguished Faculty Achievement
Five Trinity University professors honored for outstanding teaching, service, and scholarship
SAN ANTONIO - Outstanding members of the Trinity University faculty have been honored for distinguished achievement in service, teaching, advising, or research. The awards were announced by Trinity president Dennis A. Ahlburg and the University's Office of Academic and Student Affairs.
Steven Luper, professor and chair of philosophy, was recognized for outstanding scholarship, research, and creative work. Paul Myers, professor and chair of computer science, was lauded for his commitment and dedication to student advising. In addition, Barbara MacAlpine, associate professor at the Coates Library, received an award for distinguished University service.
Two junior faculty members - assistant professors E. Cabral Balreira, mathematics, and Amy Stone, sociology and anthropology - were cited for distinguished teaching and research.
Luper has published largely in two areas - epistemology, or the theory of knowledge, and ethics, specifically issues related to death and dying. Luper has edited or written 10 volumes and published more than 30 articles and book chapters. His first book, Invulnerability: On Securing Happiness, explored the concept of arranging our lives and desires in such a way that death would not be a bad thing, no matter when it might occur. He expanded this topic and others in The Philosophy of Death, published by Cambridge University Press in 2009, by examining metaphysical issues about what sort of beings we are, what death consists of, and what is valuable to us. He also discussed the ethics of suicide, euthanasia, and abortion. Luper has been an active member of the American Philosophical Association and has addressed non-philosophical organizations on topics related to biomedical ethics, including cloning, genetic engineering, and end-of-life decisions.
Although Trinity requires faculty to advise students every other year, Myers, who teaches software engineering and logic programming, rarely takes a break from first-year advising, functioning as an academic "life coach." Former students recalled him asking questions that led to serious reflection about why they were in college, often presenting the choice of courses and majors as an opportunity to "try new things and grow." He also was praised for his persistence and focus on life-long learning, gently drawing lines between reality, dreams, and pure fantasy. Students said Myers expressed a desire for each advisee to succeed in whatever he or she chose to study or do. Another student observed, "Not only did Paul believe in me, but he believes in the value of any genuinely held pursuit, be it academic, spiritual, musical, political, culinary...you name it. He gave me the courage to follow a dream."
At Trinity, MacAlpine has served on numerous committees, notably chairing the First-Year Seminar Steering Committee, advising the Academic Honor Council, and both founding and advising the Trinity Women Interested in Science and Technology. She was an active member of the Quality Enhancement Plan committee that developed the Information Literacy program and co-wrote a successful application for the Excellence in Academic Libraries Award in 2006. She is currently a member of the Commission on Promotion and Tenure and has co-chaired the steering committee for the Collaborative for Learning and Teaching, providing energy and organizational skills to help its launch. Off campus, MacAlpine has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and taught classes for local elementary and middle-school students on library resources and information literacy. She also has edited the STS Signal, a publication of the Science and Technology Section of the Association of Colleges and Research Libraries.
While teaching a broad range of math courses at all curriculum levels, Balreira has been active in course development while delivering what his department chair describes as "clear and well-prepared lectures in an enthusiastic and engaging manner." In addition, he conveys rigor and depth while remaining popular with students. His research focuses on global invertibility and injectivity and, since coming to Trinity, he has published three papers in respected academic journals and given 11 research presentations, including six international appearances and one invited talk at the Brazilian Topology meeting. Balreira has been active in research projects in mathematical biology under the National Science Foundation's Undergraduate Biology and Mathematics grant awarded to the departments of Mathematics and Biology in 2009. He also chaired the Library Activities Committee, served on the Open Access Committee, and helped organize the Third International Conference on Mathematical Modeling and Analysis of Populations in Biological Systems.
Stone has expanded and refined the teaching of research methods in her department, prompting one student to remark that she "makes statistics fun and easy to learn." She says that "students understand social theories if they have the opportunity to see them in action," and her students have worked with the South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless, the San Antonio Children's Museum, and Trinity's Upward Bound program, producing reports that have circulated in urban planning and development communities. Since coming to Trinity, she has published three refereed articles, two book chapters, and two extensive review essays. Her book, Gay Rights at the Ballot Box, was published earlier this year, portraying more than 200 anti-gay ballot campaigns in the U.S. since 1974. Stone also has co-chaired the Diversity Committee, mentored First Generation and Low Income Students, and served on the steering committee for the Collaborative for Learning and Teaching.