Faculty Honored for Achievement in Scholarship, Teaching, and Service During University’s 2015 Commencement Ceremony

Honorees include Emmanuel Onaivi, professor of biology, Hilary Wilder, professor of educational leadership and professional studies, and Nancy Weiner, reference librarian and assistant director of the Cheng Library

Emmanuel Onaivi, professor of biology, Hilary Wilder, professor of educational leadership and professional studies, and Nancy Weiner, reference librarian and assistant director of the Cheng Library, were honored for their outstanding achievements in scholarship/creative expression, teaching, and service, respectively, as the recipients of the 2014-15 Faculty Excellence Awards.

The three honorees were recognized by Provost Warren Sandmann during the University’s 2015 Commencement ceremony on May 13 at the Prudential Center in Newark. The awards were instituted in 2004 to recognize faculty achievement and contributions as the University celebrates the success of students at their graduation.

Onaivi, who was honored for scholarship/creative expression, is a neurobiologist and pharmacist whose research has received national and international acclaim.  His work, currently funded by a three-year, $350,000 grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, is focused on the behavioral effects of specific cell membrane receptors in the brain called CB2 cannabinoids. The project seeks deeper insight into potential therapeutic drugs for pain, autoimmune, mental, and neurodegenerative disorders. Onaivi has authored more than two hundred papers and abstracts and several books chapters, edited three books, and co-authored a laboratory manual for biology students in the Applied Anatomy and Physiology course.  Most recently, he and the University filed for a patent based on his research, which would mark the first patent for the institution. Onaivi is a guest scientist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, and is an honorary professor of the School of Pharmacy at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, where he lectured and conducted research as a Fulbright Scholar for the 2013-14 academic year.

Wilder, who was honored for teaching, is dedicated to advancing the use of technology for education.  The recipient of a prestigious Fulbright Scholar Award in 2010, Wilder lectured and conducted research at the University of Namibia in Africa, where she helped to develop a master’s degree program in educational technology at the university, which is Namibia’s only comprehensive four-year institution of higher education. Her efforts led a memorandum of understanding between William Paterson University and the University of Namibia for continuing collaboration. She has been named to the Fulbright Specialist Roster for 2013-18, making her eligible for short-term international collaborations in her area of expertise.  Wilder has worked extensively with the Paterson School District and schools in other communities to facilitate learning opportunities that provide collaborations with students in other countries via technology.  The author of numerous articles, presentations, and book chapters, she is the co-editor, with Sharmila Pixy Ferris, professor of communication, of The Plugged-In Professor: Tips and Techniques for Teaching with Social Media. She has also developed and revised numerous courses for online delivery, and serves as coordinator of master of education program in learning technologies.  

Weiner, who was honored for service, has demonstrated a deep commitment to serving the University community In her role as assistant director for access and information services and coordinator of user education at William Paterson’s Cheng Library, she has led efforts to enhance the planning, delivery, and assessment of information and research services. On a University-wide level, she has been involved in the development of the general education program, and serves on the University Core Curriculum Council and the Technology Across the curriculum Committee, among numerous other councils and committees. Weiner has been a leader at all levels in the New Jersey Library Association (NJLA), including her current role as president of the College and University Section of the organization, which is also the New Jersey chapter of the national association.  On the national level, she is currently secretary of the Chapters council of the Association of College and Research Libraries of the American Library Association.  She is the author of numerous publications and professional presentations.

Each honoree received a plaque, a citation, and a $1,000 award for professional development activities such as research assistance, conference attendance, training and travel.