James Lubker, interim UNI provost and vice president for academic affairs, (319) 273-2517
Richard Utz, UNI professor of English language and literature, (319) 273-3879
Vicki Grimes, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-6728
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Richard Utz, professor of English at the University of Northern Iowa, has received the Philip G. Hubbard Award for Outstanding Education, given to recognize outstanding contributions to teaching, scholarship and service. He will be among UNI faculty recognized Saturday, Nov. 4, during halftime of the UNI vs. Western Kentucky University football game. [See related story this date.]
The award includes an $18,000 stipend. It was created by Joseph A. Walder, founder of Integrated DNA Technologies, Inc., of Coralville, who established similar awards at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University. The award honors the late Dr. Hubbard, who was a faculty member and vice president for student services at the University of Iowa. He was the first African American vice president at a Big Ten university.
Utz is 'one of the best and most productive faculty members in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts,' wrote Interim CHFA Dean Reinhold Bubser. in support of Utz's nomination. 'Since arriving at UNI, he has continually built a distinguished research and publication record. He is a highly respected and well-known scholar in his field who has published extensively in several languages-- English, French and German-- and he possesses a broad range of teaching experiences at the undergraduate and graduate level.'
Utz's colleagues in the Department of English Language and Literature and his peers at other institutions of higher education commend him for the wide range of topics addressed in his publications, from 'German criticism and scholarship on Chaucer and English medieval studies, with attention to issues of philology, national identity and ideology, to spiritual and ideological significances of the medieval cathedral, to concepts of gender and time in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.'
Utz has consistently received 'extremely high ratings' by students for his successful teaching and positive influence in their education, with repeated comments on his accessibility, his concern for their educational advancement and his support when they needed assistance.
Jeffrey Copeland, English department head, said that, in addition to Utz's high student ratings, he has managed to include a number of his undergraduate and graduate students in his scholarly projects, with more than 30 of his students presenting conference papers that he facilitated and supervised and two of his graduate students winning outstanding master's research paper and thesis awards, among others.
'Utz has demonstrated himself to be one of the true shining stars of the UNI community,' said Copeland. 'It is faculty members like Dr. Utz who set the standards for excellence. . . in terms of what can be done through hard work and pride in one's school. And. . . he falls into another world of rare company: He is one of a mere handful of faculty members on this campus to be chosen for all four of the following major awards: the Regents Award for Faculty Excellence, the Donald N. McKay Faculty Research Award that recognizes exceptional original contributions to research and scholarship, the UNI Distinguished Scholar Award and the CHFA Faculty Excellence Award.
'For a faculty member to receive even one of these awards is quite an accomplishment; to receive all four is absolutely incredible and speaks volumes to the depth of his work as a teacher, scholar and member of the university community.'
Beginning with his doctoral dissertation, which he later published, Utz established a new subfield of inquiry in Medieval English studies that received an award from the German institution for outstanding work in English studies. In this area, he has edited one book and co-edited another; published essays, book chapters and reviews; presented four conference papers and organized three conference sessions. He has been described by The Medieval Review as 'perhaps the foremost exponent of the 'paradigm' of Nominalist influence upon late Medieval English Literature.'
His second field of concentration, the connections between late medieval philosophical and literary texts, has met with similar enthusiasm and international approval, and in 1998, he was invited to join, as its youngest member, the prestigious advisory board of Studies in Medievalism. He has also published essays, bibliographies and reviews in a number of other topics.
He joined the UNI faculty in 1990, after earning his Ph.D. in English and German philology from the University of Regensburg, Germany.