Fairmont State University’s outstanding faculty members were recognized on Wednesday, April 27, during the Recognition of Faculty Achievement luncheon for their exemplary efforts throughout the 2015-2016 academic year.
“The quality of our faculty and the quality of our academic programs set Fairmont State University apart from all other institutions in the state. I know that to you, our students come first,” FSU President Maria Rose told those gathered for the event. “This year’s honorees have truly distinguished themselves, and we have a lot to celebrate this year. These awards highlight FSU’s commitment to teaching excellence. I consider myself fortunate to be a part of this University and to call you colleagues and friends.”
The event was hosted by the Faculty Development Committee, the Office of Academic Affairs and the Fairmont State Foundation. Funding for the awards and grants is provided by the Office of Academic Affairs and the Fairmont State Foundation.
“Today’s honorees are realizing a culmination of many hours of tireless effort and dedication to furthering the lives of young people in pursuit of a greater future. Celebrations such as this truly bring to light the achievements and hard work that the faculty do, and the Foundation is proud to share in your successes by providing awards that will further your work in support of educating our students,” said RJ Gimbl, President of the Fairmont State Foundation.
The following faculty members were honored at the event: Dr. Elizabeth Savage, William A. Boram Award for Teaching Excellence; Leisa Muto, Harold and Roselyn Williamson Straight Award; Dr. Denice Kirchoff, Faculty Recognition Award; Dr. Daniel Eichenbaum, Fairmont State Foundation Fellow Award; Dr. J. Robert Baker, Fairmont State Foundation Grant; Samantha Shaver, Outstanding Adjunct Award; Dr. Mark Flood, Excellence in Academic Advising Award. Dr. Crystal Smith, a member of the Faculty Development Committee, emceed the event.
The following faculty members were recognized for their promotion to Associate Professor and received Tenure: Dr. Brian Blackwood, Dr. Kristi Kiefer, Dr. Denise Lindstrom, Dr. Amanda Metcalf, Dr. Beverly Michael, Dr. Julie Reneau, Dr. Aimee Richards. The following faculty members were promoted to Full Professor: Dr. Rebecca Giorcelli, Dr. Diana Noone, Troy Snyder. The following faculty members were honored with Emeriti Status: Larry Allen, Mohamed Alshallah, Dr. Susan Goodwin, Dr. Mohamed Khalil, Gale Kirby.
Dr. Charles Shields was awarded a sabbatical for the spring 2017 semester; he will be working on a specialized certification for the Criminal Justice program through the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. Leisa Muto was honored for receiving the ACBSP Region 2 Award for Teaching Excellence. Dr. Rhonda Sanford was honored for receiving the City of Fairmont Arts and Humanities Commission Scholar/Artist Award.
The following faculty members were recognized with Years of Service Awards: 20 years, Kirk Morphew, Dr. Steven Roof, Dr. Charles Shields, Dr. Donald Trisel; 25 years, Dr. Phillip Berryhill, Ellen Condron, Dr. Timothy Oxley; 30 years, Dr. Harry Baxter.
Dr. Elizabeth Savage, William A. Boram Award for Teaching Excellence
The William A. Boram Award for Teaching Excellence recognizes full-time faculty at Fairmont State for outstanding achievements, unusual dedication or accomplishments in teaching. Dr. Theresa Jones, a faculty member in the School of Nursing and Allied Health Administration, presented the award to Dr. Elizabeth Savage, Professor of English. Students and colleagues submitted letters in support of her nomination.
“I also want to thank the Faculty Development Committee for the many hours of reading, class visits and discussion they spent to determine these awards. I’m thrilled to enter the illustrious company of Boram winners, among them my wise, gentle department chair, Robert Baker,” Savage said. “If I have flashes of teaching excellence, I have them because I live among and with brilliant, loving teachers whose company and example coax the best from me. But our students, many who have every disadvantage, are my most consistent, most astonishing example of how to be good and for the good in every sense of the word.”
Leisa Muto, Harold and Roselyn Williamson Straight Award
The Harold and Roselyn Williamson Straight Award honors and encourages innovative and distinctive teaching by faculty at Fairmont State. Dr. Erica Harvey presented the award to Leisa Muto, Assistant Professor in the School of Business. Muto is a CPA and holds both an MPA and a Master of Arts in Latin.
According to one of her recommenders, Harvey said, Leisa Muto “… is extremely effective in the classroom and the students LOVE her. Her infectious personality makes the class fun even for students who do not like accounting.”
Harvey read some of Muto’s own words: “As I teach, I learn. I assess nearly every class session, every assignment, every activity, every semester, in order to improve the effectiveness of my teaching and to increase student learning. After three semesters of trial and error, of redesigning the redesigns, the current version of each course seems to have finally met the requirements of the Title III grant.”
Harvey said it was a pleasure to sit in on one of Muto’s classes and to observe the level of engagement and good humor students exhibited about complex quantitative material that featured words like “common and preferred stock.”
“Her portfolio in TaskStream was fun to peruse, containing short but compelling videos of groups of students working together on obviously engaging learning activities and a sample of a video lecture she made, as well as samples of at-home and classroom activities and lesson plan,” Harvey said. “The redesign work she described, and the results I saw in the classroom, have really inspired me as a teacher. Leisa is obviously engaged in a vibrant continuous improvement cycle and it is wonderful to hear of the great results.”
Dr. Denice Kirchoff, Faculty Recognition Award
The Faculty Recognition award is intended to honor a full-time faculty member who has engaged and inspired students to have original thinking and who has an active involvement and guidance in student projects. The award also honors the faculty for the capacity to reflect on action so as to engage in a process of continuous learning. Dr. Rhonda Sanford, a faculty member in the Department of Language and Literature, presented the Faculty Recognition Award to Dr. Denice Kirchoff, Professor of Nursing. She was nominated for the award by her student, Carolyne Mamboleo.
