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Faculty Recognition Event on April 29 to Honor 12 Impact
Fairmont State News

Faculty Recognition Event on April 29 to Honor 12

Apr 23, 2010

Each spring presents an opportunity to recognize Fairmont State University's outstanding faculty for their efforts throughout the academic year.

"Teaching and learning lie at the heart of the university's mission. Faculty play a major role in the strength and vitality of Fairmont State University, and it is appropriate to take a moment to pause and celebrate their accomplishments," said FSU President Tom Krepel. "When our graduates look back on their Fairmont State experience, they will remember those talented and caring faculty members who made a difference in their lives."

The Office of Academic Affairs and the Faculty Development Committee invite the campus and the greater community to celebrate the accomplishments of 12 FSU faculty members at the upcoming Faculty Recognition Event, which is planned for 12:30 to 2 p.m. Thursday, April 29, in the Falcon Center third floor conference rooms. FSU students will be honored for their academic achievements during the Academic Awards Celebration from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 7, in Colebank Hall gym.

"In the past, all student and faculty awards were presented at the spring Academic Awards Celebration; however, this year faculty and students will be honored in separate events," said Dr. Christina Lavorata, Associate Provost. "Separating the awards events allows each to showcase more prominently the achievements of each group of award winners." 

Faculty to be honored are the following: Dr. Rebecca Giorcelli, Recognition of Outstanding Faculty Achievement; Dr. Matthew Hokom, Excellence in Academic Advising; Dr. Connie Edwards, Dr. Suzanne Heagy, Dr. Frank Lee, Dr. Elizabeth Savage and Matthew Schmuck, Fairmont State Foundation, Inc. Grants; Dr. Joseph Blankenship, Dr. Donna Long and Dr. Timothy Oxley, Regional Service and Engagement (RSEED) Grants; Dr. Sam Spears, Great Teachers Seminar; and Denice Kirchoff, Fairmont State Foundation, Inc. Fellowship.

Recognition of Outstanding Faculty Achievement Award


Dr. Rebecca Giorcelli, Assistant Professor of Information Systems and Coordinator of Information Systems, is also a graduate faculty member. She earned her B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from West Virginia University.

Prior to joining the faculty at FSU in 2005, she gained over 10 years of experience in research and development in the field. Positions held include Research Engineer within the Division of Safety Research at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (1995-2001) and Senior Scientist and Operations Branch Supervisor at the Institute for Scientific Research, Inc. (2001-2005).

Giorcelli was one of the first faculty members within the FSU School of Business to work through the Learning Technologies Center to design and teach online undergraduate courses.  She was also instrumental in designing and delivering the Student Projects with Applications in Concept Engineering (SPACE) course, a multi-disciplinary course funded through NASA to expose students to science and technology concepts. As the Information Systems Program Coordinator, Giorcelli has taken the lead to review and revise the program curriculum to better align with industry needs and accreditation criteria.  The newly approved Information Systems Management program has been approved to start in the fall of 2010.

"Dr. Giorcelli demonstrates excellent teaching ability. She incorporates current instructional technology in her courses and requires analytical thinking in all her courses. She has an excellent rapport with the students. She is particularly sensitive to other demands on students, such as family and job obligations, and develops close, personal relationships with many of her students who consider her to be a valuable career mentor," said Dr. Richard Harvey, Dean of the School of Business.

Giorcelli has taught a number of different Information Systems courses, including many upper-level courses. She developed an online version of Information Systems 2235 and also teaches a Project Management course in the MBA program.

"Dr. Giorcelli incorporates her industry experience into her classes by creating projects and assignments that are immediately applicable in the industry. Her business connections create opportunities for meaningful internship experiences for her students," Harvey said.

Giorcelli has been highly active in research since her arrival to FSU and has been awarded over $525,000 in research grant funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission Title II program. She completed a Faculty Fellowship through NSF in the summer of 2006. She is currently the Principal Investigator for the NSF-funded Advancing Computing Curricula and Expanding Learning Experiences through Re-engineered and Accelerated Technology Education (ACCELERATE) project, a collaborative effort among the computing disciplines at FSU to revise the curricula for the 21st century. Giorcelli is a founding member of the Undergraduate Research Advisory Council (URAC) and has regularly participated as a research reviewer for the Undergraduate Research Program, the NASA Space Grant Scholars Program and the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Program.

She is married to Mark Giorcelli and they have two sons, Trey and Tyler.


Award for Excellence in Academic Advising


Dr. Matthew Hokom, Associate Professor of English in the Department of Language and Literature, earned his B.A. from the University of Puget Sound and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

His dissertation, directed by Professor Susan Rosowski, examined Ralph Waldo Emerson's influence on the novels of Willa Cather. Upon completing his doctorate, Hokom earned a post-doctoral M.A. in Classics. He began teaching at Fairmont State in 2001 as an Assistant Professor. Currently an Associate Professor, he teaches a wide range of classes from Freshman Composition, to the Sophomore World Literature Survey, to upper division courses in American Literature and Epic Literature. He continues to pursue his scholarship on Cather, now focusing on the influence of the Greco-Roman tradition on Cather's work. He has twice received a Foundation Grant.  He has supervised Honors projects and a Student Undergraduate Research Experience, edited Tracts: A Journal of Student Scholarship, served as dramaturge for the 2006 production of "Lysistrata" and has advised English Education students since 2002.

The Excellence in Advising Award is presented to honor demonstrated excellence and commitment to the significant force that academic advisors play in the education, personal development and success of their advisees. It is offered as a tribute but also as encouragement to all faculty advisors to persist in their efforts to help students achieve.

