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College of Education > News and Publications > News: April - June 2012 > College Honors 2012 Outstanding Faculty, Staff, and Student Award Winners

College Honors 2012 Outstanding Faculty, Staff, and Student Award Winners

Eight members of Penn State's College of Education have been recognized for their achievements.

2012-fac-staff-student-awards-groupby Wildamie Ceus (April 2012)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - This spring, the College of Education honored the significant contributions and achievements of its faculty, staff, and students with the 2012 Faculty, Staff, and Student Awards. Eight members of the College were awarded in a ceremony held at the Nittany Lion Inn on April 4.

The following award winners were selected based on nomination letters and demonstrations of dedication and service to the College and community.


Graduate Student Recognition AwardKortney Sherbine

Outstanding Staff AwardSusan Hunter

Climate Enhancement AwardRobert Clark

Outstanding Researcher Award (Junior)Heather Zimmerman

Outstanding Researcher Award (Senior)Paul Morgan

Outstanding Teaching AwardGail Boldt

Cotterill Leadership Enhancement AwardRose Mary Zbiek

Career Achievement AwardBarbara Grabowski

Graduate Student Recognition Award


sherbine_sml-cpKortney Sherbine is the 2012 recipient of the Graduate Student Recognition Award. This award recognizes a graduate student’s contributions to research and teaching, and it honors outstanding scholarship, dedication to education, and promise of professional excellence.

Sherbine is a graduate teaching assistant to associate professor Gail Boldt. For the past two years she has served in the Language and Literacy Education undergraduate program in Curriculum and Instruction, teaching two courses—LLED 400: Methods of Teaching Reading and LLED 401: Methods of Teaching Language Arts—in collaboration with Boldt to prepare students to be successful literacy instructors. Before beginning her graduate studies, Sherbine was developing innovative practices to engage students she worked with in an urban, impoverished area where access to Internet and digital technology where very limited. She incorporates her enthusiasm for digital technology in her university teaching and is helping other instructors to do the same.

Sherbine has also made several presentations at conferences across the nation and abroad, her most recent being at the University of East London, examining “Bieber culture.”

Boldt, who nominated Sherbine, says working with her was an inspiring experience. “Ms. Sherbine is a remarkable teacher,” she said. “She knows literacy development and curriculum. She is confident in her teaching, but at the same time is curious, excited, and open about the diverse experiences, needs, and interests her students bring to the task of becoming teachers.”


Outstanding Staff Award


Susan HunterThis year’s recipient of the Outstanding Staff Award is Susan Hunter. The award honors a staff member who contributes in significant ways to the quality of life within the College, ultimately enabling the success of administrators, faculty, and students. Nominees must have at least five years of full-time employment with the College of Education.

Hunter, a financial assistant, manages the everyday operational costs of the NASA Aerospace Education Services Project (AESP) in the College of Education. The past few years of the program have required a high level of financial activity—including major changes in budget and reductions in personnel that demanded extensive work. AESP has relied heavily on Sue on several occasions to ensure that the financial processes were adequately staffed. She went well above and beyond the call of duty—always eager to fill in for departing personnel.

In one instance, Sue was asked to cover for a retiring project assistant in Florida at the Kennedy Space Center. She worked effectively there for more than a month, fulfilling a great need of the Center.

Margaret Maher, AESP director, said, “Sue’s performance has been exemplary and absolutely worthy of the Outstanding Staff Award. She has developed an excellent knowledge of the unique financial and contractual infrastructure, policies, and practices of Penn State, NASA, and our project. Sue’s knowledge, experience, capabilities, skills, and proactive attitude have been a key component of the AESP’s success.”


Climate Enhancement Award


Robert ClarkRobert Clark is the recipient of this year’s Climate Enhancement Award, which recognizes contributions to the pursuit of the College's diversity agenda.

