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awards

Several major faculty awards were presented at this year’s Celebration of Excellence, an annual ceremony to honor awardees for outstanding achievements in teaching, scholarship, research and innovation.

This year’s honorees included:

Million Dollar Club
Ms. Alycia Santilli, Director of CARE

Joan Finn Junior Faculty Research Fellowship
Dr. Meghan Barboza, Assistant Professor Histology, Physiology, Marine Mammalogy
Dr. Victoria Zigmont, Assistant Professor of Public Health

Mid-Level Faculty Research Fellowship
Dr. Md Shafaeat Hossain, Associate Professor of Computer Science

Senior-Level Faculty Research Fellowship
Dr. Kalu Ogbaa, Professor of English

Faculty Scholar Award
Dr. C. Michele Thompson, Professor of History 

Robert Jirsa Service Award
Dr. Michele Vancour, Professor of Public Health

Outstanding Academic Adviser Award
Dr. Gayle Bogel, Associate Professor and Coordinator of the School Library Media Program

Board of Regents Teaching Awards for SCSU
Dr. Charles Baraw, Associate Professor of English
Ms. Patricia Mottola, MFA Adjunct Faculty, Creative Writing

Board of Regents Research Award for SCSU
Dr. Darcy Kern, Assistant Professor of Medieval Mediterranean History

J. Philip Smith Outstanding Teacher Award
Dr. Kyle O’Brien, Assistant Professor of Social Work

Social Justice Community Award
Dr. MaryJo Archambault, Assistant Professor of Recreation, Tourism, & Sport Management

Digital Content Editor Jeff Nowak working at computer in the New Orleans Advocate newsroom as Investigations Editor Gordon Russell walks behind. Russell was a leader in the reporting effort for the non-unanimous juries project that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting. Photo credit: The Advocate (Side note: Mural behind Jeff he says is one of the coolest features of our newsroom. It's a collage of front pages from New Orleans-area newspapers through the years. Picture taken in September 2017 amid the long news-gathering process for the series that debuted in April 2018).

April 2019 was a great month for journalism at Southern. Student journalists won six awards at the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), Region 1 Conference in Boston and a recent alumnus was part of a New Orleans-based newspaper team that won the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting.

As part of The Advocate team that won the nation’s most prestigious journalism award, Jeffrey Nowak, a 2012 journalism graduate, prepared the digital presentation, compiled a massive splash page, created an interactive timeline, and led social promotion for a series that helped change Louisiana’s controversial split-jury law.

Nowak, a native of Windham, Conn., and graduate of Windham High School, joined The Advocate digital content staff in April 2106. He leads many efforts in New Orleans while also working remotely with Baton Rouge and Lafayette, La., newsrooms. His team consists of four digital content editors and a digital general manager.

Before relocating to New Orleans, Nowak worked as a digital editor, production desk chief and sports producer at The Sun in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Previously he had been a reporter at The Daily Voice in Westborough, Mass., and a freelance sports writer for the Hartford Courant. While a student at Southern, Nowak was editor-in-chief of the Southern News. And in 2102 he received the Outstanding Journalist of the Year award from the Journalism Department.

Meanwhile, at the regional SPJ conference, journalists from Southern’s new student-published Crescent magazine won four awards, including the Finalist Award for Best Student Magazine for its fall 2018 edition, the second publication in its young start.

Alumna and journalism minor Jefferine Jean-Jacques was the winner in the Feature Photography category for her series of photos, “Through the lens,” published in Crescent’s inaugural edition in spring 2018. Jean-Jacques’ photo package was culled from various trips she took with her three children to countries including Haiti, India, Ghana and Ethiopia. Her photos will move on to the national SPJ college competition.

Other regional winners for Crescent included managing editor Jacob Waring, who won a Finalist award for the non-fiction magazine article, “A lot to juggle,” about SCSU students who are also parents in the fall 2018 edition. Photo editor Meghan Olson, a Studio Art-Photography major, won a Finalist award for Feature Photography, for “Funky hair,” the fall 2018 cover package.

Southern News Editor-in-chief Kevin Crompton won a finalist award in the Sports Writing category for a profile on Owls linebacker Jhaaron Wallace, “Wallace joins elite company in record books.” The story highlights the journey from high school to college for one of the top defensive players to come through the Owls football program.

