Office of the Provost

Distinguished University Lecturer


Appointment to the rank of a Distinguished University Lecturer is the highest permanent honor the University of Toledo can bestow on a Lecturer. Those named Distinguished University Lecturer have earned recognition and distinction as educators, advancing student learning, facilitating and supporting student success, and demonstrating a commitment to the University's educational mission. The duration of the appointment as a Distinguished University Lecturer is unlimited and the title may be retained even after a lecturer has retired from the University.

Click here for the Distinguished University Lecturer Nomination Guidelines

Joseph Hara

HaraJoseph Hara, Th.D.
College of Arts and Letters
Department of Foreign Languages

Dr. Joseph Hara has taught at The University of Toledo since 1987, first as a Japanese instructor and then as a lecturer. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Japanese Program in the Department of Foreign Languages in the College of Arts and Letters, as well as Director of the Japanese Program. Singlehandedly, Dr. Hara developed a minor degree program in Japanese, now the second highest enrolled Japanese program in the state of Ohio, following The Ohio State University. One of his nominators notes that the "quality of students in the Japanese program is met with quality, proven again recently when two UT students placed 1st and 2nd in the state speech contest."Dr. Hara is legendary in the College of Arts and Letters for teaching far more classes each semester than he is contracted to do and offering a significant number of independent studies to ensure that his students complete their course work and their minor degree programs, as well as teaching, advising, and mentoring students in the Asian Studies Program. He is also well known for taking students to Japan each summer for study abroad cultural and language immersion, as well as developing exchange programs with Japanese universities, including Aichi University. His teaching philosophy attests to his commitment: "The Japanese word 'Education'—is the base of my teaching philosophy. This particular word is comprised of two characters: passing knowledge to others and helping them to grow." Dr. Hara received the University Outstanding Teaching Award in 2002. He also serves as liaison for the Japanese Consulate in Detroit and as the President of the Japanese-American Association, and he has received thirteen annual grants from the Japanese government to support the Japanese School of Toledo, which he founded. Hara was appointed a Distinguished University Lecturer in 2017.

Teresa Keefe


Ms. Teresa Keefe
College of Business and Innovation
Department of Information, Operations and Technology Management

Teresa Keefe is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Information Operations and Technology Management in the College of Business and Innovation. Ms Keefe has been teaching at U.T. since 2004, continuously developing new and innovative courses, incorporating new technologies, and providing active learning experiences for her students, including flipped classes and service learning, all contributing to student retention and graduation rates. One of her nominators also comments on the work she has done in building and updating undergraduate programs in information systems, including adding two minors. She is also faculty adviser to the Association for Information Technology Professionals and tirelessly mentors students, including those preparing for internships and for the Ball State Information Systems Case Competition, where they have received at least one prize every year.  In addition to her enviable teaching evaluations, the many nominators, recommenders, and endorsers for this award give her high praise and, and former students, now U.T. graduates working professionally, explain the impact she has had on their lives. Keefe has served on many departmental, college, and university committees and panels, including accreditation, diversity, and faculty development, as well as working in the community, for example, serving on the Board of Directors of the Community Credit Counseling Services and as an unpaid consultant to Owens-Illinois, working with their IT training and development manager and project management office in a variety of roles, including team member for a number of Lean Six Sigma Greenbelt Projects. Keefe was appointed a Distinguished University Lecturer in 2017.

Dr. Susanne Nonekowski

Dr. Susanne NonekowskiNonekowski
College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Department of Medicinal and Biological Chemistry

Dr. Nonekowski has held a variety of teaching positions at the University of Toledo since 2001 and is currently an Associate Lecturer in the Department of Medicinal and Biological Chemistry in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, teaching courses in four different degree programs. As one of her nominators notes, Dr. Nonekowski is "often the earliest adopter of active learning methods such as 'clickers' and Blackboard chat rooms," adding that she "has embraced assessment," winning an Assessment Award in the College in 2014 and mentoring other faculty who are incorporating assessment in their courses. She also received an Innovations in Teaching Award in 2015 to add active learning in one of her courses, and she was nominated for a University Outstanding Teaching Award in 2010.  Dr. Nonekowski's stellar teaching evaluations include multiple versions of student comments such as "Dr. Nonekowski is an amazing teacher"; "By far she was the best instructor I ever had";  "She lectured with enthusiasm"; "It is clear that the instructor really knows her stuff and her passion and understanding for the material had a great impact on my learning"; and "As usual, Dr. N knocked it out of the park as a teacher." Her many letters of support from alumni confirm and add to these accolades. In addition, Dr. Nonekowski has participated in numerous faculty development opportunities, served on many departmental, college and university committees, and actively engaged with the community, for example, receiving the Order of the Spark Award from the Boy Scouts of American, Eastern Shores Council, in 2016. She also served the President of the Northwest Ohio Chapter of the Association of Women in Science in 2016-2017.  Nonekowski was appointed a Distinguished University Lecturer in 2017.

