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Wilkes University Recognizes Faculty and Staff With 2020 President’s Awards for Excellence

by Gabrielle D'Amico

Five Wilkes University faculty and staff members were honored with the 2020 President’s Awards for Excellence. The awards, presented by Wilkes President Greg Cant, recognize individuals who reflect excellence in their work based on the University’s core values. This is the fifth year for the awards program.

A video acknowledging all winners can be viewed by clicking here.

Wei Du, assistant professor of electrical engineering and physics, was the recipient of the President’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship for his efforts in advancing knowledge through discovery and research to better educate Wilkes constituents. Du was recognized for contributions to physics and electrical engineering programs, including his research on silicon (Si) technique and the impact on photonic devices, components for creating, manipulating and detecting light. In the past three years, Du published 15 peer-reviewed journal papers and 14 conference papers.

Jason Wagner, application developer for the Office of Technology for Teaching and Learning, received the President’s Award for Excellence in Innovation for his efforts in promoting programs, ideas and sustainable practices. Wagner was recognized for his problem-solving and solution-driven skills which enriched face-to-face and virtual experiences during the pandemic. Wagner created new systems so that classes were easily identified by program format and he was instrumental in developing the University’s COVID-19 tracking dashboard.

Brian Bogert, director of institutional research, was honored with the President’s Award for Excellence in Community for his efforts in collaborating with others on campus with mutual respect to foster a sense of belonging. Bogert was recognized for his work on the Wilkes Self-Study for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an important process to reaffirm the University’s accreditation. As the director of institutional research, Bogert is instrumental in collecting and sharing data with the campus community in order to provide numerical context and aid in data-driven decisions.

Shelli Holt-Macey, director of experiential programs in the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy, received the President’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring for her efforts in nurturing individuals to understand and act on their abilities while challenging them to achieve great things. Holt-Macey was recognized for mentoring and guiding pharmacy students working at clinical practice sites. During the pandemic, Holt-Macey was key to rearranging many of these placements so that students could graduate on time while enjoying safe and meaningful clinical experiences.

Ellen Newell, associate professor of psychology, was honored with the President’s Award for Excellence in Diversity for her efforts in embracing differences and uniqueness through sincerity, awareness, inclusion and sensitivity. Newell was recognized for her work with the University’s Council on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity, and the Year of the Vote, a collaborative interdisciplinary project that explores issues and challenges that women have historically faced. Newell’s activism and allyship efforts increase awareness of today’s most important societal issues among the campus community.

University faculty or staff members can nominate anyone in the Wilkes community for the awards. The nominations are shared with senior administration for feedback, with the final recipients determined by the president.

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