Faculty Senate presents awards to Drs. Startzell and Walter

Posted: Friday, September 21, 2007

Keith A. Krolick, Ph.D., president of the Faculty Senate (middle), presents outstanding faculty awards to Christi Walter, Ph.D., and James M. Startzell, D.M.D., M.S.clear graphic
Keith A. Krolick, Ph.D., president of the Faculty Senate (middle), presents outstanding faculty awards to Christi Walter, Ph.D., and James M. Startzell, D.M.D., M.S. 

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The Faculty Senate of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio recently presented its annual Faculty Senate Leadership Award and -- for the first time -- an administrative leadership award.

James M. Startzell, D.M.D., M.S., interim chairman of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (O.M.S.) in the Dental School, received the faculty leadership award.

Christi Walter, Ph.D., interim chair of the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, received the senate’s first administrative leadership award.

“Some of our faculty members go out of their way to build bridges between the faculty and administration,” Keith A. Krolick, Ph.D., president of the Faculty Senate, said. “This is our opportunity to acknowledge those administrators and leaders who are very helpful to us,” said Krolick, who also is a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

Both took on additional duties as interim departmental chairs
Dr. Startzell, associate professor and director of graduate training, was nominated by Jim Burk, D.D.S., clinical associate professor in the Department of O.M.S.. Following a distinguished career in the Army, where he held strategic command positions and was recognized with many honors and awards, Dr. Startzell was presented with a new challenge when the department chairman, Dr. Stephen “Chuck” Milam, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. “Dr. Startzell’s leadership has enabled the department to continue functioning at the very highest level and to carry on in the direction that Dr. Milam had staked out before his illness,” Dr. Burk said.

“Without missing a beat or stepping away from the many committees that he serves on at the Dental School, University Hospital, San Antonio District Dental Society, state and national oral and maxillofacial surgery organizations or the teaching and clinic responsibilities, Dr. Startzell has been a ‘thread that runs so true’ for the O.M.S. department. With his leadership and willingness to share and serve, we have been able to carry out our mission…,” he said.

Dr. Walter “has been a model leader with contributions to all areas ― research, teaching and service ― and importantly, she has been particularly successful in the area of faculty development,” said her nominator, Ellen Kraig, Ph.D., distinguished teaching professor in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology.

While other interim faculty leaders might maintain the status quo, Dr. Walter developed a proactive, multifaceted approach to mentor 11 relatively new faculty members, Dr. Kraig said. In addition, “junior faculty members have competed successfully for NIH grants and several have gone up for promotion.”

Dr. Walter focused departmental efforts on the teaching of professional and graduate courses, initiated a review and upgrade of the gross anatomy teaching facilities and promoted the recognition of teaching faculty. “Suffice it to say, departmental morale is at an all-time high, again due entirely to Chris’ efforts,” Dr. Kraig said.

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