Faculty and staff recognized at awards ceremony - 2010

Each year, Penn State Harrisburg recognizes faculty and staff excellence at its annual Recognition Program.

This year, four School of Humanities faculty members, a police services officer, and a member of the School of Science, Engineering, and Technology faculty were presented coveted awards.

The award winners included:

  • Barbara A. Sims, Professor of Criminal Justice,  Excellence in Research and Scholarly Activity Award;
  • Peter B. Idowu, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, Faculty Service Award;
  • John R. Haddad, Associate Professor of American Studies and Literature, Excellence in Teaching Award;
  • Jane S. Kochanov, Instructor in Information Systems, Excellence in Advising Award;
  • J. Mitchell Spear, Laboratory Supervisor, Staff Service Award;
  • Senel Poyrazli, Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology, Faculty Diversity Award;
  • Donna J. Howard, Assistant Director of Campus Life and Intercultural Affairs, Staff Diversity Award, and
  • Kimetta R. Hairston, Assistant Professor of Education, Kathryn Towns Women’s History Month Award

Dr. Barbara A. Sims

Three major accomplishments were cited by one faculty member in nominating Barbara Sims for the Penn State Harrisburg Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarly Activity. They include her long record of research and scholarly productivity, her generation of significant research funding, and service in the areas of teaching and citizenship within the college and University. “Dr. Sims has published over a score of refereed journal articles, has edited two books, has written more than a dozen parts of books, and has made nearly 50 presentations at academic and professional meetings – all since she began her academic career in 1997,” one nominator says. Additionally, she is a member of the “One Million Dollar Club,” being a part of projects that have generated more than $1 million in external grant support. “Dr. Sims uses the research findings to explore important issues in the field of criminal justice,” a nominator writes. “Thus, the funded research generates publications,” a nominator adds. “She then uses the results of that research and writing in her classroom.” “Testifying to a strong balance among the different expectations we have of our faculty, I am confident Dr. Sims exceeds the criteria for the award,” a letter in support states.

Dr. Peter B. Idowu

Peter Idowu’s “willingness to go beyond normal duties in helping students achieve their academic and professional goals,” is one of the attributes noted by a faculty colleague in nominating him for the Penn State Harrisburg Faculty Service Award. “While his concentration has been on finding ways to enhance graduate program offerings, Peter has still managed to serve on several search and other significant committees,” a nominator writes. “In addition, he has served on numerous college and University-wide committees with significant levels of involvement and leadership responsibilities. Furthermore, his service-related credentials include many activities in a wide range of professional, public, and community projects.” Currently the coordinator of the Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering and Engineering Science programs, Dr. Idowu is termed the “driving force” behind the implementation of the Master of Professional Studies in Engineering Management as well as curricular innovations in other programs. He also is actively involved in both undergraduate and graduate teaching and advising in addition to serving on various faculty governance bodies. A nomination letter states, “Dr. Idowu’s well-deserved enthusiasm to service was awarded when he was selected as the Administrative Fellow to the Executive Vice President and Provost from August 2007 to July 2008.”

Dr. John R. Haddad

John Haddad’s effective balancing of his many roles and responsibilities in the School of Humanities while maintaining a strong commitment to teaching are cited as prime examples for honoring him with the Penn State Harrisburg Award for Excellence in Teaching. One nominator who team taught a course with Dr. Haddad writes, “I have direct experience with his presence in the classroom. He forges connections with his students and establishes an atmosphere of personable collegiality, which promotes respectfulness and encourages risk-taking. He reserves his pedagogical innovation for maintaining dynamic and relevant content, and for establishing a high level of student engagement with the material.” From his arrival at the college in 2003, Dr. Haddad has enriched the American studies undergraduate and graduate programs and played a key role in the establishment of the doctoral program. He directed the college Honors Program for two years and extended his teaching beyond his School of Humanities classroom through his integral involvement in the English immersion program which hosted Korean educators for month-long sessions during the summer. “John is receptive to collaborative teaching and open with his experiences in the classroom. I deeply admire and respect his teaching,” a nominator notes.

Jane S. Kochanov

For her commitment to students and their praise for her effectiveness, Jane S. Kochanov is the 2010 recipient of the Penn State Harrisburg Faculty Advising Award. “Jane has not been limited to advising students in a specific major or program,” one nominator notes. “Rather, her various roles in our school have made her an important figure in the academic lives of virtually all of our business and information sciences and technology (IST) students.” For many years, she has been a regular participant in AARP sessions and FTCAP, establishing advising relationships early with first-year students. And as the school’s director of undergraduate studies, she regularly shapes the academic paths and future careers of upper division students in all business and IST majors. “She has been very effective in helping students understand academic policy and the specific requirements of their respective majors,” a nominator says. “And in addition to working closely with so many advisees and other students, Jane also shares her advising knowledge and expertise with her colleagues, taking the initiative to develop and deliver an annual student advising workshop for new faculty.”

