By Mary Leet ’16
The Faculty Development Committee recognizes faculty for excellence in experiential learning, teaching, and academic achievement through an awards program. All three awards include a $500 prize. Here is a capsule look at the 2012-13 recipients:
Excellence in Experiential Learning Award: Dr. Patricia Pulver
The Excellence in Experiential Learning Award goes to a faculty member that has demonstrated an effective practice or activity that allows students to learn through their experiences.
And that is precisely what Dr. Patricia Pulver, professor of education, does through her Master Teacher Insight Project.
Pulver believes that by observing teachers in the classroom, then discussing relevant issues and reflecting on their actions, students gather first-hand knowledge and experience that shapes them into effective teachers “a lot faster than reading textbooks.”
In addition to observing current teachers teaching, students conduct four separate interviews over the course of a semester with a teacher they know and consider a “master teacher.” Students discuss what came out of the interviews with classmates and then compose a reflective paper that summarizes what they learned.
They must identify common themes and provide “specific illustrative examples.”
Through this project, “students are able to articulate what they learned about the process and any ‘take away’ strategies that they might utilize in their future classroom,” said Pulver.
Excellence in Teaching Award: Dr. Christopher Leahy
While the traditional history lecture is still important, “students learn history best— and enjoy it more— when they actually do what historians do,” said Assistant Professor of History Dr. Christopher Leahy.
Leahy employs the historical method to teach all his classes, effectively turning what can otherwise be a dry subject into a discipline that requires critical reading, logical thinking, and persuasive and effective writing.
Students respond enthusiastically to this unique approach, calling Leahy “interesting,” “captivating,” and “the best professor I have ever had.” Shelby Seeley ‘13 noted that “Dr. Leahy is a teacher who can make even the most tedious topics interesting and intriguing.” “His classes are the ones that the students are truly excited to take,” according to Diane DePrez ‘13. “It has often been said… that it is a sad semester when you don’t have a Leahy class.”
By using primary sources and working with students to interpret them, Leahy’s students say that he makes history accessible and understandable on a relevant level.
“[He] always strives to give his students a deeper understanding not just that an event happened, but how it happened, why it had to happen, what brought it about, and what might have happened if it never did occur,” said Josh Beaver ’13..
Excellence in Academic Achievement Award: Dr. William Brown
Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. William Brown isn’t hesitant to involve students in research or have them present at professional conferences.
Recently, Brown presented a poster with collaborators from Kutztown University using data that had almost entirely been generated by students in his biostatistics classes.
Brown attended the annual meeting of the Rochester Academy of Science last fall, accompanied by undergraduates Kelsey Morgan ’15 and Amber De Jong ’16. Morgan presented her research at that meeting, and De Jong recently completed a research project of her own, “Temporal Changes in Red-shouldered Hawk Morphology,” which she will present at the 2013 meeting of the Rochester Academy of Science this fall.
In January 2012, a peer-reviewed paper composed by Janelle Davidson ’12, Brown, and ecologist Marion Zuefle was published in The Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, the leading peer-reviewed journal on the science of animal welfare. Titled “Effects of Phenotypic Characteristics on the Length of Stay of Dogs at Two No Kill Animal Shelters,” it has been read more than 800 times, making it the most-read paper published in the journal.
Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of features on recipients of the Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Award. The award, named after the late 1963 Keuka graduate, is supported by Brown’s family and the Class of ’63. It is designed to assist students pursuing culturally-oriented Field Periods.
What began as a Skype session with high school students in Assistant Professor of Education Klaudia Lorinczova’s native country of Slovakia last year has turned into a Field Period opportunity for Keuka students.
The students will have the chance to travel to Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Austria during a summer Field Period.
Junior Tyler Kroon is among those who will travel to the three European Union countries.
“I’ve been fortunate to grow up as part of a family who places a high value on experiencing other cultures, so after reading about Judith Oliver Brown, I was excited to discover her love for travel, too,” said Kroon, a unified childhood/special education major from Canandaigua.
And while Kroon may be a seasoned traveler—he’s been to such countries as Italy, Fiji, and New Zealand, among others—he expects this Field Period to be “especially eye-opening.
“We will have the opportunity visit the high school we began Skyping with, so we will have the chance to interact with those Slovakian students,” he said. “This is particularly interesting to me because I believe that our education in the U.S. is narrowly focused. I would like to bring my experiences from schools in other countries into my future classroom to provide my students with a more culturally diverse education.”
Kroon and others on the trip will tour local landmarks, town centers, castles, and manor houses. The group will also explore the cities of Prague, Nitra, Banska Stiavnia, and tour the United States Embassy in Bratislava.
