Distinguished University Lecturers Named

April 14, 2022 | News, UToday, Alumni, Business and Innovation, Health and Human Services, Natural Sciences and Mathematics
By Kirk Baird

Four faculty members have been recognized with the distinction of Distinguished University Lecturer for their commitment to advancing student learning and supporting student success.

The UToledo Board of Trustees approved the honor for the educators at its April 13 meeting.

The 2021-22 Distinguished University Lecturers are:

•  Dr. Jillian Bornak, associate lecturer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics;

•  Jacalyn Flom, senior lecturer in the Department of Management in the John B. and Lillian E. Neff College of Business and Innovation;

•  Heather Robbins, senior lecturer in the School of Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences in the College of Health and Human Services; and

•  Dr. Nilgun Sezginis, senior lecturer in the School of Population Health in the College of Health and Human Services.

“The Distinguished University Lecturer is an honor reserved for educators with a fervent commitment to our mission to provide students a world-class education, and the lecturers recognized this year have shown an admirable passion for student learning,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.


Bornak joined UToledo in 2013 and has established a record as an educator who uses innovative and experiential teaching strategies to engage students and who consistently receives high teaching evaluations from students.

She has published peer-reviewed scholarly articles, presented work at local, state and national venues and served on the organizing committee for UToledo’s hosting of the 2018 American Physical Science – Ohio Section Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics. Bornak previously was recognized with UToledo’s Shining Star Award and the Outstanding Teaching Award.

“It is an honor to share with students my passion for astronomy and physics. I am grateful for the opportunity I’ve been granted at UToledo to teach this group of students,” Bornak said. “I enjoy connecting the amazing things in the universe to the students by showing them the extended history of what had to happen for them to be in the classroom today. UToledo helps our students look out at the wider world and I hope to add to that by having them look up as well.”


Flom joined UToledo as a visiting instructor in 2001 with a passion for and experience in the field of business. As a student-centered teacher, she fosters an environment for success and social belongingness.

Flom has published peer-reviewed scholarly articles, served as a professional reviewer in her discipline and presented work at local, state and national venues. Flom was recognized with the John B. and Lillian E. Neff College of Business and Innovation’s Outstanding Visiting Instructor Award in 2003 and 2008, and received “Student Shout Outs” in 2020 and 2021 for teaching excellence.

“I am honored and humbled to receive the Distinguished University Lecturer Award,” Flom said. “Reading the student letters in support of my nomination was certainly a George Bailey moment. It was an affirmation that the effort and passion I try to put into every class really does make a difference. I am grateful to all my former students because each semester was an opportunity for me to grow and innovate, to never give up encouraging the eureka moment in each student’s eyes. I also appreciate my colleagues for their willingness to share best practices and serve as a sounding board for ideas.”


Robbins has been a member of the UToledo faculty since 2007. An educator dedicated to the continuous improvement of her teaching, she challenges students to find personal meaning and value in the material they are learning and empowers them to embrace their future with confidence.

A member of the Research Fellows Community of Practice, Robbins has published peer-reviewed scholarly articles, served as an Equity Champion Leader ­— a program to increase student retention and belonging — and is actively engaged in service across the University. She previously was recognized with UToledo’s Outstanding Teaching Award.

“It is truly an honor to be selected to represent UToledo as a Distinguished University Lecturer and be in the company of such phenomenal educators and scholars,” Robbins said. “Learning proves to be multidirectional. It is worth teaching well as it is imperative that learning continues well past the last day of class. I regard myself as a successful educator when my students realize learning is a habit of mind and a practice of life. To that, I would like to thank all the educators in my life: family, friends, mentors, colleagues and most importantly, students.”


Sezginis joined UToledo in 2011. As an educator, Sezginis facilitates a high-quality learning environment for students and fosters important critical-thinking skills by providing them appropriate learning tools.

Sezginis was previously recognized with the College of Health Sciences Dean’s Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching, UToledo’s Ella Fridman Award for online instructors who are dedicated to quality and student engagement and the Ohio Health Information Management Association Professional Achievement Award.

“I am humbled and deeply honored to be named as a Distinguished University Lecturer,” Sezginis said. “As an immigrant woman, and first-generation college graduate this award means a lot to me. Being recognized by my colleagues for what I love doing without any hesitation is a great feeling. I feel so fortunate to teach and share my knowledge to help our students start their health information administration careers. I much appreciate the privilege of being part of my students’ learning journey. Thanks to all of the students I have taught and learned from over the years.”


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