The student newspaper’s second award went to former Managing Editor Joshua LaBella, alumnus, and former Op Ed/Features editor August Pelliccio: a finalist award for Breaking News Reporting.

Each category included one winner and one finalist. SPJ Region 1 encompasses universities from Maine through New England to New York, New Jersey to Philadelphia.

Photo credit for home page image: The Advocate (Digital Content Editor Jeff Nowak working at computer in the New Orleans Advocate newsroom as Investigations Editor Gordon Russell walks behind. Russell was a leader in the reporting effort for the non-unanimous juries project that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting.)

Celebration of Excellence, faculty awards

At the annual Celebration of Faculty Excellence on May 1, several major faculty awards were presented at a ceremony to honor the awardees, with President Joe Bertolino and Provost Ellen Durnin welcoming those in attendance. Bertolino said, “I want the members of Southern’s faculty to know that your hard work is visible, and it is appreciated. Today is our chance to applaud our colleagues for careers characterized by excellence.” Durnin agreed, adding, “it is important to recognize the work of our faculty, for all the kinds of work that they do. The awards to be given today reflect the university’s regard for not only research, but also for teaching, advising, and service.”

This year’s honorees included:

Million Dollar Club
Inductees:
Dr. Barbara Aronson, Nursing
Dr. Elliott Horch, Physics

Joan Finn Junior Faculty Research Fellowship
Awardees:
Dr. Matthew Miller, Environment, Geography, and Marine Sciences
Dr. Michael Knell, Earth Science

Mid-Level Faculty Research Fellowship
Awardee:
Dr. Corinne Blackmer, English

Senior-Level Faculty Research Fellowship
Awardee:
Dr. Elliott Horch, Physics

Faculty Scholar Award
Awardee:
Dr. Giuseppina Palma, World Languages and Literatures

Robert Jirsa Service Award
Awardee:
Dr. Troy Paddock, History

Outstanding Academic Adviser Award
Awardee:
Dr. Natalie Starling, Counseling and School Psychology

Board of Regents Teaching Awards for SCSU
Awardees:
Dr. Melissa Talhelm, English
Dr. Lisa Nakamura, History

Board of Regents Research Award for SCSU
Awardee:
Dr. Corinne Blackmer, English

J. Philip Smith Outstanding Teacher Award
Awardees:
Dr. Sarah Roe, Philosophy
Dr. Margaret Sargent, Communication
Professor Jennifer Lee Magas, English

Celebration of Excellence, faculty awards

Southern faculty are known for striving to make a difference in the lives of their students, as well as for their contributions to their respective disciplines and to the community in general. Each year, the university’s Celebration of Excellence ceremony presents an opportunity to recognize the special achievements of a few faculty and reflect on what is possible in higher education.

At this year’s ceremony, held on April 25, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ellen Durnin called the event “a public affirmation of the fact that, as a university, we hold faculty research, teaching, service, innovation, and student advising in high regard.”

The Joan Finn Junior Faculty Research Fellowships aim to provide junior faculty members with a significant amount of reassigned time at an early stage in their careers at Southern for these purposes. Two fellowships are awarded each year. This year’s recipients were Amy Smoyer, assistant professor of social work, for her project, “Prison at the Margins: Understanding the Intersecting Vulnerabilities of Incarcerated Lives,” and James Kearns, assistant professor of chemistry, for his project, “The development of methods to quantify arsenic contamination in rice and other common food sources by chemical digestion and measurement with an atomic absorption spectrophotometer.”

The Mid-Level Faculty Research Fellowship aims to provide mid-level faculty members with a significant amount of reassigned time at this crucial stage in their careers at Southern for these purposes. This year’s recipient is Jonathan Weinbaum, associate professor of biology, for his project entitled “Assessment of a New Late Triassic Fossil Bonebed in Arizona.”

The Technological Teacher of the Year Award recognizes the importance of the effective use of technology in the classroom and the faculty who embrace it. Leon Yacher, professor of geography, was named the 2016 Technological Teacher of the Year. Yacher designed and developed the university’s first course in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)and he has made innovative use of pedagogical tools such as Blackboard, clickers, and TOPHAT.