“Not only do I want to learn about the culture and history of the three countries we will visit, I want to develop the ability to function and interact with the people who live there,” said Kroon. “And I want to gain an understanding of important historical and political events that have helped shape Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Austria.”
Kroon is also interested in art, “so this trip will be an amazing opportunity to take photographs of castles and other sights unique to central Europe. I’m especially hoping for free time on this trip to people-watch and sketch scenes from the various places we’ll be learning about.”
Where can a Keuka degree take you? This is the 10th in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2012.
Katlyn Rosenbauer ’12 graduated magna cum laude in May with a degree in unified childhood and special education with an emphasis in child and family studies.
The Bloomfield resident credited personal and professional connections made with Keuka faculty, staff and Field Period internship supervisors for molding her into the educator she is today. According to Rosenbauer, her student teaching “sponsor”, Kelly Donlon, a first-grade teacher in the Prattsburgh Central School District, gave her a great reference and suggested to the director of Childtime Learning centers in Penfield, N.Y. that Rosenbauer would be a good fit for a job there. While Rosenbauer has been teaching summer curriculum to school-age children at the Penfield center, she’ll become the lead teacher for preschoolers in a few weeks.
“In such a tough job market, having an impressive resume with experience really does put you one-up on everyone else applying for those same jobs post-graduation. That’s where Field Periods come into play,” Rosenbauer said, referring to Keuka’s annual internship program, which provides 140 hours of work experience or exploration each year. “I got this job before graduating which is a great feeling considering the teaching job opportunities in New York state are scarce.”
According to Rosenbauer, Keuka’s “small-school family atmosphere has truly shaped me as a professional. From the amazing education department to Field Periods to the personal connections you make, Keuka has definitely prepared me for the real world.”
To explore what might be in your future with a Keuka degree, request more information
Where can a Keuka degree take you? This is the eighth in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2012.
Chris Mazella earned a master’s degree in literacy this spring, after receiving an undergraduate degree last year in adolescent education with concentrations in social studies and special education.
He is now triple-certified in literacy, special education and social studies, a factor that “thoroughly impressed” the hiring principal at Thompson Middle School in Richmond, Va., where he accepted a post as a special education teacher for students in 7th and 8th grades.
Mazella received invitations to interview for different special education posts in five of the schools within the Richmond Public Schools district after attending a March Teacher Recruitment Day event in Rochester. The Depew resident met representatives from Richmond and stayed in contact after the event. Of the five interviews, he netted three job offers from that district.
But if it weren’t for his first Field Period internship as a freshman, Mazella might never have discovered he was a natural in the classroom. With an interest in journalism, Mazella enrolled at Keuka as an organizational communication major. But his plan to conduct his first Field Period at a newspaper failed to materialize and instead, he found himself exploring the classroom arena.
As they say, the rest is history. He came back to campus, switched his major to adolescent education and never looked back. His work-study supervisor in Keuka’s mailroom was so impressed by the growth she observed over Mazella’s four years that she nominated him for the College’s Experiential Learner of the Year award in 2011.
Mazella said he highly recommends that any student teachers seeking a position out-of-state attend Teacher Recruitment Day, facilitated at Keuka through the Center for Experiential Learning. However, the value of that networking event pales in comparison to “the dedicated faculty that helped us every step of the way,” he said, citing Keuka education professors such as Dr. Andy Beigel, Dr. Pat Pulver, and retired professor Dr. Diane Burke, as well as Dr. Chris Leahy, associate professor of history. Even his student teaching placement supervisor, Thomas Barden of Marcus Whitman High School, helped solidify the kind of teacher Mazella said he hopes to become.
“Without their guidance and support,” said Mazzella, “I would not be where I am today.”
To explore what might be in your future with a Keuka degree, request more information.
By Amanda Harrison ’12
Editor’s Note: This is the sixth of six profiles of nominees for the 2012 Student Employee of the Year award that will be presented at the Annual Student Employment Awards Luncheon April 16.
Alicia Pakusch, a senior adolescent education major, has received numerous awards and recognitions during her four years at Keuka.
Now, she’s being nominated for another: Student Employee of the Year.
Pakusch, who works for the education and social work divisions, was nominated for the award by her supervisor, Paulette Willemsen, secretary in the education division.
According to Willemsen, Pakusch is “a tremendous asset to the education and social work divisons,” and said she is “dependable, reliable, hard-working, and [comes] to work on time and with a positive attitude. She has excellent communication skills, is extremely organized, reliable, and computer literate.” (more…)