College Honors Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Student with Annual Awards
By Katlyn McGraw (May 2007)
Five members of the College of Education were honored as winners of 2007 Faculty, Staff, and Student Awards. The following people were recognizing their dedication and service to the college community:
Career Achievement Award – Roger Geiger
Outstanding Faculty Award – Robert Reason
Staff Leadership Award – Tammy Fetterolf
Outstanding Support Staff Award – Heather Homan
Graduate Student Recognition Award – Youjia Hua
Career Achievement Award
The Career Achievement award is designed to celebrate the career of a tenured faculty member within our College. This award is granted in recognition of superior leadership, scholarship, teaching, and research in education.
Dr. Roger Geiger is a distinguished professor of higher education and the professor in charge of the higher education program. He is also an affiliate senior scientist in the Center for the Study of Higher Education. Roger joined the College of Education in 1987 and was promoted to full professor in 1990.
For the past 20 years, Roger has served as a valued mentor and colleague in the Penn State College of Education. He has shown a continual commitment to the success of his students.
One student said, "Dr. Geiger is committed to student learning and is genuinely concerned about what students are gaining through their experiences in the higher education program."
Roger is an enthusiastic supporter of the Higher Education Student Association and has contributed to the Penn State student-run peer-reviewed journal Higher Education in Review.
He has shown a similar commitment to the University and College communities, serving on a number of committees over the years, including the College Promotion and Tenure Committee and the University Faculty Senate.
Roger is also a world-renowned expert in his field. He has published five books, namely Knowledge and Money: American Research Universities and the Paradox of the Marketplace, Research and Relevant Knowledge: American Research Universities Since World War II, To Advance Knowledge: The Growth of American Research Universities, Privatization of Higher Education: International Trends and Issues, and Private Sectors in Higher Education: Structure, Function and Change in Eight Countries. He has contributed to more than 25 other books. He has also presented numerous times on his research.
For the past fifteen years, Roger has edited Perspectives on the History of Higher Education, formerly known as History of Higher Education Annual.
Roger has also secured significant funding for his research. In particular he has received grants from the Sloan Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the National Science Foundation. Obtaining funding from each of these organizations is highly competitive, and receiving funding from each multiple times is quite an accomplishment.
Furthermore, Roger has served on several domestic and international advisory boards including: the American Medical Colleges, the University Grants Committee of Hong Kong, the Japanese Association of Private Universities, and the 30-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Roger’s accomplishments are best said by one of his colleagues, "This record of achievement has made Roger arguably the nation’s leading active historian of American higher education. He has brought credit to himself, the Higher Education program, the College of Education, and the University. His career richly deserves the College’s recognition, and in honoring Roger Geiger, we honor ourselves."
Outstanding Faculty Award
The Outstanding Faculty Award recognizes a person who is dedicated to outstanding advising, teaching, research, and service within the College.
Dr. Robert "Bob" Reason is an assistant professor of higher education and college student affairs, affiliate assistant professor of counselor education, research associate in the Center for the Study of Higher Education, and professor in charge of the college student affairs program.
In his four short years at Penn State, Bob has completely revamped the college student affairs program. According to a colleague, "Bob demonstrated superior organization, collaboration, and leadership abilities as he developed the outline and hopes into a strong, cohesive, academically rigorous program with a mandatory practicum."
This success has produced a significant increase in quality applicants to the program and motivated graduate students. Said another colleague, "In his first two years, he was the driving force behind student recruitment and admissions, curriculum revision, and instructor recruitment. He also served as advisor to most of the students and [guided] them through their master’s papers."
In addition to his administrative roles, Bob is also an asset in the classroom. He consistently receives impeccable reviews from both students and faculty, which is evident by the fact that a number of his students sought to nominate him for this award. He is flexible and supportive as a teacher. He listens to his students’ opinions and takes them into consideration when planning a course.
One of his students said, "Bob is very intentional about his methods of teaching, but is also able to quickly adapt activities and assignments in the class to meet the needs of his students while still maintaining their overall purpose…He challenges me, but is always respectful and makes me feel like my ideas and opinions are valuable. Outside the classroom, he is an incredible role model for students aspiring to become student affairs professionals. No matter how busy his schedule is Bob always finds time to meet with students to discuss classes, the program or even personal life."
Another student expressed her support for Bob by saying, "I have never met a professor who cares so much about the academic, professional, and personal well being of his students… He does a great job combining scholarly work, with practical and experiential work in the classroom. To me, Bob is a great scholar, teacher, mentor, and a genuinely wonderful person."
