Wilkes University recognized 13 faculty and staff members at the 2020 Teacher Recognition and Effectiveness Committee (TREC) Awards Ceremony. The recipients of this year’s awards are:
Jennifer Thomas, associate professor of psychology, received the Carpenter Award for Teaching. The award, considered Wilkes’ highest honor for teaching, recognizes an outstanding member of the faculty and includes a $1,000 award and framed certificate. The awardee is nominated by his or her full-time colleagues and must have been a full-time employee for at least three years.
In nomination letters submitted by three colleagues, Thomas was recognized for stellar classroom instruction, her commitment to ongoing research and mentoring students through the process. In his letter, Kyle Kreider, professor of political science, writes, “Dr. Thomas is dedicated to her students, has mastered the art of teaching and has consistently demonstrated her commitment to her profession and practice by mentoring numerous psychology students.”
Thomas’s teaching approach emphasizes research-based techniques to foster engagement and critical thinking, while instilling a sense of social responsibility in her students. Among her research interests are college students’ interest and engagement in gender-equality activism. In partnership with Ellen Newell, associate professor of psychology, , Thomas works with students to examine women’s physiological reactions to stress to better understand their resilience versus vulnerability to sexism. Thomas also researches factors associated with how students learn and their achievement in the classroom.
Thomas is the coordinator for the psychology department and directs the Women’s and Gender Studies minor. She also coordinates the Women’s and Gender Studies conference in partnership with King’s College. The annual conference gives Women’s and Gender Studies students the opportunity to present their capstone projects that investigate a range of relevant topics. The conference also hosts a keynote speaker. Each year, approx. 300 students attend.
Other awards and honorees are:
- Carole Baddour, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, received the Innovative and Non-Traditional Teaching Award. Students nominate faculty for the award that recognizes a teacher who successfully incorporates innovative or nontraditional strategies into at least one class. Teaching innovation includes effective
small group, collaborative methods; advanced use of technology in the classroom; consistent student-centered, interactive classroom experience; engagement in outside-the-classroom learning experiences that enrich student mastery of concepts and theories; and engaging students in joint faculty-student research projects.
- Sean Kelly, associate professor of English, received the Scholarship Award. This is awarded to a faculty member who demonstrates commendable success in the area of research and scholarly activity that influences Wilkes University and its students.
- Troy Lynn Lewis, assistant professor of pharmacy practice, received the Outstanding New Faculty Award. The award recognizes one full-time, non-visiting faculty member in his or her second or third year of full-time teaching at Wilkes University who demonstrates excellence in teaching, advising and service. The awardee is nominated by his or her department chair.
- Andrew Miller, assistant professor of political science, and Jeffrey Stratford, associate professor of biology, were awarded the Interdisciplinary Award. The award recognizes one cross-disciplinary team of teachers that demonstrates outstanding initiatives in the classroom to further the ideals of interdisciplinary learning.
- Abas Sabouni, associate professor of electrical engineering, received the Alumni Mentoring Award. The winner is nominated by alumni to recognize a teacher who continues to mentor students post-graduation.
- Genevieve Singer, office assistant in chemistry, received the Academic Support Award. This award is given to a member of the Wilkes University staff who facilitates classroom or experiential initiatives and learning among students. Academic support is defined as an individual who is not on faculty at Wilkes, but participates in educational offerings including classroom activities, laboratory activities, or coordination of experiential learning opportunities.
- Dina Udomsak, part-time faculty member in First Year Foundations, was awarded the Adjunct Faculty Award. The award goes to an adjunct faculty instructor who demonstrates excellence in teaching through innovative practices and forming relationships with students.
The Outstanding Advisor Award recognizes academic advisors from individual schools and colleges who are nominated by students for demonstrating excellence in academic advising based on load, advising philosophy and testimony by advisees. This year’s recipients are:
- Linda Gutierrez, assistant professor of biology, received the Outstanding Advisor Award for the College of Science & Engineering.
- Steven Kheloussi, assistant professor of pharmacy practice, received the Outstanding Advisor Award for the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy.
- Andrew Miller, assistant professor of political science, received the Outstanding Advisor Award for the College of Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences.
- Ken Wang, associate professor of finance, received the Outstanding Advisor Award for the Sidhu School of Business.