Clark, associate professor of workforce education and development, began his professional work at Penn State in the fall of 2008, and has since demonstrated an unwavering commitment to issues of diversity within the College of Education. For the past two years he has actively served on the College of Education’s Diversity and Community Enhancement Committee, and he has established a diversity committee within the Learning and Performance Systems Department in order to promote an environment that is conducive to scholarship and learning and is respectful to diverse backgrounds.

Alison Carr-Chellman, department head of Learning and Performance Systems, said, “Throughout my work with Dr. Clark, I have been very impressed with his caring and sensitive nature and his interest in attending to issues of true diversity. In some ways these students may appear to be similar in issues such as race, but their backgrounds are so varied in terms of class and social background that it needs to be recognized from the beginning. Dr. Clark has had an interest in deeper understandings of diverse populations.”


Outstanding Researcher Award (Junior)


zimmerman_sml.jpgThe recipient of the 2012 Outstanding Researcher Award is Heather Zimmerman, assistant professor of instructional systems. This award recognizes faculty members for exemplary performance in the conduct of research.

Zimmerman is a junior faculty member in the Instructional Systems program. She came to Penn State in 2008 after graduating from the University of Washington. Her research revolves around informal science education with technology and the learning sciences. She already has 11 peer-reviewed publications in journals including the Journal of Research and Science Teaching, and a book chapter, invited by one of the most prominent figures in studies on constructivism and problem-based learning.

Susan Land, associate professor, said, “Dr. Zimmerman has earned recognition for herself as one of the only few qualified scholars with expertise in this emerging, interdisciplinary area of the literature. Her impact as a researcher has been recognized by support from external funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation.”

Alison Carr-Chellman, head of the Learning and Performance Systems department, said, “Dr. Zimmerman’s work is stellar with an excellent balance of writing, conferences, and grants. She’s able to share her ideas in such a way that she can gain clear support of funders as well as highly reputable scholars in her field. I have been most impressed by Dr. Zimmerman’s desire to do what’s right in the right way with her own research. She is an amazing scholar and I’m proud to work with her.”


Outstanding Researcher Award (Senior)


Paul MorganPaul Morgan, associate professor of special education, has earned this year’s Outstanding Researcher Award for his exemplary performance in the conduct of research.

Morgan joined the College of Education faculty in the fall of 2004. Since then he has embarked on several multidisciplinary collaborative research projects focusing on problems affecting young children’s abilities to learn and develop properly, which have resulted in 24 peer-reviewed publications in important journals including the Journal of Special Education, three book chapters, and more than 14 awarded grants and funded projects.

Susan McHale, professor of human development and director of the Social Science Research Institute, said, “Professor Morgan is not just any bright young faculty member. He stands out by virtue of his intellectual curiosity and energy, his enthusiasm for and ability to connect and work with others who approach problems from other points of view, and his efforts to work outside the box even as he applies theory and knowledge from his discipline to address significant issues in early childhood development.”

Russell Gersten, professor emeritus of the University of Oregon and executive director of the Instructional Research Group, said, “As even casual perusal of his vita reveals, the quantity of publications over a seven-year period is phenomenal. His publication record would be impressive for a full professor nearing retirement, let alone a relatively early career researcher who received his degree only seven years ago. Paul’s work has already made a substantive contribution to the field of special education and early intervention and it is still in its early phases.”


Outstanding Teaching Award


Gail BoldtGail Boldt is the winner of the 2012 Outstanding Teaching Award. This award recognizes a faculty mentor who demonstrates teaching excellence, shows respect to all students as individuals, and creates an environment conducive to learning.

Boldt is an associate professor of language and literacy education and women's studies. She also serves as coordinator for Language, Culture, and Society in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Through research, Boldt has been able to understand the diversity of student learners and incorporates technology and a variety of teaching techniques into her undergraduate courses to engage students, and she encourages her colleagues to do the same.

