The College of Arts and Sciences is excited to announce that Dr. Gary Lee Malecha, professor of Political Science, has taken up his new position as interim dean.
Dr. Malecha, who has been at the University of Portland since 1992, has served on numerous committees at the University, most recently leading the University Ad Hoc Committee on Mental Health in 2016. He provided leadership as chair of the Political Science Department for many years, currently serves as the faculty athletics representative to the NCAA, and has served in many more leadership roles throughout his time at UP. Dr. Malecha is an expert in the area of American politics, teaching courses on U.S. Congress, the U.S. Presidency, public policy, and the politics of food. He was awarded the University’s highest honor for faculty, the James Culligan Award, in 1999 (University of Portland News).
Dr. Malecha agreed to serve the University in this capacity for one year to allow for a national search for the new dean of College of Arts and Sciences.
The Becky Houck Award for Excellence in Advising presented to Dr. Martin Monto at All-College Celebration, February 24, 2016
“This annual Award is named in honor of our beloved CAS faculty colleague, Becky Houck. The Award honors and recognizes an individual who has committed a large part of his or her faculty work to mentoring and advising students — something that doesn’t typically show up on a vitae. Like past recipients, this year’s award winner exemplifies Becky’s indefatigable spirit and love for helping prepare undergraduate students to live a life of integrity, compassion, and service. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Martin Monto of the Sociology Department as this year’s Becky Houck Award recipient.
Several former students note:
“Dr. Monto helps students find direction and often assists them to creatively pursue double majors or to customize their programs to individual goals and interests. “
“His creativity in advising serves the mission of the University in developing the whole person, which is only successful if we take the time to learn their individual goals and needs. In this regard, Dr. Monto is a rock star.”
“I transferred into the major late from Engineering. Not only did Dr. Monto help me to draw up a plan of classes to help me graduate on time, he also made it possible for me to add a minor in Education and take extra classes my senior year! After I graduated, my sister (then a sophomore at UP) was having difficulty scheduling classes without much assistance from her assigned advisor. All it took was a single email to Dr. Monto and he immediately took my sister under his supervision as an academic advisor. Professor Monto eased much of my sister’s stress and she actually graduated on time.”
Over the last many years Martin has been a long-term mentor on advising issues for other faculty members in his own department, in CAS, and across the university. Here are several peer comments:
“I regularly discuss advising issues with Monto and routinely solicit his advice on how to best help and mentor students during advising sessions. . . . I have worked with him to become a better advisor using methods that he has developed over the past two decades.”
“Several years ago, Martin served on the College’s first Advising Consortium. As a member of the consortium, he took an active role in building the initial advising website for the College of Arts and Sciences. He also helped to design and lead an early session focused on advising at the University of Portland on Faculty Development Day. “Dr. Monto has spearheaded several surveys of graduating seniors, each time taking the data received seriously and implementing changes [to the major that would] that help students improve internship experiences and better prepare them for graduate studies.
Martin has been a faculty model in helping further develop the advisor’s role from “course scheduler” to “mentor” or even “life coach.” In his role as mentor to undergraduates, Martin’s good influence reaches beyond simple scheduling and career advice, as he has also sponsored undergraduate research, even publishing an award-winning article with a former student, for which he received the Hugo Beigel Award for Scholarly Excellence for the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality.
An extension of Martin’s advising / mentoring role to students is clearly evident in his taking the lead on the Green Dot initiative, a university-wide mentoring effort to educate students about violence. Through traditional and non-traditional advising, Martin’s efforts as a respected faculty advisor to students inspires students to live the kind of life of service to one another that represents the highest goal of the College’s educational mission.
I am very pleased to present this year’s 2016 Becky Houck Award for Excellence in Advising to Dr. Martin Monto.”
-Dean Micheal F. Andrews
University of Portland’s biology professor Elinor Sullivan won a federal grant worth almost $4 million to conduct research at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. Her research concerns the link between maternal obesity and a high-fat diet on the brain development and mental health of primates. For more information on Professor Sullivan’s grant and research, please click here.
