Faculty, staff honored at awards convocation

Six faculty members and two staffers received major college honors as part of Penn State Harrisburg’s annual Awards Convocation.

Those honored 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 Poyrazl, 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.

Barbara A. Sims
Three major accomplishments were cited in nominating Sims for the Research and Scholarly Activity Award. 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,” the nominator says. She is also a member of the "One Million Dollar Club," for being a part of projects that have generated more than $1 million in external grant support for the college.

Peter B. Idowu
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 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.”

John R. Haddad
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 Award for Excellence in Teaching. One nominator 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.”

Jane S. Kochanov
For her commitment to students and their praise for her effectiveness, Kochanov earned the 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. She has been very effective in helping students understand academic policy and the specific requirements of their respective majors.”

J. Mitchell Spear
For his dedicated service beyond his normal job responsibilities, Spear was recommended by a several nominators for the Staff Service Award. One nominator notes Spear’s service to the Environmental Engineering program, the school, the college, professional organizations, and the local and regional community as evidence of his commitment. “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.”

Senel Poyrazli
Well-known on campus and in the external community for her dedication to diversity issues, Poyrazli earned the 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 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender 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.

Donna J. Howard
For her many years of dedication to the cause of increasing the awareness and appreciation of diversity on campus, Donna received the 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, Howard 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.

Kimetta R. Hairston
With an ongoing commitment through her teaching, research, and community involvement to provide opportunities and open doors for women to reach their career goals, Hairston’s was 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, 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.

Also recognized for their retirements from the University during the past year were: Carol A. Dell, administrative support assistant; Sue Etter, administrative support staff; Steve Hevner, manager of public relations and publications; Joseph Kepp, painter/locks and hardware mechanic; Kathleen Ritter, staff assistant VI ; and Kenneth Watson, maintenance foreman.

Receiving chairs for 25 years of service were: Rebecca Dolan, administrative support assistant III; Karen Joseph, staff assistant ; Jeffery Mace, boiler mechanic grade 3 ; Donald Pell, utility worker grade 4 ; and Ugur Yucelt, associate professor of marketing .

Last Updated May 10, 2010