College of Arts and Sciences Honors Retiring Faculty

June 02, 2022
Submitted By: Mary Ingarra

The College of Arts and Sciences honors and recognizes faculty members who retired from the University at the end of this academic year. Collectively, these faculty have dedicated 179 years of service to the University of Hartford.

Robert Decker, Professor of Mathematics, taught at the University for 36 years and has served in a leadership role in pedagogical innovation by incorporating technology into mathematics instruction. He regularly involved students in his research and provided opportunities for them to present at conferences or serve as co-authors on publications. Over his career, Decker has published calculus and differential equations textbooks, as well as journal articles and book chapters. At an earlier time in his career, he also earned three large National Science Foundation grants to restructure the high school mathematics curriculum in Connecticut, to help high school math teachers incorporate technology in their teaching, and to re-vamp calculus instruction in high school and college. He served as chair of the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee and helped the University convert its paper “blue sheet” curriculum review process to an electronic process. More recently, he worked with another faculty member to create a new capstone course in mathematics and helped to create our new data science major and minor. In 2021, he was selected for the A&S Outstanding Faculty Award.

Robert Duran, Professor of Communication, has been a UHart faculty member for 41 years. His teaching has been recognized by both his students and his peers with the Roy E. Larsen Award for Excellence in Teaching and an Outstanding Teaching Award.  His research focuses on interpersonal communication, and he published close to 50 journal articles and book chapters. In addition, in 1999, he was identified as one of the top 100 published scholars in communication. Together with Professor of Communication Lynne Kelly, he was awarded the University’s highest honor for scholarship, the Humphrey Tonkin Award for Scholarly and/or Artistic Creativity. Duran has served as an A&S assistant dean and as the A&S director of graduate studies. For more than 20 years, Duran has assisted the college with recruitment events and strategies.    

Edward Gray, Professor of Chemistry has served in multiple leadership roles in his 45 years at the University. This includes serving as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for eight years, and for four of those years he also served as dean of Hillyer College, and five of those years as dean of the Hartford College for Women. As A&S dean, Gray oversaw the creation of new majors, dramatic increases in enrollment, a new course scheduling system for working adults known as Academic Express, enhancements to academic technology, re-structuring of processes and procedures, as well as growth in faculty and a greater emphasis on scholarship along with teaching. After serving as dean, Gray continued to contribute in significant ways, including on the Faculty Senate, the A&S Promotion and Tenure Committee, and the University Sabbatical Committee. He also oversaw all the instrumentation and technology in the Chemistry Department and has taught across the chemistry curriculum, as well as math and physics courses. More recently, he has ventured into complexity studies, creating new first-year seminars on the topic. His research has involved the disinfection of drinking water, as well as enhancements to chemistry education. Many of his journal articles, book chapters, and conference presentations were conducted with other faculty and with students. Gray’s most recent contribution was serving on a working group to overhaul the College’s P&T guidelines to respond to the pandemic, create greater parity between faculty workload and the reward system, and reduce potential biases. The result of this work will have an impact on the College for years to come.     

Robert Lang, Professor of Cinema, has taught in the School of Communication for 30 years. The breadth of his teaching in film studies is astounding and includes New German Cinema, Arab Cinema, Israeli Cinema, African Cinema, Contemporary European Cinema, National Trauma and Cinema, Queer Cinema, The Western, The Horror Film, The Science Fiction Film, and Crime Movies, as well as first-year seminars and courses in the University Interdisciplinary Studies program. Lang has also contributed to the Honors program, teaching Honors seminars and supervising Honors theses. He has been highly productive in his scholarship, having published four books with such prestigious outlets as Princeton University Press, Columbia University Press, and Rutgers University Press. In addition, he was awarded three Fulbright Fellowships to Tunisia. His latest book, which he hopes to submit to Columbia University Press, examines key issues impacting our country, including racism and heteronormativity, as depicted through film and web television series. Over the years, Lang has engaged in important service, such as the University Sabbatical Committee and the A&S P&T Committee and contributed to his discipline by serving on editorial boards or as editor/co-editor for several journals. 

Anne Pidano, Professor of Psychology, has taught at the University for 27 years. Her teaching is exceptionally strong as she meticulously revises her courses every year, ensuring they are up-to-date and achieving the student learning outcomes necessary for the doctoral program. Pidano has also supervised 75 dissertations! In her research, she investigates pediatricians’ roles in identifying children’s mental health issues, as well as how pediatricians partner with mental health specialists in children’s care. She is a productive scholar, with numerous journal articles, contracted reports, and conference presentations to her credit. She has consistently involved students in her research, and they are often co-authors with her on publications and presentations. Her service to the University is extraordinary and includes the A&S P&T Committee, Interim Director of the Center for Social Research, Chair of the Faculty Senate, member of the Institutional Review Board, the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, the Provost’s Committee on Faculty Compensation, the Peer Review of Teaching Task Force, and the Board of Regents. In recognition of her many accomplishments, Pidano has earned the A&S Outstanding Faculty Award, GIPP’s Faculty Excellence Award, and the Connecticut Psychological Association’s Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Practice of Psychology.