Named in honor of the late Robert E. Jirsa, former Faculty Senate President and P & T Committee Chairman, the Robert E. Jirsa Service Award is given annually to a full-time faculty member who has made extraordinary contributions and demonstrated outstanding leadership in his or her service to the university. This year’s recipient is David Pettigrew, professor of philosophy. Pettigrew came to Southern in 1987, and over the years, he has been deeply involved in the life of the university, having served and chaired most Philosophy Department committees, as well as School of Arts & Sciences and university-wide committees, among them Faculty Senate, the Faculty Academic Strategic Planning Committee, and the University Promotion and Tenure Committee. In addition to his committee work, he coordinated PROJECT CONNSTRUCT to reform Mathematics and Science in Southern’s teacher education program while collaborating with the New Haven Public Schools; initiated the Annual Interdisciplinary Faculty Research Conference, the University-wide lecture series, and the university film festival series, “Cinema du Monde”; and served as chair of the Forum on Islam, as co-coordinator of selected Holocaust Remembrance activities, and as co-chair of Southern’s Big Read, among other activities.

Carol Stewart, assistant professor of management, was selected as the recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Academic Advisor Award. Stewart has advised students in the LEP program as well as the former AUR in the Business Administration and Management concentrations, as well as advising transfer students. In addition to EAB training, her advising is informed through her work with the Undergraduate Curriculum Forum (UCF).

The Board of Regents Adjunct Faculty Teaching Awards are given to recognize part-time faculty who have distinguished themselves as outstanding teachers with a track record of increasing student learning and promoting instructional improvements for their programs or departments. Michael Pascucilla, currently an adjunct professor in SCSU’s Department of Public Health, is the Southern nominee for this year’s award.  An adjunct professor in Southern’s Department of Public Health since 2013, he teaches four to five 3-credit classes in public health each year, serves as a mentor to students, and regularly hosts student internships in Public Health and Environmental Health.

The Board of Regents Teaching Awards are given to recognize faculty who have distinguished themselves as outstanding teachers for at least five years and have a minimum of two years’ track record of promoting instructional improvements for their programs/departments. The BOR-approved SCSU campus winner for this award is Jess Gregory, assistant professor of educational leadership and policy studies. Gregory came to Southern in 2010 and has been recognized several times for her excellence as a teacher and mentor, having received the J. Philip Smith Outstanding Teaching Award for 2014-2015; and been nominated four times for the SCSU Outstanding Academic Advisor Award. She teaches courses in education law and leadership, and has numerous publications, presentations, awards and grants.

The Board of Regents Research Awards are given to recognize faculty from the four state universities who are doing exceptional research/creative work. The BOR-approved SCSU campus winner for this award is Christine Unson, associate professor of public health. Unson teaches Biostatistics, Research Methods, and Special Projects at the graduate level, and Health Promotions and Research Methods at the undergraduate level. She has also served as director of the Office of Research Integrity since 2013. Her research interests include aging and work-life extension, participation in clinical trials, caregiver burden, and predictors of student success, and she has many publications and presentations, and has received a number of awards and grants for her work.

The Faculty Scholar Award recognizes scholarly and creative work of exceptional merit by a full-time member of the SCSU faculty.  This year’s recipient is Armen Marsoobian, chairman and professor of philosophy, for his book Fragments of a Lost Homeland: Remembering Armenia. In the book, Marsoobian uses his family’s story in the late Ottoman period to construct the history of the Armenian minority in central Anatolia. In writing this book, he employed a vast array of primary source material, and the selection committee was impressed by the depth of his scholarship and the sheer quantity of archival and investigative work it required. In addition, the committee appreciated the precision of Marsoobian’s writing, the richness of the narrative, and his ability to weave micro or personal history together with broader political developments. Marsoobian serves as chair and professor of philosophy, and since 1993 has been editor-in-chief of Metaphilosophy (an international journal of philosophy).

The J. Philip Smith Award for Outstanding Teaching is presented to one full-time faculty and one part-time faculty member for exemplary teaching. Thomas O’Malley, instructor of communication, has been selected as the recipient of the part-time faculty award. He teaches Interviewing Skills, Communicating Online, Fundamentals of Professional Presentation Skills and Intellectual and Creative Inquiry. He began teaching at Southern in 1996.

Helen Marx, associate professor of elementary education, has been selected as the recipient of the full-time faculty award. Marx joined the faculty in 2011 and currently teaches Integrated Curriculum, Social Studies in the Elementary Classroom, and the Capstone Student Teaching Seminar, which also entails student teacher supervision. She is also the coordinator of the Elementary and Early Childhood Program.