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Faculty Senate presents annual leadership awards

Posted on Friday, September 21, 2012 · Volume: XLV · Issue: 19

David Morilak, Ph.D., (right) receives the Faculty Leadership Award from his nominator, Jason O
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David Morilak, Ph.D., (right) receives the Faculty Leadership Award from his nominator, Jason O'Connor, Ph.D. Both work in the Department of Pharmacology.clear graphic

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Rosanne Fohn

The Faculty Senate presented its annual leadership awards Sept.12. The Faculty Leadership Award was presented to David Morilak, Ph.D., and Carol Reineck, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, CENP, was presented the Administration Leadership Award.

Dr. Morilak is a professor of pharmacology, with a cross-appointment in the Department of Psychiatry. He also directs the Center for Biomedical Neuroscience.

Dr. Reineck is chair and professor of the Department of Health Restoration & Care Systems Management in the School of Nursing and the McNutt Endowed Professor in honor of nurses of the armed forces.

The Faculty Leadership Award
The Faculty Leadership Award is presented to a faculty member whose contributions and achievements lead to significant transformative or strategic improvements in the teaching, service or research missions of the university.

He was nominated by Jason O'Connor, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacology, who accepted the award on Dr. Morilak’s behalf because the professor was making a presentation at the Tenth International Catecholamine Society Conference.

“David Morilak joined the UT Health Science Center faculty in 1994 as an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology, during which time he has an excellent publication, funding, service and mentoring record,” Dr. O’Connor wrote in his nomination letter. “However, it is what David ‘brings to the table’ beyond his individual career successes that distinguish him as a faculty leader who should be held as an example for others to emulate.”

“In 2009, Dr. Morilak was the principle investigator on a $1 million National Institutes of Health P30 Center Grant titled ‘Enhancing Translational Mood Disorders Research at UTHSCA.’ Interestingly, Dr. Morilak did not receive any of these funds for his own research endeavors; rather, they were used to recruit and provide startup packages for two new assistant professors to the Health Science Center, one clinical and one basic science researcher. I was the benefactor of the basic science position that was created because of Dr. Morilak’s vision and initiative,” Dr. O’Connor said.

Dr. Morilak’s commitment to advance translational research is evident by his organizing bimonthly meetings of the Mood Disorders and Translational Research Center for junior and senior faculty members in the departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology. This spring, members of the center submitted five joint proposals for pilot projects to the Institute for the Integration of Medicine and Science/Clinical Translational Science Award.

He has mentored dozens of undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral trainees, as well as junior faculty. An administrative staff member in his department said that he emphasizes that everyone work together as a team toward a common goal to enhance the department.

“I cannot think of a faculty member more deserving than David Morilak for the 2012 Faculty Senate Leadership Award,” Dr. O’Connor said. “His leadership has contributed to the excellence of his own laboratory, the Department of Pharmacology, the Neuroscience Program and the institution as a whole.”

Carol Reineck, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, CENP, (center) receives the Administration Leadership Award. Presenting the award are Rajeshwar R. Tekmal, Ph.D., (left) former chair of the Faculty Senate, and her nominator Mickey Parsons, Ph.D., RN, M.H.A., FAAN.
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Carol Reineck, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, CENP, (center) receives the Administration Leadership Award. Presenting the award are Rajeshwar R. Tekmal, Ph.D., (left) former chair of the Faculty Senate, and her nominator Mickey Parsons, Ph.D., RN, M.H.A., FAAN. clear graphic


Administrative Leadership Award
The Administrative Leadership Award recognizes a senior administrator and emphasizes excellent leadership and management skills that support or promote the Health Science Center faculty.

Mickey Parsons, Ph.D., RN, M.H.A., FAAN, nominated Dr. Reineck for this award. She said, “It’s not often in a lifetime that you have the opportunity to work with someone who has had two profoundly successful careers.”

After a 31-year Army career, Dr. Reineck retired as a colonel and chief nurse executive of the U.S. Army Medical Command worldwide. “In this position, she provided oversight for 36 hospitals, schools, labs and centers worldwide, as well as 4,500 military and civilian registered nurses dispersed in Army medical treatment facilities throughout the entire world,” said Dr. Parsons, professor of health restoration and care systems management.

Dr. Reineck has been a faculty member at the Health Science Center for 11 years. During this time she also has served as a national health care leader. She was national treasurer of the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE), and served as its representative to the Joint Commission and the American Hospital Association.

Dr. Reineck joined the Health Science Center in 2001 as an assistant professor. She was tapped to become an interim department chair in 2004, then was promoted to chair of the Department of Acute Nursing Care in 2007, which eventually became the Department of Health Restoration & Care Systems Management.

“One of her most difficult assignments was playing a key part in the restructuring the SON from three departments to two and participating in the redesign of the entire SON curriculum, all while continuing with a demanding departmental administrative role,” Dr. Parsons said. During the restructuring of the school, Dr. Reineck carefully evaluated each faculty member’s fit in the two new departments, adjusting operating budgets, teaching assignments and communicating the process of the change regularly to faculty. “She is a master of planned change,” Dr. Parsons said.

She is an advocate for communication and faculty development, initiating a Promotion & Tenure Workshop each December at the department level to prepare faculty for the process, and then recognizes those who are promoted or receive tenure with a professional poster featuring their biography and photos.

Another pro-faculty procedure, Dr. Parsons said, is that “Dr. Reineck invites and collects teaching assignment preferences and publishes them one year at a time so that faculty members have a preview of their workload and can discuss needed changes.”

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