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College of Education > News and Publications > 2016: 04-06 news > College of Education honors 8 faculty, staff members during awards program

College of Education honors 8 faculty, staff members during awards program

The College of Education recognized the accomplishments of its employees at the annual Faculty, Staff and Student Awards Program on April 19 at the Nittany Lion Inn.

The College of Education recognized the accomplishments of its employees at the annual Faculty, Staff and Student Awards Program on April 19 at the Nittany Lion Inn.

Award winners at the College of Education's Faculty, Staff and Student Awards Program are, front row from left to right, Erin Garthe, Leigh Boggs, Susan Land and William Rothwell. Back row, left to right, are Jim Herbert, Wanda Wasilko and Kyle Peck. Missing from the photo is Aileen Zaballero, winner of the Graduate Student Recognition Award.
Stephanie Knight, associate dean for undergraduate and graduate studies, hosted the reception in place of Dean David H. Monk, who was unable to attend.

The honorees who were commended were:

  • Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award: James Herbert
  • Career Achievement Award: Kyle Peck
  • Outstanding Teaching Award: Susan Land
  • Outstanding Researcher Award: William Rothwell
  • Outstanding Staff Award: Erin Garthe
  • Outstanding Staff Award: Wanda Wasilko
  • Graduate Student Recognition Award: Aileen Zaballero
  • Undergraduate Student Leadership and Service Award: Leigh Boggs

Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award

Jim Herbert earned this year’s Cotterill Award, given to faculty or staff for exemplary performances and leadership efforts. Herbert is a professor of counselor education and professor in charge of the Rehabilitation and Human Services Program.

Jim Herbert, left, was the recipient of the Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award. Stephanie Knight presented plaques to all award winners.
Among his research interests are strategies to facilitate career development and job placement of people with disabilities, post-secondary outcomes of students with disabilities, spiritual beliefs related to disability adjustment and clinical supervision practices used in vocational rehabilitation settings.

“Jim is an exemplary leader; he has a keen intellect, he’s extraordinarily creative and strategic and he has high standards,’’ said Kathy Bieschke, department head for Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education. “I don’t think Jim even knows how to spell the word ‘mediocre.’ Jim is dedicated to improving the lives of persons with disabilities.’’

Herbert recently heard from a student from about 25 years ago. “I just wanted to send a quick hello and a big thank-you for being such a great professor,’’ Lori Trenery Downs said. “Thanks to my foundation from Penn State, I did continue on at NYU to receive my master’s in occupational therapy, and I have been practicing OT in New Jersey for almost 24 years.

“I’m glad to see that you’re still at Penn State. I hope at least one of my three kids will attend Penn State and have a chance to meet you one day,’’ Downs said.

Herbert said the common theme throughout the awards ceremony was people getting recognition because of the people they work with. “I’m blessed with a fantastic team of people in the counselor ed and rehab and human services,’’ Herbert said. “I’m also blessed to have a fantastic department staff and the administrative staff does so much.’’

Career Achievement Award

Kyle Peck is the recipient of the Career Achievement Award, which is designed to celebrate the career of a tenured faculty member. It’s granted in recognition of superior leadership, scholarship, teaching and research in education.

Kyle Peck, left, earned the Career Achievement Award.
Peck is a professor of education in the learning, design and technology (LDT) program and co-director of the Center for Online Innovation in Learning (COIL); he has been with Penn State for 28 years. He studies and applies innovations in education, and his current interests include personalized online learning, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS), competency-based education and digital badges in education.

“Kyle has directed more than $50 million of externally funded research, development and professional development projects. This remarkable feat was accomplished while still producing a significant body of research with more than 50 book chapters, journal articles, research reports, books and four new software development products,’’ said Learning and Performances Systems Department Head Ali Carr-Chelman.

“Among his most significant achievements in the community outreach area is the creation of a charter school focused on technology-heavy, teacher-led, project-based curriculum for middle level education.’’

LDT professor Roy Clariana said, “Kyle is a wise and seasoned colleague who regularly helps us make better decisions. He is always around to listen to and help out. He is very deserving of the Career Achievement Award.’’

Peck called the College of Ed an amazing place to work. “Think about it, we work with outstanding people all the way through,’’ Peck said. “It’s competitive to get in here as a student, as a faculty member, as a staff member. Every day we come to work with great people, great friends -- people who are incredibly capable at their jobs.’’

Outstanding Researcher Award

William Rothwell has earned the Outstanding Researcher Award that recognizes exemplary performance in the conduct of research by College of Education’s faculty members.

William Rothwell, left, earned the Outstanding Researcher Award.
Rothwell is a professor of education in workforce education and development whose research interests focus on the competencies of workplace learning and performance professionals, succession planning and talent management.

“Dr. Rothwell’s credentials exceed the criteria outlined for the Outstanding Researcher Award,’’ said Wesley Donahue, Penn State associate professor of education and coordinator, online master of professional studies in organization development and change.

“His outstanding qualities of scholarship, leadership and focus on research initiatives and global issues have been directed into programs and services that have positively influenced students and have contributed to the prestige and recognition of the Workforce Education program, the College of Education and hence the reputation of the University as a whole.’’

Associate professor Judith Kolb added, “Bill Rothwell is an extremely accomplished scholar. His sustained record of productivity puts him among a very select few in our field. His books have been translated into numerous languages.

“His research has had significant national and international impact on scholarship and organizational practices in human resource development and organization development.’’