Carla Zembal-Saul, department head of Curriculum and Instruction, said of Boldt, “I am impressed by her ability to integrate together theory and practice in ways that are accessible and meaningful to student, as well as her attention to creating an intellectually engaging and technology-rich learning environment in which students are willing to take risks and share ideas. I know no one more deserving of recognition for their unique pedagogical approaches and exemplary use of technology than Dr. Boldt.”

Alexandra Tipton, a former student of Boldt’s, said, “One of the main things I truly loved about class with Professor Boldt was that she did not tell me what to think, but guided my thinking as a professional. She never told me what she believed to be right or wrong about teaching. However, she guided me to discover and question for myself what type of teacher I wanted to be and how I can achieve that image.”


Career Achievement Award


Barbara GrabowskiBarbara Grabowski is the recipient of the Career Achievement Award, which recognizes a tenured faculty member for superior leadership, scholarship, teaching, and research in education.

Grabowski, a professor of instructional systems, has been a College of Education faculty member for 22 years. Since her arrival in 1990, she has taught 21 different courses for the Instructional Systems program and for World Campus, and she has chaired 28 dissertation committees. Her research has been supported by more than $5 million in grants and contracts resulting in three book publications, 37 journal articles, 16 book chapters, and several presentations across the globe.

Grabowski’s dedication to designing and developing effective learning environments had led her to offer more graduate courses than any other faculty member in the education program, and to be the first to develop online courses in the Instructional Systems program. Through work with NASA, Grabowski has also been able to help develop the Web Enhanced Learning Environment Strategies Reflection Tool.

In addition to serving on several departmental, collegiate, and university committees, Grabowski has worked as a reviewer for national and international journals—including the International Journal of Educational Media and Technology and the Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology. She served as a board member of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, and as a director for nine years and president for six years of the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance, and Instruction.

Frank Dwyer, professor emeritus of education, spoke highly of the award winner, saying, “I am and have been very impressed with Barbara’s sustained productivity in the leadership, research, and professional service dimensions of the profession—along with her outstanding contributions to the teaching dimension, It is a rarity to find an individual who has the capacity and motivation to excel in all dimensions.”

A former advisee and now colleague of Grabowski, Tiffany Koszalka, said, “Barbara’s passion is continuously demonstrated in the quality of her work, the advice she bestows to her students, the ongoing collaborations she maintains globally, and the smile on her face when she engages in her work with others. Her name comes up often as a resource during discussions about instructional design, technology integration practices, generative learning, and successful women in our field. Her career is long, distinguished and impactful.”


Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award


zbiek_sml.jpgRose Mary Zbiek has been named the winner of the 2012 Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award. This award is made possible by Joan and David Cotterill. It recognizes a senior faculty or staff member for exemplary performance and leadership efforts, and provides resources for professionally related activities, including participation in conferences, seminars, and sabbaticals.

Zbiek, professor of mathematics education, has been a member of the College of Education for nearly 10 years. She joined the Penn State faculty after a decade of teaching mathematics and mathematics education at The University of Iowa. Her current research blends a focus on the mathematical understandings of secondary mathematics teachers with a concentration in classroom use of mathematics technology to study relationships among mathematical understandings, technological expertise, and classroom practice of beginning and experienced secondary school mathematics teachers.

Zbiek serves as a senior faculty associate for the Mid-Atlantic Center for Mathematics Teaching and Learning. She also is associate editor of the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education. Zbiek is a co-editor of the Pennsylvania of Teachers of Mathematics Yearbook and the series editor of Essential Understandings, a 16-book series on the mathematical content for teachers in Grades PreK–12 published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Her publications also include 20 journal articles and 31 book chapters.

David Monk, dean of the College of Education, said, “Rose Zbiek is a remarkably talented and accomplished faculty member who is providing outstanding leadership for the College. She is extraordinarily thoughtful and careful in all of her pursuits and inspires confidence at every turn. We are grateful for Dr. Zbiek’s leadership, and it is very fitting to recognize her contributions with the Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award.”