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Four professors at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln were honored for their work this week as part of the university system's annual awards given for teaching, research and engagement.

The university-wide President's Faculty Excellence Awards are granted by a committee of faculty members. Winners receive $10,000, an engraved plaque and a presidential medallion.

"Fundamentally, the University of Nebraska exists to change lives," President Hank Bounds said in a statement. "Our faculty, who are among the best in the world at what they do, carry out that mission in classrooms, labs and fields every day."

This year's winners for teaching were:

Lloyd Bell, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication, who has taught at the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources since 1979, specifically in preparing teachers of career and technical education. Bell also conducted research in educational theory and best practice, as well as teaching and learning within agriculture.

William Mahoney, a University of Nebraska at Omaha associate professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Informatics and graduate program chair in the cybersecurity degree program, created the master's degree in cybersecurity and secured $3.9 million in scholarship funding for students to enter related fields. He also helped UNO earn a Center of Academic Excellence — Cyber Operations designation from the National Security Agency.

This year's awards for research activity were:

Kwame Dawes, UNL professor of English and the editor of the Prairie Schooner is the author of 21 books of poetry, as well as books of fiction, criticism and essays. He is the author of a study of the lyrics of Bob Marley, the director of the African Poetry Book Fund and has won an Emmy Award and a Webby for his LiveHopeLove, an interactive website based on his project HOPE: Living and Loving with AIDS in Jamaica.

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Evgeny Tsymbal, UNL professor of physics, has been the director of the National Science Foundation-sponsored Nebraska Materials Research Science and Engineering Center since 2007, which includes 26 faculty from six different departments. His research has focused on understanding the properties of ferromagnetic and ferroelectric nanostructures, which could revolutionize the electronic and data storage industries.

In the final category, engagement, the winner was:

Mario Scalora, UNL professor of psychology and the director of the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, who supervises research into threat assessment, stalking and violence done by extremists, and in schools and workplaces. Scalora's research has focused on turning threat-assessment methods into real-world training to improve public safety, and he has become nationally-recognized for his work, training thousands at the local, state and national levels.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7120 or cdunker@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @ChrisDunkerLJS.

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Higher education reporter

Chris Dunker covers higher education, state government and the intersection of both.

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