CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — With the new academic year officially underway, outstanding faculty and staff were recognized for their achievements on Aug. 18 at the All Campus Day meeting at the Lehigh Valley campus.
Tina Q. Richardson, chancellor of Penn State Lehigh Valley, and Kenneth A. Thigpen, director of academic affairs, presented the awards.
Faculty honored for academic excellence, notable service, innovative teaching and exceptional research included:
— Anita Serrano-Martinez, who received the 2017 Teaching Excellence Award for full-time faculty. Serrano-Martinez, instructor in Spanish, was honored for her infectious enthusiasm and inspirational and dedicated teaching. Currently, she is developing Open Educational Resources for her Spanish students to save them money on textbooks while providing engaging content.
— Drew Anderson, who received the 2017 Teaching Excellence Award for part-time faculty. Anderson, instructor in meteorology and geography, was honored for his interesting approach to teaching and how popular his courses have become with students in his short tenure.
— Tai-Yin Huang, who received the 2017 Outstanding Faculty Award in Research (tenured faculty). Huang, professor of physics, was honored for her research and for her status as an internationally recognized scholar on sprites. Her research has been supported by National Science Foundation grants since 2004 and is been highly regarded nationally and internationally. Huang was the first Penn State Lehigh Valley researcher to receive a major research grant (in 2004), and she continues to receive major research grants. These include grants for her research on gravity wave-airglow interactions, among others.
— Kasey Hudak, who received the 2017 Outstanding Faculty Award in Research (non-tenured faculty). Hudak, assistant professor of corporate communication, was honored for her research, which explores Ricoeur’s narrative theory as it intersects with city branding and corporate identity, along with being a rising presence in her professional organizations: the American Marketing Association and the National Communication Association.
— Jennifer Parker, who received the 2017 Outstanding Faculty Award in Service. Parker, associate professor of sociology, was honored for her work engaging students with the community. Her service initiatives include the Sixth Street Shelter, which received United Way funding this year, International Food and Entrepreneur Series events and field experience in other cities.
— Kate Morgan, Dean Shaffer, Eileen Grodziak and Saima Farooq from the department of Virtual Education, who received the Academic Affairs Director’s Award for outstanding accomplishment in innovation and applied learning. The department was honored for its work to prepare the classroom for the 21st century student, including Morgan’s work with Metamorphose and the BEAM smart presence robot; Shaffer’s work with faculty and Flexing courses; Grodziak’s work assisting innovation projects of faculty and students and serving on University committee’s for Canvas; and Farooq’s customer service and support of classroom technology.
In addition to a commemorative plaque, the above recipients will receive additional travel funding for academic purposes in this academic year. The faculty awards committee included Chair Todd Retzlaff, Roger Egolf, Karen Kackley, Mark Gruskin, Alison Bonner, Barbara Cantalupo and Maryam Kiani.
Staff honored for inspired and dedicated work ethic included:
— Kathy Gray, who received the For the Glory award, which is given to a staff member who demonstrates dedication to the University and a spirit of positivity, energy, enthusiasm, cooperation and willingness to go above and beyond. Gray, who passed away in April, was an administrative assistant at Penn State Lehigh Valley for 17 years. She was honored for her outstanding attitude, tireless work ethic, positivity and genuineness.
— Michael Morgan, who received the 2017 Outstanding Staff Award for extraordinary service. Morgan, director of information technology, was honored for his excellent customer service, responsiveness and willingness to help. As one of Morgan’s nominators wrote, his “biggest accomplishments fall under the category of ‘disasters which did NOT happen’ because Mike thought to involve and/or communicate with other departments.”
The awards committee of the Staff Advisory Council included Diane McAloon, Sharon Neders and Susan Stumpf.