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Faculty and staff recognized for excellence

Faculty member recognized for teaching excellence

Dr. David Aurentz, associate professor of chemistry, was awarded the 2012 Outstanding Full-Time Teacher Award. Aurentz teaches various levels of chemistry courses, from Introductory Chemistry to Laboratory and Organic Chemistry. He is a passionate teacher, who is well respected by the students, who have said that he is a great motivator, possessing excellent teaching skills.  His sustained level of teaching excellence over the years has been exhibited since he joined the campus in 2005. Not only does his creative and learner-centered teaching style foster student engagement, but it demonstrates his love for chemistry in daily teaching. This award recognizes a full-time faculty member who has worked at the college for at least three years and has demonstrated exceptional commitment to teaching.

Part-time faculty member receives outstanding teaching award

Dr. Erin Johnson, Instructor of Psychology, was awarded the Outstanding Part-Time Teaching Award. In addition to her record of excellence in teaching, her nomination is reflective of her students’ comments and feedback. She teaches two sections of Psych 100 per semester, usually with a minimum of fifty students per section. Student comments praise her ability to relate subject material to her experience as a psychologist, and her organization of the course. This award recognizes a part-time faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to students and effectiveness of instruction that exceeds normal expectations.

Faculty member recognized for outstanding advising

Dr. Ken Fifer, professor of English, received the Outstanding Advising Award. According to one nomination, Fifer’s advising responsibilities demonstrate dedication and passion, and these qualities are reflective of a faculty member who is committed to excellence. He started an academic success program, with a goal of helping students who are academically challenged, offering them guidance and personal attention. Fifer strives to accommodate advisees and contacts them regularly, in addition to providing information about other units on campus, such as the Learning Center and Disability Services, which serve as resources to these students. Fifer’s contribution to retention is extremely valuable, while his contribution to advising is an asset to the college. This award recognizes a full-time faculty member who has worked at the college for at least three years and has demonstrated exceptional commitment to students.

Faculty member recognized for outstanding research

Dr. Abdullah Konak, associate professor of Information Sciences and Technology, has been awarded the Outstanding Research Award. Konak’s research interests include the modeling, analysis, and optimization of complex systems using computational intelligence combined with techniques from probability and statistics and from operations research. This year, he received a NSF grant for his project titled “Exploration of a Collaborative Virtual Computer Laboratory” and published seven refereed articles, two refereed conference proceedings, and a book chapter; and had two manuscripts accepted in scholarly journals. His expertise is not only valued by his colleagues, but he is active both in professional and scholarly societies. Konak regularly includes undergraduate students in his research activities. This award recognizes a full-time faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in academic research, creative activity, scholarship, and mastery of a special subject.

Faculty member recognized for outstanding service

Dr. Sadan Kulturel-Konak, associate professor of management information systems, was awarded the Outstanding Service Award. According to one nomination, Kulturel-Konak has provided an excellent level of service to the college, her profession, and society. Over the last year, she established the college’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, where she coordinates the minor in Engineering Entrepreneurship. Working with the Children and Youth Center in Kenya and students at the college enrolled in the Business and Information Sciences and Technology degree programs, she developed an international collaboration to turn electronic waste into jewelry and art, helping youth in Kenya to learn a trade. This award recognizes a full-time faculty member who has worked at the college for at least three years and has demonstrated exceptional commitment to community service.

Electrical Lab Supervisor receives Outstanding Staff Award

Jeff Wike, Electrical Lab Supervisor, received the Outstanding Staff Member Award. Over the last year, his contributions to the college’s new Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building, have been invaluable. Wike was involved in the design and layout, the procurement of equipment for engineering laboratories, and interfacing with architects on technical issues concerning the engineering areas. But his contributions aren’t confined to laboratories and equipment: He is one of the lead organizers behind the college’s annual celebration of Engineers Week; he is a mentor to students, helping seniors with their senior design project; he serves as an adviser to the Robotics Club and has guided the club to two victories in the past three years. His contributions even reach beyond the campus through his involvement in the Industrial Advisory Committee meetings for the Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology, Electrical Engineering Technology, and Mechanical Engineering Technology programs. This award recognizes a full-time staff member who has demonstrated excellence. Individuals are nominated by the college committee and chosen by a committee.

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