Dr. Michael L. Barton
Dr. Michael L. Barton
Image: Penn State

College applauds faculty, staff award winners


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:

Professor of Humanities and Philosophy, Glen Mazis – Excellence in Research and Scholarly Activity;
Professor of American Studies and Social Science, Michael Barton – Faculty Service Award;
Associate Professor of Humanities and Communications, Peter Kareithi –Excellence in Teaching Award;
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Richard Ciocci – Faculty Advising Award;
Police Services Officer Marlene Sherwin – Staff Service Award; and
Professor of Humanities and English, Patricia Johnson – Kathryn Towns Women’s History Month Award.

With prolific research and publication accomplishments, Mazis is described as “one of the most impressive and wide-ranging philosophers writing today.” His extensive record of publications includes four sole-authored books, including his most recent Humans, Animals and Machines: Blurred Boundaries, 18 articles in refereed journals, 10 book chapters, and 68 poems published in a wide array of literary journals. As a scholar, he is an internationally regarded expert on the work of French philosopher and phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty.

Barton’s longstanding commitment to students, coupled with his leadership and ongoing involvement with a wide range of Central Pennsylvania historical associations are cited as examples of his work in service to the college and community. A recognized expert and author on the history of Harrisburg, Barton has paired with a number of institutions in the area, including the Historical Society of Dauphin County and the City of Harrisburg to provide students the opportunity to undertake local history projects.

Kareithi, termed an “inspirational, passionate, and electrifying” teacher, has earned accolades from former and current students and his faculty peers. His “passion for the subject matter, broad and deep understanding of both Western and non-Western history, and commitment to student learning” were singled out as among his strengths in the classroom. With a growing reputation for teaching excellence, Kareithi has also been named the 2009 winner of the Graduate Faculty Teaching Award presented by the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools.

For his ongoing efforts to serve students and his involvement in the University’s Firsts-Year Testing, Counseling and Advising Program (FTCAP), Ciocci was termed the “ideal candidate” for the advising award. He was one of the first two School of Science, Engineering, and Technology faculty members to become involved with FTCAP when the college began admitting first-year students and he has taught the school’s first-year seminar continuously since its first offering. In advising students, Ciocci has also adapted his strategies to include the Electronic Advising Records System and has become adept with eLion and ANGEL in assisting his advisees.

Sherwin’s endless commitment to law enforcement – both on campus and in the external community – were cited as prime reasons for her receiving the service award. She is an active member of the Capital Region Forensics Unit, the County and Police Critical Incident Team, and is now serving on the Dauphin County Child Abduction Response Team. She has been an instructor for HACC’s Municipal Police Academy, Pa. Sheriff’s Academy, and Pa. Constables Academy. On campus, Sherwin organized a rape, aggression, and defense class, received grants for education and training, and lectures to classes.

Johnson was presented the Towns Award which goes to a faculty or staff member who has demonstrated a commitment to heightening the awareness of issues and concerns impacting women. Her role in developing the Women’s Studies program at the college and her research and writing on the lives of poor working women in Victorian England were two examples of Johnson’s commitment to women’s issues. Her personal effort to assist female students facing family, economic, health, and cultural issues was also noted.


Also recognized at the event were employees who have retired in the past year. They include: Staff Assistant Anita Alleman, Administrative Support Assistant Marilyn Demey, Associate Professor Emerita of Criminal Justice M.A. DuPont-Morales, Administrative Support Assistant Samruai Leto, Janitorial Worker Mary Garman, Information Technology Manager Theresa Majzlik, Associate Professor Emeritus of Managerial Economics and Statistics Jacob De Rooy, and Maintenance Worker Vernon Witmer.

Celebrating 25 years of employment with the University are: Administrative Support Assistant Carol Dell, Assistant Director of Continuing and Distance Education Karen Karnes, Mechanical Engineering Lab Coordinator Terry Kelley, Maintenance Worker Vernon Witmer, Assistant Director of Residence Life George Young, and Professor of Management and Health Care Systems James Ziegenfuss Jr.