 Amy O’Donnell

Amy O’Donnell O'Donnell
College of Business and Innovation
Department of Management

Amy O’Donnell is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Management in the College of Business and Innovation. She joined The University of Toledo as a Lecturer in 2004 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2015. Her extraordinary commitment to students has been rewarded with teaching evaluations that are among the very best in the College, and she received a University of Toledo Shining Star Award in 2015, a Student Impact Award in 2012, and a College of Business and Innovation award as an outstanding lecturer in 2007 and 2013. She has developed new courses and programs, facilitated student success initiatives, supported the Business Career Programs Office, and served as faculty adviser to the UT Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity. In addition, she has established an exemplary record of campus, community, and professional contributions, including holding leadership roles, and she has actively engaged in professional development, presenting at 19 regional conferences. One of her students noted that “Amy O’Donnell has changed my life and the life of almost every kid in our college because of the things she does both in and out of the classroom with her students. She is the most engaged professor you’ll ever meet and she will impact your life for life! Just ask any student in this college you will hear the same thing!” O’Donnell was appointed a Distinguished University Lecturer in 2018.   

 Sherry Tripepi

TripepiSherry Tripepi
Associate Lecturer, School of Social Justice
College of Health and Human Services

Sherry Tripepi joined the University of Toledo as a clinical social worker in the Counseling Center in 1997 and served in that capacity for 10 ten years before her appointment as a visiting assistant professor in 2007 and as a Lecturer in 2010 in the Social Work Program in the College of Health and Human Services. She was promoted to Associate Lecturer in 2013. She has had a direct impact on the lives and careers of students, both in the classroom and in internships—and beyond graduation, including weekly supervision groups for Master of Social Work graduates, enabling over 20 to achieve advanced licensure. Notably, she has also developed a course on social work practice with the LGBTQA population, serves on the UT LGBTQA Advisory Board, and has been instrumental in developing and implementing campus-wide training programs, such as the Safe Place Program at UT.Her tireless commitment also extends to her profession and to the community, including the Safe-Schools Anti-Bullying program at area schools, the Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization, Equality Toledo, and the Lucas County Suicide Prevention Coalition, among many others. For her dedication and excellence, she has not only received excellent student evaluations, but also a number of awards, for example, the Robert Brundage Award, the Equality Award, the NWSA Ohio Chapter Outstanding Service Award, the Lavender Triangle Mary Reiff Woman of the Year, and the UT Division of Student Life Outstanding Service to Stu

 Sara Yaklin

Sara YaklinYaklin
Senior Lecturer, Department of English
College of Arts and Letters

Sara Yaklin joined the University of Toledo in 2001 as a Lecturer in the Department of English in the College of Arts and Letters and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2009. Her dedicated contributions to student success are extensive. For example, in addition to her leadership in developing on-line composition courses, she was one of two faculty members selected to teach in the Multicultural Emerging Scholars Summer Bridge Program and has actively contributed to its design, assessment, and success. She also received an Innovations in Teaching Award for a community-partner pilot program, and, in 2015, with her colleague, conceived of, developed, and now co-directs the innovative Composition Institute for Teaching Excellence (CITE), focused on evidence-based teaching practices for first-year composition students that has improved instruction, developed opportunities for writing teachers, and contributed to course completion. She continues to mentor new graduate teaching assistants and to participate in events designed to support and celebrate student success, such as the Common Read Program and the Shapiro Endowment awards and scholarships for student writing. Ms. Yaklin has also presented at the Multicultural Orientation and Resources for Excellence (MORE) Institute, serves as a professional writing consultant at UT and Owens Community College, and provides local consulting services. Notably, her student evaluations score in the "A" range on every question on an A-E scale. Yaklin was appointed a Distinguished University Lecturer in 2018.

Distinguished University Lecturer Nomination Guidelines

Eligibility: Faculty who hold the rank of Assistant, Associate, or Senior Lecturer 

Deadline for Submissions:  Friday, January 18, 2019

Send all nominations and accompanying materials electronically to Ms. Camila Taormina, Executive Assistant to the Provost Office at


1. Candidates may be nominated by faculty, department chairs, or program directors. Self- nominations will not be accepted.

2. Nominations, which should be forwarded by the nominator (not the candidate), must consist of:

a. A cover letter of no more than 500 words from the nominator that summarizes why the candidate should be considered for an appointment as a Distinguished University Lecture

b. Curriculum vitae of the candidate.

c. Statement describing the Teaching Philosophy of the candidate.

d. Evidence of teaching excellence:

i. Summaries of student teaching evaluations.

ii. Summaries of peer evaluations of teaching, if applicable.

iii. Listing of teaching, student service, or student impact awards.

iv. Evidence of creativity, such as development of new courses and/or innovative teaching and/or assessment of student learning methods.

v. Evidence of other exemplary teaching activities.

vi. Evidence of having made a difference in the lives and careers of students.

vii. Participation in professional development workshops, webinars, certificate programs, trainings, and/or disciplinary and teaching conferences and meetings, if applicable.

viii. Committee memberships or offices held in professional and pedagogical organizations, if applicable.

ix. Exemplary community engagement as demonstrated through contributions of professional expertise as an educator to curricular engagement, outreach, or partnership with local, regional/state, national, and/or global communities, if applicable.

x. Evidence of the collaborative exchange of ideas with colleagues and members of the academic community in a common effort to serve the needs of students and the educational goals of the University, if applicable.

Last Updated: 12/4/18