Outstanding Teaching Award

Susan Land won the Outstanding Teaching Award, which recognizes a faculty mentor who demonstrates teaching excellence, shows respect to all students as individuals and creates an environment conducive to learning.

Susan Land, left, was the recipient of an Outstanding Teaching Award.
Land’s current research investigates the design of learning environments afforded by new media in everyday, informal or classroom contexts and often utilizes technologies such as social media or mobile devices.

“Dr. Land’s students get to know her well and see her as a trusted, caring educator,’’ said Kyle Peck, professor of education and co-director of the Center for Online Innovation in Learning. “I perceive Dr. Land to be a devoted, creative, well-informed professional educator who doesn’t just lecture about active learning, problem-based learning and connectivism, she immerses students in them.’’

According to Heather Toomey Zimmerman, associate professor of education in Learning, Design and Technology, Land “is an outstanding scholar in the learning, design and technology field, having won multiple awards and accolades for her research on the development of open learning environments and on technologically enhanced learning.’’

Land labeled the award as a “great honor” to be selected by her peers who are experts in teaching and learning. “I have to say that I’m really lucky to be in the Learning, Design and Technology program,’’ Land said. “Part of what I get to do with my teaching is be part of a program that encourages and tries new things and to innovate and use technology in and out of the classroom to create different kinds of learning spaces,’’ Land said.

Outstanding Staff Award

Erin Garthe earned one of two Outstanding Staff awards that are presented for outstanding service and commitment to Penn State faculty, staff and students.

Erin Garthe, left, was the recipient of an Outstanding Staff Award.
Garthe is coordinator and research technologist for the Special Education Professional Development Portfolio, a series of degree and certificate programs delivered through World Campus.

Professor of Special Education David Lee cited Garthe’s performance with the development and implementation of an online master of education program. “The development of a new program can be a difficult process,’’ Lee said.

“Erin was an integral part of the development of our new program. She provided encouragement, timely feedback on drafts and friendly reminders to team members regarding due dates. The online Special Education M.Ed. would not be up and running now if it were not for Erin’s efforts.’’

Garthe said it was an honor to work with special education faculty and administration. She thanked her workmates in 125 CEDAR, noting that they are “the kindest, most thoughtful, most dedicated team of staff that you could ask for in a department and it’s truly a pleasure to work with all of you,’’ Garthe said.

“I will do my best to try to live up to all of those good things that you said about me.’’

Outstanding Staff Award

Wanda Wasilko received the second Outstanding Staff award. Wasilko is an administrative support assistant in the office of Alumni, College Relations and Development who is responsible for coordinating many alumni and College events. She also works regularly with staff in the Carrara Educational Technology Center on logistics of all online registration sites for events and creates most of the College’s digital signs.

Wanda Wasilko, left, earned an Outstanding Staff Award.
“The success of our 45 events each year are a testament to Wanda’s excellent organizational skills. Her years of experience have proven to be an important resource for our unit,’’ said Phil Hoy, assistant director of Alumni Relations in the College of Education.

Director of Development Simon Corby said, “Her positive outlook and good humor makes the office run well and an enjoyable place to work, even in the difficult, stressful and challenging circumstances that fundraising can sometimes bring. Wanda is the glue that holds it all together,’’ Corby said.

“I have the great pleasure of working in an environment where everything I do has such a positive connotation,’’ Wasilko said. “Not too many people can say that about their job. I’m also one of few positions that get to interact with all of the faculty and staff throughout the College, and you are an incredible crew.

“It’s easy over the years to lose sight of how many lives you touch each and every day, and that’s the point of what any of us do – to leave a positive, lasting impression that reflects not only on what you do but how the College is perceived.’’

Undergraduate Student Leadership and Service Award

Leigh Boggs, a Schreyer Honors College student majoring in secondary math education, is the recipient of the Undergraduate Student Leadership and Service Award.

Leigh Boggs, left, earned the Undergraduate Student Leadership and Service Award.
A member of the Presidential Leadership Academy, Boggs also is a member of the Education Student Council and serves as an Education Ambassador.

“I have been a faculty member at Penn State for more than 10 years and have only encountered a handful of students as exceptional as Leigh,’’ said Scott McDonald, associate professor of science education. “She is remarkably mature and thoughtful. She is high-achieving, but modest, and puts her exceptional skills to positive use in service to education in communities with underserved students.’’

Boggs said the deans and faculty and staff have created an environment where students desire to serve and lead in the College of Education. “It’s been a joy to be a student in the College of Ed,’’ Boggs said. “I’ve learned so much about being a future educator and also being a member of a community of educators, which is a really fun place to be.’’

Graduate Student Recognition Award

This award, which was given to Aileen Zaballero, honors a graduate student for outstanding scholarship, research, dedication to education and the promise of professional excellence.

Zaballero is a doctoral student pursuing a dual-title degree in workforce education and development and comparative international education. Her research interest is the influence of emotional/social competencies on collaboration and cultural competencies of a global workforce.

“She surprises me every semester with new and innovative ideas for how we can attract, orient and retain new student for both our residential and online graduate programs,’’ said Wesley Donahue, associate professor of education and coordinator of the online master of professional studies in organization development and change.

“As a student advocate, she does a great job of helping students from around the world navigate the Penn State system. She does this with efficiency and empathy.’’

William Rothwell, professor of education in workforce education and development, accepted the award in Zaballero’s absence and said, “Aileen has been a bright star in our program for several years and she well deserves this award.’’

Jim Carlson (April 2016)