Laura McLary, professor of German at the University of Portland, was named Oregon Professor of the Year by the national Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the international Council for the Advancement and Support of Education on Thursday, Nov. 19.
The award committee cited McLary’s innovation and dedication to teaching international languages, highlighting her leadership in growth of the University’s German language program.
University president Fr. Mark L. Poorman, C.S.C., noted, “This is a wonderful recognition of Professor McLary’s distinguished work as a scholar, teacher and promoter of global education. Laura has built a strong and thriving major that has continued to grow steadily at the University of Portland. She has also been instrumental in creating an effective mentoring program that has led to numerous Fulbright awards for UP students and graduates. We are so proud that Laura has been awarded Oregon Professor of the Year, and we look forward to celebrating this accomplishment with her.”
Previous UP professors who have been recognized by the national organization include Kate Regan, who was named National Professor of the Year; Becky Houck, Terry Favero and Karen Eifler, who were all named Oregon Professor of the Year.
“Teaching for me always starts with my students,” says McLary. “My German program’s flexible framework allows for a rich diversity of content topics and student interests, in tandem with a scaffold approach to supporting students’ development of language and cultural proficiency.”
McLary says her role as an effective professor is highly valued at UP, where “our primary focus as teachers is always student learning and formation.”
“I am very happy teaching in an environment that puts students first. And working with our students is a daily joy for me.”
Most of McLary’s students participate in the University’s study-abroad program in Salzburg, Austria, where she studied as an undergraduate student.
“I have allowed the strong connection to Salzburg to serve as a cultural underpinning in my courses, tapping into students’ experiences abroad and anticipating the experiences of students before they depart,” she says.
Scott Knackstedt is among the many UP alumni who were encouraged by McLary to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship. He was one of only 18, and the only American, to be offered a Fulbright in Austria in 2006-07. The experience opened up new opportunities for Knackstedt, who has worked as a consultant in international governmental affairs since 2009.
“I would not be in the position I am in today without Dr. McLary’s support,” Knackstedt said. “Dr. Laura McLary is someone who continues to reach out to her students, witness their potential, and bring out the best in each of them.”
Katy Caldwell, another former student, said “Dr. McLary has the rare ability to make her students feel comfortable and challenged at the same time. She accomplishes this by making every student feel valued as an individual learner.”
“Dr. McLary is an extraordinary German professor, but her University-wide leadership regarding global and intercultural competency is also widely recognized and greatly appreciated,” stated Thomas Greene, University provost. “She leads a collaborative group of faculty and staff who collectively are advancing opportunities for students to develop and hone the skills and attitudes for global competence. Her boundless energy and contagious passion are among the many attributes making her a great colleague.”
McLary expressed her gratitude for her current and former students who “inspire me on a daily basis.” She adds that she is indebted to her UP colleagues “who are a constant source of support.”
“Professionally, I am glad that this award will bring attention to the strong culture of teaching we cultivate here at the University of Portland,” she said. “I am especially delighted that it will bring attention to the way those of us in German studies in the USA bring creativity to our teaching, making it a fully relevant area of study for university students to support their development as literate and articulate global citizens.”
McLary has taught German at UP since 1999 and served as the chair of the International Languages and Cultures program from 2004-07. Prior to coming to UP, she was a professor of German at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., for three years. She earned both a Ph.D. and master’s degree in German language and literature from University of Massachusetts Amherst. She earned a bachelor’s degree in German and international studies from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
As a high school student in Ohio, she decided to study German because she wanted to “gain access to the rest of the world.” Her passion for German studies developed as an undergraduate in college, studying abroad in Salzburg, Austria.
“I fell in love with the ambiguities of the culture, especially its strong literary and arts tradition.”
The University of Portland is an independently governed Catholic university guided by the Congregation of Holy Cross. U.S. News & World Report ranks the institution as one of the top ten regional universities in the American West. It is the only school in Oregon to offer a College of Arts & Sciences, a graduate school, and nationally accredited programs in the schools of business, education, engineering, and nursing.
— Story from University of Portland Media Relations by: John Furey