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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Media Contact: Jan Wenzel, 874-2116

URI Foundation presents its
2003 Excellence Awards

KINGSTON, R.I. -- September 8, 2003 -- Each year at the University of Rhode Island’s Convocation, the URI Foundation recognizes four outstanding members of the URI community for their excellence. This year’s excellence award winners will be presented with a citation and a check for $1,000 during convocation exercises on September 10.

The recipients are invited to march in URI’s commencement ceremony next May, walking with officials and dignitaries representing excellence within the URI community.

Recipients of the 2003 URI Foundation Excellence Award are:

Administrative Excellence Award: Mary Fetherston’s official title is supervisor of the Language Laboratory. Unofficially, that means the Wakefield resident helps students, faculty, and staff navigate the world of technology that is sometimes Greek to them.

Let’s face it, technological support can be unsupportive at the most inopportune times: when the sound on a projector doesn’t work, when a student’s final draft disappears on the screen, or when the satellite transmission gets interrupted during an exam.

And then along comes Mary. Calm, competent and cheery, she quickly finds the solution and it’s smooth sailing once again.

It’s not just what Fetherston does inside her job description, but what she does outside of it—managing the multimedia assets and the Classroom Media Assistance Center--that brings accolades from Independence Hall residents. And if it’s past working hours, she encourages faculty to call her at home if they need help.

For being equally adept at dealing with complex machines as she is with people Mary Fetherston was awarded the 2003 URI Foundation Administrative Excellence Award.

Scholarly Excellence Award: Although Joe Rossi burns with intellectual enthusiasm, the Wakefield resident always lathers up with sunscreen before going outdoors. A consummate researcher since his arrival at URI in 1980 as a doctoral candidate, Rossi has shed more than a little light on the damaging effects of sun exposure and other risk behaviors.

As a co-developer of the transtheoretical model of behavior change, he has been a building block of URI’s Cancer Prevention Research Center.

His research combines statistical brilliance with theoretical ingenuity, resulting in practical health benefits. The URI psychologist has not only helped revolutionize the way behavior gets viewed, but how it gets intervened upon.

Rossi has been the principal or co-principal investigator on more than $50-million in externally funded research and is one of the top 12 most cited authors in psychology. And he stills find time to sleep!

For helping his alma mater become an international leader in health promotion and disease prevention, Joe Rossi was presented with the URI Foundation 2003 Scholarly Excellence Award.

Staff Excellence Award: Saying Mary Pinch is a clerk typist is like saying Mother Theresa was a nun. It’s a gross understatement.

The Exeter resident is not only the calm, cool head of the Charles Schmidt Labor Research Center, she is its heart. When the center’s former director lost his battle with cancer, Pinch consoled the faculty and encouraged the students while also attending to the everyday needs of the center.

This single mother of two teen-agers has recruited many potential out-of-state students simply by sharing her own enthusiasm for the program. Once they arrive at URI, the students quickly learn they have a home away from home as well as a confidant and a friend in Mary Pinch…someone who will not only listen to them, but prod them if needed.

Faculty in the multi-disciplinary program praise Pinch’s efficiency, professionalism, and her remarkable ability to monitor research budgets, run conference registration and order books simultaneously.

For making her work a true labor of love, Mary Pinch was awarded the Staff Excellence Award.

Teaching Excellence Award: Musa Jouaneh knows a lot about robots and students. But the Wakefield resident never confuses the two. His classroom discussions are both lively and challenging. With the goal of preparing students for the "real world" of industry, Jouaneh combines mechanical engineering theory with the most current practices, often bringing hands-on models into the classroom.

His students agree that their professor has mastered the fine art of assigning work just above their current capability. But they also come to realize that when they are able to reach beyond their grasp, they grow both as students and as engineers.

A dedicated teacher, advisor and mentor in and out of the classroom. Jouaneh has an office door that is always open for students seeking help, suggestions, or encouragement.

Not one to rest on his teaching laurels, Jouaneh often asks his students for candid feedback and even prepares his own evaluations with blunt, detailed questions.

For not just teaching students, but for enlightening them, Musa Jouaneh was awarded the 2003 Teaching Excellence Award.


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Page last revised Wednesday, September 10, 2003 .