CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — With the academic year ending, outstanding faculty and staff were recognized for their achievements on April 25 at the faculty and staff awards luncheon held at the Penn State 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:
Beth Michalec, who received the 2019 Teaching Excellence Award for full-time faculty. Michalec, lecturer in corporate communication, was honored for her engaging classroom discussions, project ideas and high academic standards. As one of her student nominators wrote, Beth Michalec “took me from a terrible student to one with a 3.8 in my major GPA. She understands her audience and can speak each student’s language. In my opinion, this is invaluable and deserves recognition.”
Mark Trusz, who received the 2019 Teaching Excellence Award for part-time faculty. Trusz, lecturer in information sciences and technology and IT support, was honored for bringing real world experiences to the classroom. As one of his nominators wrote, “Mark had the ability to relate to students and as such is able to help these students become better IT professionals. His assignments are always crafted in a manner that maximizes learning and skills transfer. He is an asset to both our campus and our students.”
Mike Krajsa, who received the 2019 Outstanding Contribution in Outreach/Community Service award. Krajsa, assistant teaching professor of business and faculty liaison to Lehigh Valley LaunchBox, was honored for promoting the business program and campus. As one of his nominators wrote, “Mike is someone who is always working the room…. He is our biggest cheerleader, promoting the great work being done by our faculty and the high-quality programs we offer the workforce…Mike is the ultimate ambassador.”
Karen Kackley-Dutt, who received the Academic Affairs Director’s Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in Innovation and Applied Learning. Kackley-Dutt, associate teaching professor of biology, was honored for her Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) Faculty Fellows Project. As one of her nominators wrote, “Because of all her previous creative endeavors with TLT, she was asked to apply for the TLT Faculty Fellowship. There are only four awarded per year, and she is one of the few fixed-term faculty members who has ever received it.” Kackley-Dutt’s project is called Biome in a Box. The project’s aim is to bring biomes from diverse locations to students who would otherwise not be able to travel and have the experience of global immersion.
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, Alison Bonner, Margaret Christian, Kasey Hudak, Liz Keptner, Jacqueline McLaughlin, Beth Michalec, Bob Wolfe. The event planning was coordinated by Sara Roth.
Staff honored for inspired and dedicated work ethic included:
Kristy Hove, who received the 2019 “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. Hove, who serves as the campus institutional planner, was honored for being a pillar of strength and invaluable resource to many departments on campus, while working tirelessly behind the scenes on high-level projects. As one nominator wrote, she “is an unsung campus hero, she doesn’t do it for recognition. She doesn’t even do it for her own edification. She does it because aspiring to excellence is in her DNA.”
Sara Roth, who received the 2019 Outstanding Staff Award for extraordinary service to the Lehigh Valley campus. Roth, who serves as administrative assistant to the second and third floor faculty offices, was honored for taking on additional responsibilities above and beyond her current role and making a significant impact on the campus community. As one of her nominator’s wrote, “She is infallible. No amount of distress seems to inhibit her ability to calmly assess a situation and ask, how can I help? Her friendly demeanor and commitment to the faculty, staff, students and mission of Penn State Lehigh Valley make her a delight to work with.”
The awards committee of the Staff Advisory Council included Marta Da Silva, Tara Koller, Susan Stumpf and Sara Roth.