Kirchoff came to Fairmont State in 1998, and she spent 15 years in the ASN program and the last three years in the BSN program. She has taught through lectures, discussions, clinicals, one-on-one mentoring sessions and online. She has used guest lecturers such as HIV patients and their families, dialysis nurses and sexual assault nurses. She has used YouTube and has collaborated with the Theatre Department to use actors in simulations. She has won many awards and has many publications. In 2010, she completed her Doctorate of Education at WVU.
Sanford read the following quote from Kirchoff about her teaching philosophy: “As with the use of a nurse’s stethoscope, a nurse must likewise listen to each patient, assess and then determine what care is best suited for them. With the student, the process is much the same. As noted above, each student is unique, and it is incumbent upon me to listen to their concerns and then make the appropriate diagnosis. Much like a patient, each student presents with their own set of needs, many of which may not be directly related to their course work. In arriving at the correct educational diagnosis, I must therefore take into account all of their needs and determine what approach will best be suited toward helping them achieve academic success.”
Dr. Daniel Eichenbaum, Fairmont State Foundation Fellow Award
Dr. Brian Blackwood, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Chair of the Faculty Development Committee, presented the Fairmont State Foundation Fellowship ($1,500) to Dr. Daniel Eichenbaum, Assistant Professor of Music. Eichenbaum’s proposal was for the West Fork New Music Festival, the only festival that focuses on music written in West Virginia, Ohio and Virginia.
“The best classes in which I have participated as teacher or student were the ones where every member felt a strong sense of community. This sense of community, a connectedness among the participating composers and performers, is what the West Fork New Music Festival is meant to foster. I accept this award on behalf of the entire new music community in West Virginia and surrounding states,” Eichenbaum said.
Dr. J. Robert Baker, Fairmont State Foundation Grant
Blackwood presented the Fairmont State Foundation Grant ($1,000) to Dr. J. Robert Baker, Chair of the Department of Language and Literature, Senior Professor of English and Director of the Honors Program. His proposal was for the fall 2016 Kestrel Celebration. Kestrel is West Virginia’s only multi-genre literary and art journal, housed at FSU. The grant will help support a two-day celebration that will include readings, roundtable discussions and workshops for FSU and the surrounding community.
Savage read a statement on behalf of Baker, who could not attend the awards ceremony: “I would like to thank the Faculty Development Committee and the Foundation for this felicitous grant. It is a generous support that will help us bring writers and artists to campus and to Fairmont for readings and displays that will enhance the cultural life of our campus and local community. I also thank our colleagues Donna Long and Elizabeth Savage, along with our former colleague, Suzanne Heagy, for the admirable editorial work they have done over the last eight years as the editors of Kestrel. The journal has been a labor of love for all of us, but for them there has been much heavy lifting for which they deserve our gratitude.”
Samantha Shaver, Outstanding Adjunct Award
The Faculty Development Committee presented the Outstanding Adjunct Award to honor excellence in teaching and to encourage adjunct faculty's continuing efforts to excel. The award is given to faculty members who have demonstrated a sustained, energetic and successful commitment to teaching. Leisa Muto presented the award to Samantha Shaver, an adjunct in the Department of Language and Literature.
This year’s recipient has more than six years of experience teaching and tutoring in the field of English composition and literature. “She takes great care in preparing her courses, constantly reflecting on past experiences as both a student and a teacher in order to deliver engaging courses that provide constructive feedback. She creates a learning environment in which improvement is celebrated and each student is given individualized, unwavering support,” Muto said.
Shaver thanked the Faculty Development Committee for the honor and her family for their support.
“I also want to thank my Chair, Dr. Robert Baker, for nominating me for the award. It means a great deal to know that you have confidence in me and in the work I’m doing, because this work means a great deal to me. I also want to thank my colleague, Dr. Elizabeth Savage, who wrote a letter of support for me, and also to thank all my colleagues in the Department of Language and Literature,” Shaver said. “Most importantly, I want to thank my students, who are the reason I’m here today; they inspire and motivate me, and I want to provide them with the best experience I can to help them reach their goals.”
Dr. Mark Flood, Excellence in Academic Advising Award
The Award for Excellence in Academic Advising is presented to honor the demonstrated excellence and commitment that academic advisors play in the education, personal development, and success of their advisees. This year’s award winner is Dr. Mark Flood, Professor of Biology and Forensic Science and Coordinator of the Forensic Science Program. Two of his advisees, Brittany Sheppard and Kristen Akers, nominated Flood for the award.
“Although I often use this opportunity to mention that advising students goes far beyond mere course registration, the fact remains that advising for registration purposes is a critical part of advising students. However, developing a course schedule is many times more complicated than just following a model schedule. Students often change majors, have minors, are part of the Honors program, plan to pursue master’s degrees, need to maintain PROMISE or scholarship eligibility, need assistance calculating potential GPAs, need substitutions or waivers. They need assistance with incorporating internship and research opportunities into their educational experiences and guidance about how to handle the course load along with other responsibilities in life,” said Pam Stephens, Coordinator of Academic Advising and the RBA Program, who presented the award.
“The nominations for Dr. Flood each highlight his ability to consider all of the factors above when advising students. Not only did Dr. Flood ensure that all requirements were met, that courses taken were needed, and in an order that would benefit students in the long run, but what comes across most clearly is that Dr. Flood is extremely encouraging, motivating, understanding, and future-oriented. He teaches his advisees what they will need to know to succeed and instills in them the confidence that they will be able to achieve their dreams. The students being advised by Dr. Flood are not just checking off requirements to get a degree, they are planning their education here as a foundation for their future endeavors.”