One of Hokom's colleagues nominated him for the award, but it is traditional to keep the name of the nominator a secret. Following is a quote from the award nomination submitted: "Dr. Hokom scrupulously tracks the academic progress of his advisees. Our majors regularly attest to his thoroughness and attention to detail. Over the years, I have heard him express his concern about particular students and their needs; he speaks, and acts, with a magnanimous regard for the students' welfare and their achievements of their goals. I have been advising for almost ten years, but I find myself trying to emulate Dr. Hokom's behavior toward his advisees."

Fairmont State Foundation, Inc. Grants


Dr. Connie Edwards, Assistant Professor of Music, earned her B.M. from The College of Wooster, her M.M. from The University of Akron and her D.M.A. from The University of Arizona. Edwards' grant will allow her to attend the three-day College Music Society Institute for Music History Pedagogy on June 10-12 in Chicago. The institute is designed to address the teaching of undergraduate Western music history to music majors and non-majors. She hopes the event will challenge her to find new ways to make music history come alive and will reinvigorate her teaching.


Dr. Suzanne Heagy, Assistant Professor of English, earned her B.A. from the University of Indiana-Purdue University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. For Heagy's project, she will complete a draft of her second novel, tentatively titled, "A Chance in Hell with You." Her first novel, "Meridian Inn," was a finalist in Sol Books Prose Selection Series in 2008 and is currently under consideration by Plain View Press.


Dr. Cheon-Pyo "Frank" Lee, Assistant Professor of Information Systems, earned his Ph.D. from Mississippi State University. The purpose of Lee's grant is to recruit Small-to-Medium Enterprises in North Central West Virginia as part of the student Google Online Marketing Challenge, the biggest global online marketing competition among university students. The challenge gives student teams dollars in AdWords, Google's flagship advertising product, to develop online marketing campaigns for local businesses. The findings of the project will provide insight into the current status of local electronic businesses while providing an opportunity for FSU students to participate in the global competition.


Dr. Elizabeth Savage, Associate Professor of English, earned her B.A. from James Madison University, her M.A. from Boston College and her Ph.D. from Duquesne University. Savage has completed two poetry manuscripts and a series of poems that, once finished, will be ideal for a chapbook, which is a small, artistically rendered book of related poems. The grant will allow her to finish the "Jane & Paige" series in order to enter it in chapbook contests in late summer and early fall and to enter two completed manuscripts in first-book contests and offer them to presses during fall "open reading."


Matthew Schmuck, Assistant to the Dean for Outdoor Programming and Outreach, earned an A.A. from Garrett College, a B.A. from Fairmont State College and an M.S. from West Virginian University. His grant will help to further develop the Outdoor Recreation Leadership Program at FSU. Schmuck will take classes offered through Project Adventure, Inc., a non-profit educational organization leading the world in the use of experience-based learning as a catalyst for growth and change. He will be able to transfer what he learns to his students and share what he learns with colleagues.

Regional Service and Engagement (RSEED) Grants



Dr. Joseph Blankenship, Assistant Professor of Information Systems, is also a member of the graduate faculty. He earned his B.S., B.A. and D.Sc. from Robert Morris University. Dr. Timothy Oxley, MBA Program Director and Associate Professor of Business, earned a B.S. from Concord University and an M.S. and Ed.D. from Marshall University. He also received an ED.S. degree from MU. They applied jointly for a grant that will offer financial support for research, planning and development of a proposal to be presented to the faculty of the School of Business in support of the Business Outreach Center (BOC). The BOC will serve as a formal mechanism through which the School of Business will foster economic engagement and business development efforts in FSU's service region.


Dr. Donna Long, Associate Professor of English, is also a member of the graduate faculty. She earned a B.A. from the University of Tampa and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Florida State University. Long's grant will benefit celebrations hosted by the literature and art journal Kestrel. In the fall, Kestrel will bring visiting writers to campus. The grant will enable the editors and members of the Kestrel Committee in the Department of Language and Literature to solidify the gains they have made and to extend the service that Kestrel now offers to the region as a journal that promotes and sustains the arts.

Great Teachers Seminar


Dr. Sam Spears is a faculty member in the Department of Music of the School of Fine Arts. The Faculty Development Committee has approved his attendance of the 2010 West Virginia Great Teachers Seminar in June at North Bend State Park.

The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and the Community and Technical College System with support from the Faculty Advisory Council will sponsor the event with the focus on innovations and challenges of instruction at the college and university level.

"I am always interested in experiences that will help me to grow and improve as a teacher. Every teacher has a bag of tricks that they commonly use. I hope to learn new tricks, especially regarding the use of instructional technology and instructional formats beyond the classroom lecture. Also, I think that every field is prone to a certain amount of ‘tunnel vision' regarding how material is taught or structured. I hope that interacting with people from other disciplines will help me identify and reevaluate some of my own habitual patterns," Spears wrote in his seminar application.

Fairmont State Foundation, Inc. Fellowship


Denice Kirchoff, Associate Professor of Nursing, earned her B.S. from the University of Pittsburgh and her M.S. from West Virginia University.

In 1993, the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc. initiated and funded a program for faculty development called the FSU Foundation Fellow Program. The Faculty Development Committee recommends one person to be names Foundation Fellow for the calendar year. The person so named receives a stipend of about $4,000.

Kirchoff's project will help fight the nationwide nursing staffing shortage by implementing a faculty mentoring program in the FSU School of Nursing and Allied Health Administration in an effort to promote the growth and development of new nurse educators, focus on retention of new faculty and support the mentoring initiatives brought forth from the National League for Nursing.

facultyMatthew HokomJoseph BlankenshipDenice KirchoffRebecca GiorcelliChristina LavorataSam SpearsElizabeth SavageSuzanne HeagyConnie EdwardsDonna LongCheon-PyoMatt SchmuckTimothy Oxley