J. Mitchell Spear

For his dedicated service well beyond his normal job responsibilities, Mitch was recommended by a number of nominators as worthy of the Penn State Harrisburg Staff Service Award. One nominator noted Mitch’s service to the Environmental Engineering program, the school, the college, professional organizations, and the local and regional community as evidence of his commitment. “Much of what Mitch does now was never a part of his original job description. His duties expand every time we ask him to take on another new responsibility,” it is noted. With his busy lab schedule, he still finds time to actively participate in activities that benefit the growth of the school and its academic programs. “Mitch is an active member of the Society of Environmental Engineers and volunteers to assist the annual Earth Day celebration on campus. He is also involved in outreach programs such as tours with high school students, Kids College, and Environmental Training Center course development, as well as serving on the college Conservation Committee and as a judge at the Capital Area Science and Engineering Fair,” a nominator says. Described as “energetic and cheerful,” Mitch “personifies the ‘beyond the usual’ characterization,” several nominators write. “He does so much without ever making a big deal of it. People like him are gold to an organization.”

Dr. Senel Poyrazli

Well-known both on campus and in the external community for her dedication to diversity issues, Senel Poyrazli earns the 2010 Faculty Diversity Award. Of special concern to her is encouraging the understanding and acceptance of different groups of individuals. One nominator states, “She is a leader in teaching multicultural competency and for integrating GLBT issues into her classes.” Her research also exemplifies her commitment to ease the struggles of international students in their adaptation to American education as well as refugees, especially women, in their attempts to assimilate into life in the U.S. That research has examined topics as broad as evaluating the effectiveness of charter schools for low-income, African American, and Latino children, the experience of international students, and the adjustment of immigrant children to life in the U.S. A nominator adds, “Dr. Poyrazli mentors international students and scholars, serves on a variety of diversity-related committees on campus and in her profession, and is actively involved with the Pennsylvania Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Network.”

Donna J. Howard

For her many years of dedication to the cause of increasing the awareness and appreciation of diversity on campus, Donna is the recipient of this year’s Staff Diversity Award. “Donna works closely with our international student population and is often their first contact here on campus,” one nominator writes. “She strives to learn about the cultures of the students while introducing them to American culture. And she makes each and every international student feel warm, comfortable, safe, and included.” A tireless Diversity and Educational Equity Committee member for more than 10 years and the chair of its Training Subcommittee, Donna has worked on a number of major initiatives to benefit the college, including the chairmanship of the Martin Luther King Jr. poster design contest committee. A University employee for more than 25 years, Donna’s goal, as she says, is “to understand the barriers that others may face in their everyday lives.” Another nominator adds, “For all she does to promote the acceptance of others, Donna Howard richly deserves the Staff Diversity Award.”

Dr. Kimetta R. Hairston

With an on-going commitment through her teaching, research, and community involvement to provide opportunities and open doors for women to reach their career goals, Dr. Kimetta Hairston’s advocacy is being recognized with the Kathryn Towns Award. “Although the foundation of her research involves women of color, her ultimate goal is to unite all women to come together to mentor and support each other in reconstructing their self-worth and finding success in the workplace,” one nominator writes. Currently, Dr. Hairston’s research involves the integration of diversity into the higher education curricula and professional workplace environments through “The Four Stages of Diversity.” This continuing research is leading her advocacy on issues regarding women and self-efficacy in society and in higher education. She is also involved in creating positive neighborhood outreach efforts to allow young black and Latino women to reach out to their local communities through education and service. In recognition of her active community service efforts, Dr. Hairston was awarded the 2008 Black Achievers Community Service Award and the 2009 African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Pennsylvania’s Community Service Award.

Also recognized at the event were employees who have retired in the past year. They include:

  • Administrative Support Assistant Carol A. Dell
  • Administrative Support Staff Sue Etter
  • Marketing Research and Communications Public Relations Manager Steven D. Hevner
  • Painter/Locks and Hardware Mechanic Joseph F. Kepp
  • Staff Assistant VI Kathleen Ritter
  • Maintenance Foreman Kenneth D. Watson

Celebrating 25 years of employment with the University are:

  • Administrative Support Assistant III Rebecca M. Dolan
  • Staff Assistant Karen S. Joseph
  • Boiler Mechanic Grade 3 Keffery S. Mace
  • Utility Worker Grade 4 Donald E. Pell
  • Associate Professor of Marketing Ugur Yucelt