2016 International Educator of the Year Award
Campus Winner– Senior Faculty
Zhong-Ren Peng, Professor in Urban and Regional Planning, College of Design, Construction & Planning
Dr. Zhong-Ren Peng, Professor at the School of Landscape Architecture and Planning, College of Design, Construction and Planning at University of Florida has received international recognition through his extensive research, teaching and service activities internationally. This is exemplified by his being invited as a Keynote Speaker at the very prestigious European Forum – Alpbach, where worldwide leaders in science, politics, business and culture including Nobel Laureates convene to address timely and significant socio-political issues. Further, he received the International Scholarship Award from the Norway Research Council, and was recognized with several prestigious appointments as the Cheung Kong Scholar and Distinguished Professor by the Chinese Ministry of Education and the Distinguished Visiting Chair Professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Tonji University in China. Peng has initiated, founded and developed the International Association for China Planning and International Deans and Chairs Forum of Planning Schools.
Peng has developed and sustained partnerships with leading educational institutions in Asian and Europe. In the last 5 years, more than 80% of Peng’s peer-reviewed publications (36 out of 44) involve international collaborations. Graduate students from UF have been included in most of these publications, and they have developed valuable research experience from these international collaborations. Peng has taught more than 20 international short courses or workshops on the topics of transportation policy and planning, public transportation, transportation and air quality, adaptation planning to climate change, and geographic information systems (GIS). These courses have reached more than 500 enrolled students and practitioners worldwide, and have particularly important impacts on transportation policy and planning practice in China. Moreover, these short courses and workshops have allowed recruitment of students to the Masters and Ph.D. program at the College of Design, Construction and Planning at UF.
Peng has advanced the reach of international planning education, research, and capacity building of planning professionals at UF and abroad.
Campus Winner- Junior Faculty
Robert McCleery, Associate Professor in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Dr. McCleery has been engaged in conservation in Southern Africa since 1994 when I served as an ecologist in Swaziland for the United States Peace Corps. Since arriving at the University of Florida (UF) in 2010, Dr. McCleery has had the incredible opportunity to leverage his relationships in southern Africa and at UF to build partnerships that enhance the internationalization efforts of UF and build the capacity of institutions and people in southern Africa. In 2012, he established the Savanna Research Center in the Mbuluzi Nature Reserve in Swaziland. This research and training at the center is focuses on fostering environments that allow healthy human and wildlife populations to coexist. His research program at the center and in southern Africa focuses on improving our understanding of how land-use changes alter animal communities and ultimately impact human well-being. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, he work with collaborators to conserve wildlife populations and understand how land-use changes influence ecosystem services (pollination, seed dispersal, game meat) important to humans. Dr. McCleery’s research program also works to maintain faunal diversity by finding ways to assimilate wildlife into agricultural and urbanizing landscapes. To increase UF students’ exposure to field-based research and sub-Saharan Africa, he provides research and internship opportunities for UF students on an annual basis. Additionally, for the last 6 years, he has taught a six-credit study abroad course, UF in Swaziland/South Africa. The course has created a demand for students wanting to experience African culture and ecology. Students learn field survival skills, wildlife and plant identification, wildlife research techniques, ecology of African wildlife, and the linkages between conservation and social issues.
Campus Winner- Staff Award
Regan Garner, Associate Director, Honors Program
Regan Garner is an Associate Director in the UF Honors Program, where she oversees internal and external scholarships. As academic coordinator for the Davis United World College (UWC) Scholars program, she visits UWC campuses annually to recruit international students and serves as their academic and scholarship advisor throughout their time at UF. In 2016, Garner welcomed 34 first-year students from 28 countries to campus. Garner also coordinates the Lombardi and Stamps Scholarship programs, managing admissions, selection, and promotion. She accompanies these students on two of three study abroad programs that provide international enrichment to their undergraduate experience – scholars travel to Mexico, Peru, and South Africa during summer terms. As Fulbright Program Advisor, Garner interacts with some of UF’s most creative and ambitious students and facilitates a committee of UF faculty to review applications and provide feedback in campus interviews. She also serves as liaison for several other international fellowships, including the Schwarzman, Boren, and Mitchell Scholarships.