UIW Announces 2022-2023 Mission Continues Faculty Awards

January 13, 2023

Administration BuildingThe University of the Incarnate Word began the 2023 calendar year by announcing the annual Mission Continues Faculty Awards, sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the UIW Faculty Senate and University Mission and Ministry.

“The Mission Continues Awards recognize five faculty members who exemplify the core values of the mission—education, truth, faith, service, innovation,” shared Dr. Trey Guinn, vice president of the Faculty Senate. “Reading the heartwarming nominations that faculty submit on behalf of their colleagues is quite inspiring. The only thing sweeter is experiencing the joyous applause as winners are announced and brought to the front of the room to receive their award plaques and flower bouquets. Truly, it is a privilege to be at a university where faculty live the mission and celebrate one another for doing so.”

There are five Mission Continues Faculty Awards: Sr. Maria Goretti Zehr Award for Innovation, Sr. Eleanor Ann Young Award for Truth, Sr. Margaret Rose Palmer Award for Education, Mother Columkille Colbert Award for Service, and Sr. St. Pierre Cinquin Award for Faith. Additionally, the Bishop Claude Marie Dubuis Response to the Call Award honorees were announced.

Faculty members are nominated by their peers and must exhibit certain attributes or characteristics. Examples include being a faculty member who is a true teacher, has a genuine love for UIW and its Mission, and articulates the Mission to students, among others.

The Mission Continues Faculty Awards originated in 2003 during Heritage Week, an annual celebration of UIW’s Mission and history. The awards are a symbol of the congregational heritage of living the Mission values through teaching, scholarship and community service.


Dr. Diana AllisonDr. Diana Allison, associate professor and program coordinator for the School of Media and Design’s (SMD) Interior Design program, was honored with the Sr. Maria Goretti Zehr Award for Innovation. This accolade is awarded to the faculty member who is open to thoughtful innovation, which serves material and spiritual need.

Allison was nominated by Dr. Ann David, from the Dreeben School of Education (DSE). Her nomination stated, in part: “I had the privilege of sitting in the presentation Diana Allison’s students made for the redesign of the faculty lounge where Finnegan’s used to be. Their designs were unique, inviting, and beautiful. Their skill is a true credit to Diana’s leadership and mentorship. Her innovative approach to this authentic design challenge is an experience her students will remember forever.”


Dr. Lalon AlexanderThe Sr. Eleanor Ann Young Award for Truth, presented to Dr. Lalon Alexander, associate professor of Fashion Management in SMD, is awarded to the faculty member who searches for and seeks truth in scholarship and in the classroom.

Dr. Adam Watkins, SMD, said, in part, in his nomination form: “With a love for her students, Lalon Alexander is an entrepreneur always looking for new opportunities to empower her students. She has developed new classes in creativity, worked to design a new graduate degree, and been part of efforts to reorganize her department’s entire curriculum in line with changing market realities. Such search for truth in scholarship, and bringing this truth to students in a classroom situation, provides new ways of thinking and new opportunities for students in a rapidly evolving world.”


Dr. Deepti KharodDr. Deepti Kharod, assistant professor of Education in DSE, received the Sr. Margaret Rose Palmer Award for Education, awarded to the faculty member who engages students in the learning process.

Kharod was nominated by Dr. Ann David and Dr. Lucretia Fraga, DSE. Their nomination noted, in part: “Deepti Kharod makes every room she walks in a better, more generous space. Deepti is a consummate educator in her own classes, but she also educates others with her infectious love for creative teaching. She is an educator to students and faculty alike—reminding us all to be more empathetic and thoughtful in how we treat others—and, perhaps most importantly, to be playful and not to take ourselves too seriously at the same time.”


Dr. John StankusThe Mother Columkille Colbert Award for Service was awarded to Dr. John Stankus, professor of Physical Chemistry in the School of Mathematics, Science and Engineering (SMSE). The Mother Columkille Colbert Award for Service is awarded to the faculty member who embraces a global perspective and emphasizes social justice. To connect Sr. Columkille Colbert with service is very much like connecting wetness with water. Her life was service.

Stankus was nominated by Dr. Rachel Booth and Dr. Betsy Leverett, both faculty in SMSE. They shared of Dr, Stankus: “The dedication of John Stankus to our shared UIW Mission is reminiscent of Mother Columkille Colbert. Like Mother Colbert, John is a wholehearted volunteer with an aversion to the word “NO.” He has served the UIW community in countless ways during his time here. He is always first to lend a hand or lead an initiative for the betterment of our faculty, staff, and students.”


Dr. John KainerDr. John Kainer, assistant professor in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS), was honored with the Sr. St. Pierre Cinquin Award for Faith. This is awarded to the faculty member who is committed to educational excellence in the context of faith and fosters the values of the University.

Nominated by Dr. Brandon Metroka, CHASS, his submission said, in part: “John Kainer joined the UIW faculty in the fall of 2020 because he wanted the opportunity to explore the history, significance, and legacy of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition more openly. Among the classes he has created are Social Science and the Purpose of Life, and the Sociology of Food, two classes that address issues related to human dignity and justice. In every class, John seeks to form his students as whole persons, cultivating their sense of individuality and commonality simultaneously. He deeply embodies the faith behind the Mission.”

Bishop Claude Marie Dubuis Response to the Call Award

Dr. Emily Dow

Three young Sisters traveled halfway around the world to respond to Jesus’ call, as expressed in Bishop Dubuis’ words, “Our Lord, Jesus Christ, suffering in the persons of a multitude of the sick and infirm of every kind seeks relief at your hands.” The Sisters traveled as a group and collectively embodied the core values that allowed them to selflessly serve the poor, namely, education, truth, faith, service and innovation. This award honors those who also respond to the call.

Dr. Emily Dow (assistant professor in Kinesiology) and Dr. Stephanie Grote-Garcia (professor in DSE) were nominated by Dr. Ann David and the Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions Joy Committee for their efforts founding the Special Education Club at UIW. The two recipients’ nominators shared:Dr. Stephanie Grote-Garcia

“Grote-Garcia has made advocating for those with special needs and those who are neurodivergent central to her work at the University and in the community. He embodies the truth that the vulnerable are, too, God incarnate and worthy. Her particular passion for students and individuals with special needs makes our whole community stronger and more inclusive.”

“Dow is an inspiration to her students, peers and colleagues. By utilizing service learning within her courses, Emily has been able to effectively inspire her students to engage, advocate, and contribute to disabled individuals within different life stages. Her meaningful work encourages students to see beyond socially defined physical limitations and appreciate our unique individual talents which foster human dignity.”