Faculty Notes

Dr. Miriam C. Purnell, a UMES School of Pharmacy professor, is among 17 University System of Maryland peers to be recognized by the Board of Regents as a 2022 faculty award winner.

The awards are the highest honor presented to exemplary faculty members by the governing board. They honor excellence in: teaching; mentoring; public service; research, scholarship, or creative activity; and innovation.

Purnell was singled out for her efforts as a mentor.

“Being awarded this honor,” Purnell said, “is truly humbling because I am surrounded by excellent mentoring role models at UMES.”

The regents noted “Dr. Purnell’s commitment to mentorship goes well above academic advising. She develops and maintains strong relationships with students throughout their academic careers and beyond, from engaging in regular meetings to actively reaching out to students demonstrating signs of struggle.”

A committee of faculty peers makes recommendations to each institution’s president, who reviews nominations and supporting material and forwards recommendations to system Chancellor Jay A. Perman.  The regents’ Faculty Review Committee makes the final recommendations.

The citation summarizing Purnell’s role as a mentor noted “her approach … includes counseling on communication and interpersonal issues; seeking feedback from faculty; encouraging student organization participation; linking students with professional role models; encouraging students who ‘stop out’ from their studies to seek employment as pharmacy technicians; and mentoring junior faculty.”

Perman and regents’ Chair Linda Gooden will recognize the winners April 29 at Towson University, where the full board will convene for a scheduled meeting.

“It is a pleasure every year to recognize these outstanding faculty members,” Gooden said. “I am especially grateful for their dedication throughout the many phases of the pandemic and pleased we can plan to recognize them in person, thanks to the work our campuses have done to keep their communities safe.”

Purnell, who joined the UMES faculty in June 2009, is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration.

“Throughout my life, I have had people encourage me to become the best version of myself,” Purnell said. “I am privileged to work in a profession and at a university that allows me to do the same for others.” 

She is the founding adviser for the campus chapter of the Christian Pharmacist Fellowship International (in 2010) and has served in that capacity since then.

“When mentoring others,” she said, “I believe in ‘speaking the truth in love’ (Ephesians 4:15), which means that it may not always be what someone wants to hear but it is honest, it is intended to help them, and it is spoken with kindness and grace.”.

The regents’ announcement noted “Dr. Purnell’s mentees have earned placement in competitive residency programs, established professional careers, and are now impacting others. Her mentoring has proven critical to achieve UMES’ mission of increasing recruitment, retention, and graduation.”

Each award carries a $2,000 prize provided by the institutions and the University System of Maryland Foundation.


Two University of Maryland Eastern Shore professors are among 16 peer educators across the state being honored by the University System of Maryland as recipients of the 2021 Board of Regents’ Faculty Awards. The awards are the highest honor the system’s governing board bestows upon faculty members. Honorees exemplify excellence in five categories: Public Service; Scholarship, Research or Creative Activity; Mentoring; Teaching; and Innovation.

Dr. Kausik DasAssociate Professor of Physics in the Department of Natural Sciences, was recognized in the category of Scholarship, Research or Creative Activity.

Dr. Das joined the UMES faculty in February 2014. He has secured $1.4 million in extramural funding and is known for involving undergraduate students–many from underrepresented minority groups–in his research, writing, and presentations.  His research includes work on nano fluidics (study of manipulating fluids in extremely small spaces), efforts to create on-chip graphene-based nano-inductors, and work on light-activated resistive switches. In collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and assisted by students, he built a payload that flew a zero-gravity parabolic flight to collect data that will be valuable in future space missions.  

Dr. Hoai-An TruongProfessor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration, was recognized in the category for Public Service.

Dr. Truong joined the UMES faculty in June 2012 and “has worked as a Fellow at the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, acting as on outreach ambassador. At the state level, he serves on Governor Hogan’s Advisory Committee on Minority Health.  At the national level, he has chaired committees for the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and American Public Health Association.  Internationally, he has created opportunities for his students to provide care for patients in Haiti, Vietnam, and South Africa.” 


Past Recipients:


Dr. Cynthia Gill named “Excellence in Teaching” award winner

Dr. Cynthia H. Gill, an associate professor in UMES’ Department of Physical Therapy, will receive an “Excellence in Teaching” award this spring from the University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents. 

The governing board will salute 17 honorees from nine of the system’s 12 institutions with 2020 USM Regents’ Faculty Awards during a ceremony at Bowie State University May 1. 

“It’s very humbling and gratifying to be recognized for something … I take very seriously and am continuously attempting to improve upon – and have spent the majority of my professional life doing,” Gill said. 

Gill joined UMES’ faculty in 1993, when the last group of UMES graduates at the time could only earn a bachelor’s degree and the curriculum was transitioning to graduate-level instruction. Today, UMES offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree to meet professional standards of practice. 

“Teaching appeals to me … because of the gratification I feel when a student experiences the ‘ah-ha’ moment,” Gill said. “I believe teaching healthcare professionals is very important because I assume what and how well they learn will impact their future patients.” 


Dr. Salina Parveen, Excellence in Scholarship, Research, or Creative Activity


Dr. Paulinus Chigbu, Excellence in Mentoring


Dr. Arthur L. Allen, Excellence in Scholarship, Research, or Creative Activity

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