2015 International Educator of the Year Award

Campus Winner– Senior Faculty

Stephen G. Perz, Professor of Sociology, Criminology and Law – College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Dr. Perz blends together scholarship, teaching and service into each professional activity, but it is his international scholarship and collaborations that anchor his remarkable success. Perz conducts research on demographic processes and environmental change; land use practices and land cover dynamics, and the socio-spatial processes of road building in the Amazon. He has received funding from prestigious organizations from NASA, USAID and NSF to support projects in the Brazilian Amazon, where Bolivia, Brazil and Peru meet. Perz has helped UF lead a consortium of nine organizations to implement the MAP model of conservation and development by combining interdisciplinary environmental science with participatory planning for environmental governance. Through these projects and various others, Perez has funded travel and fellowships for numerous UF graduate students to work with partners on research and outreach as well as facilitating conference presentations by foreign collaborators. Perz’s UF-based intellectual imprint on doctoral students is therefore carried to all parts of the globe, further strengthening the image of UF as an international leader in environmental and resource studies.

Campus Winner- Junior Faculty

Muthusami Kumaran, Assistant Professor of Family, Youth and Community Services, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Dr. Muthusami teaches and researches in areas of nonprofit management, roles of NGOs in disaster management, community development, civic engagement, home and community based elderly care services, and environmental justice and protection. Dr. Kumaran’s dedication and passion for educational excellence far exceeds the classroom; providing platforms and opportunities for UF faculty and researchers to explore collaborative opportunities with their counterparts in major international universities, facilitating meetings for students and faculty interested in various subjects and providing training workshops on organizational capacity building to the host of NGOs. Awarded recognition for his international education endeavors, Kumaran received the 2015 UF/IFAS International Achievement Award, as well as being honored by the North American Colleges & Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) with the NACTA Educator award in June of 2015. Currently serving his second term as the UF President’s Council on Diversity, the Chair of UFIC’s India Working Group and the treasurer on the board of the international academic association and countless other organizations of research and service, Kumaran provides his global knowledge to a vast expanse of influences.

Campus Winner- Staff Award

Jason Ward, Associate Director of International Programs, Heavener School of Business, Warrington College of Business Administration

Ward oversees international exchange partnerships with over 30 universities in Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia. In this role, he welcomes international students to campus and prepare some of the brightest students to study at prestigious global business schools. He advises students to study and intern in London, Dublin, Madrid, Paris, and Rome. Emphasizing the importance of international exchange opportunities, Ward created the bi-annual Global Gathering, which helps to bring UF students and exchange students. Ward also launched the Global Gator Guide program this year through the Heavener Business School as a program designed to welcome international exchange students to the college and provide them with a U.S. mentor to guide them through their unique journeys at the university. Thanks to his efforts, Heavener student participation in exchange programs has doubled and has helped to highlight the value of international exchange to students and faculty alike.