September 13, 2020
dr. kelly varga at podium

The UNT Dallas Faculty Alliance has its hands full each year whittling down an excellent group of candidates for its annual awards. With faculty growing each year, and the bar on exceptional work continually being raised, selecting the 2018-19 award winners was no easy task. Those winners were announced by Provost Betty Stewart during Thursday's Convocation ceremony.

Congratulations go to biology professor Dr. Kelly Varga, winner of the Faculty Alliance Award for Excellence in Service; criminal justice professor Dr. Paul Reynolds, winner in Excellence in Research; and economics professor Dr. Danielle Zanzalari, winner in Excellence in Teaching.

Here is a look at what set each professor apart:

Kelly Varga earned the Service award for her extensive social-justice endeavor of alleviating food insecurity in our surrounding campus communities. Through the creation of a mobile fresh produce market, her work aims to provide alternative healthy food options through partnership with local farmers and growers to generate viable options of local sustainability in addition to support for the farm-to-table movement. As part of this project’s mission, she has spent more than 200 hours in the community, engaging, surveying, listening and supporting concerns and ideas on a local and citywide level. Her belief is that by utilizing the intellectual capital of UNT Dallas through interdisciplinary collaboration, the mobile market program can engage faculty and students in solving local, community-centered issues. Her work is supported through a grant from Toyota in conjunction with partnership between DART and Cedar Valley Community College. Dr. Varga’s on campus efforts include serving as the advisor for both the Biology Club and the Tri Beta National Honors society, as well as numerous academic committees, including serving on the career-readiness council for the university’s accreditation.

Paul Reynolds took the Research award for his empirical research on police organizations and police officer work-related behaviors and attitudes. His current research focuses on aspects of how organizational treatment and employees' experiences shape their work-related attitudes and behaviors; particularly among police officers. His recent publications have appeared in the Police Quarterly, Criminal Justice Review, American Journal of Criminal Justice, and Criminology, Criminal Justice, Law & Society, International Journal of Police Science and Management, and Police Practice & Research: An International Journal. In the past two years. In the past two years, he has published seven articles and three book chapters

Danielle Zanzalari won the Teaching award because of the high energy and passion for economics she brings to the classroom. In Fall 2018, she taught 174 students in her four courses. She has not been afraid to change her courses to better suit students and has even offered a fully discussion-based course for advanced Macroeconomics. Students love the course and many claim it as “one of [their] favorite classes ever.”  In addition, she models her Money and Financial Institutions course on the “Fed Challenge,” where student teams from local colleges make recommendations about the economy to economists at the Federal Reserve. She brings in economists from Dallas area banks, federal research and consulting groups to evaluate their final presentations. The best group paper competes with the selected proposal from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. The proposals are judged by seasoned economists that have worked at the Council of Economic Advisors and the Federal Reserve. Our UNT Dallas students are currently 2-0 in this competition. Dr. Zanzalari was awarded a grant to bring in speakers to discuss “why cities are important for economic growth and why Dallas, in particular, is a great market for students.” She also serves as Advisor of the Personal Finance and Investment Club for students.

Congratulations to all, and here's to a great 2019-20 academic year.