Staff Leadership Award
The Staff Leadership Award honors the accomplishments of exempt staff in the College of Education.
Tammy Fetterolf is the assistant coordinator of research funds in the Office of Educational Research. Tammy has worked in the College of Education for the past eighteen years where she has consistently proven her leadership abilities. According to her colleague, "Tammy leads by example and is one of those rare individuals who make a positive difference."
Said another colleague, "Tammy gives meticulous attention to detail and recognizes the importance of accuracy." She is dependable, organized, and assists others whenever possible. She also recognizes the importance of challenging oneself each day.
Tammy takes initiative to research problems and issues and find the best possible solution. Currently she is mastering new technology to convert and revise proposals that can be submitted to sponsors by deadline.
In addition to her own continual self-improvement, Tammy encourages other staff members to pursue professional development opportunities.
Several of her colleagues praise Tammy’s ability to stay calm and meet deadlines in the most stressful situations. One colleague in particular said that "Tammy Fetterolf’s responsibilities as assistant grants coordinator can be compared to those of an air traffic controller at Kennedy International Airport, especially during proposal submission time."
Tammy possesses a wealth of knowledge that makes the grant proposal process far less complicated for faculty members working with her. If Tammy does not know the answer, she knows where to find it.
Her colleagues consistently praise her, with one colleague saying "She is a dedicated employee who leads by example and stays on task until the work is done."
Outstanding Support Staff Award
The Outstanding Support Staff Award recognizes the accomplishments of non-exempt staff in the College of Education. The award is presented for outstanding service and commitment to faculty, staff and students of the Penn State Community.
Heather Homan has been a staff assistant in the Department of Counselor Education, Counseling Psychology, and Rehabilitation Services for the past five years. During her time with the department, Heather has continuously exceeded her colleagues’ expectations.
In addition to the responsibilities of her job description, Heather advises students and assists other faculty and staff members whenever possible. She is an integral part of the department, routinely taking on more responsibilities than required of her.
She never has a "bad day." Heather is always cool, calm and collected. She always has a positive outlook that makes life in the office better for faculty, staff, and students.
Not only does Heather bring a positive attitude to the job, she also brings a thirst for knowledge. From the beginning Heather was eager to learn new skills associated with her position. "If she is unsure how to accomplish something, she pursues the answer and gains the skills necessary to bring a project to fruition."
Heather has shown initiative since her first day on the job. She reorganized files and completed other required tasks, basically filling two positions until a receptionist could be hired.
Said her supervisor about those first months on the job, "She determined what training she would need to meet the department’s goals and proceeded to streamline processes for handling grades, course syllabi, and student internships."
While fulfilling her numerous job requirements, Heather also assists several faculty members in the department who rely on her expertise to get their jobs done. Students also see Heather as an excellent source of information about academic issues and internship experiences. These students often approach Heather first. She assists the students and researches any information that she does not readily know.
While she is an asset to the department for faculty, staff, and students, Heather is also active in the general community as well. She is a Penns Valley EMT through which she participates in search and rescue missions.
Graduate Student Recognition Award
The Graduate Student Recognition Award honors a graduate student for outstanding scholarship, research, dedication to education and the promise of professional education.
Youjia Hua is a Ph.D. candidate in the special education program. He also serves as the doctoral student representative to the faculty, attending faculty meetings, providing student input into policy and procedure, and acting as a voice for students.
Youjia is an excellent scholar, teacher, and colleague. His research focus is on helping children with a history of noncompliance maintain focus and complete classroom-based assignments. He has also served as a guest reviewer for the Journal of Behavioral Education and Learning Disability: Research & Practice.
Youjia often volunteers his uncompensated time to several faculty members and their research programs. These faculty members are grateful for Youjia’s precise, timely, and thorough work on their projects.
In the classroom setting, Youjia is an outstanding student, teaching assistant, and teacher. He has made vast improvements to the SPLED 400 curriculum by adding significant and critical materials to the classroom and behavior management component of the course. SPLED 400 is a vital piece of the education curriculum because it is the only exposure many education students have to special education instruction. Youjia is aware of the diverse needs of students in the course. The course enrolls students from 21 different majors, and Youjia applies course content in a more generic context to provide appropriate information to the students.
Youjia also improved the content of the SPLED 400 website and changed the layout, thus making it easier for students to use. He also takes time to work with students, often sacrificing evenings and weekends to ensure students comprehend the material.
According to one professor and colleague, "In terms of commitment to the profession, academic excellence, research competence, integrity, service, and collegiality, Youjia's work places him at the very top.'