CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — With the academic year coming to a close, outstanding faculty and staff were recognized for their achievements on April 25 at the first-ever faculty and staff awards luncheon at the Lehigh Valley campus.
Awards were presented by Tina Q. Richardson, chancellor of Penn State Lehigh Valley, and Douglas R. Hochstetler, interim director of academic affairs.
Faculty honored for academic excellence, notable service, innovative teaching and exceptional research included:
Jacqueline McLaughlin, who received the 2018 Teaching Excellence Award for full-time faculty. McLaughlin, associate professor of biology, was honored for her motivating, passionate and challenging teaching. As one of her student nominators wrote, “Dr. McLaughlin explains things in such a way that everyone can understand them and she does everything she can to help her students learn and excel, not just academically, but as good citizens and humans as well. Dr. McLaughlin deserves this award more than anyone I know; she has inspired me on every level and it was an honor to be her student.”
Martha Orsi, who received the 2018 Teaching Excellence Award for part-time faculty. Orsi, lecturer in English, was honored for her caring and encouraging nature with students. As one of her nominators wrote, “Martha is a work horse, in the trenches early on helping our students to be great written communicators. She is an unsung hero. ... She is always very positive and full of energy.”
Margaret Christian, who received the 2018 Outstanding Faculty Award in Research. Christian, associate professor of English, was honored for her research and for being an authority on early modern English poetry and religious rhetoric. As one of her nominators wrote, “Dr. Christian has published in more than a dozen journals and her recent book, ‘Spenserian Allegory and Elizabethan Biblical Exegesis’ not only offers a brilliant and fresh perspective on the 16th century mindset of Elizabethans, but offers us a way to connect this period to 21st century politics, and see our contemporary reality differently. She possesses a true literary gift.”
Robert Wolfe and Beth Michalec, who received the 2018 Outstanding Contribution in Service Award. Wolfe, lecturer in economics and coordinator of the Corporate Communication program, and Michalec, lecturer in corporate communication, were honored for their work serving students. As one of Wolfe’s nominators said, “Bob willingly supports students and colleagues from business and corporate communication for advising and works with students during every NSO session, and throughout the year to support enrollment, retention, and graduation/degree completion.” As one of Michalec’s nominators wrote, “Last year, Beth organized and orchestrated our campus' first Communication Day, which brought in guest speakers in the marketing and corporate communication industry to talk with our students. Beth encouraged the student-led Communication Society to spearhead the event. … The success of this creative accomplishment led to other degree programs establishing their own ‘days’ on campus.”
Kasey Hudak and Liz Keptner, who received the Academic Affairs Director’s Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in Innovation and Applied Learning. Hudak, assistant professor of corporate communication, and Keptner, director of the multimedia innovation center and lecturer in communications, were honored for their Intercultural Theory and Research course, which combined intercultural theory and research, digital storytelling and an embedded travel experience to the Netherlands in a collaborative and co-curricular format. Students learned valuable intercultural concepts such as acculturation and culture shock, uncertainty avoidance, and high- and low-context communication theories textured through both historic and modern lenses of the Netherlands.
In addition to a commemorative plaque, the above recipients will receive additional travel funding for academic purposes in this academic year. The faculty/staff awards committee included Chair Todd Retzlaff, Ana Serrano, Roger Egolf, Tom Dubreuil, Diane McAloon, Joy Reed, and Corianne Thompson.
Staff honored for inspired and dedicated work ethic included:
Pam Borowski, who received the 2018 “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. Borowski is a lab technician for biology. She was honored for her dedication, her willingness to go above and beyond, and for commitment to ensuring students have excellent science experiences.
Diane McAloon, who received the 2018 Outstanding Staff Award for extraordinary service to the Lehigh Valley campus. McAloon, director of alumni relations, was honored for her significant impact on campus, for spearheading new initiatives, and for her work giving the campus exposure in the community. McAloon held the interim position of director of community outreach while maintaining her current responsibilities as director of alumni relations. McAloon’s nominators wrote, “Diane’s positive demeanor, compassionate nature, and the love for her job all maker her an ideal candidate for the outstanding staff award.” McAloon opened her home this year to a Penn State student in his time of need. With the staff member and her family’s help, this student will walk among our 2018 graduates. As one of her nominators wrote, “This is the spirit of upholding priorities, and creating the most tangible significant impact above and beyond a current role and responsibilities.”
The awards committee of the Staff Advisory Council included Marta Da Silva, Tara Koller and Sara Roth.