College of Arts and Architecture recognizes faculty, staff for achievements

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Three College of Arts and Architecture faculty and staff members were honored with awards for outstanding service earlier this year: Mark Lusk, professor of music (trombone), received the Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching; Eric McKee, associate professor of music theory, received the Award for Excellence in Advising and Mentoring; and Lorraine Reitz, administrative support coordinator, Stuckeman School, received the Staff Award for Outstanding Service.

A member of the School of Music faculty since 1986, Mark Lusk has been so successful in recruiting trombone majors that he has assumed a voluntary teaching overload for many years. According to Sue Haug, director of the School of Music, his work with the Trombone Choir is a stellar example of his teaching success. Under his guidance and tutelage, the Trombone Choir’s performances have contributed in many ways to the school’s visibility and reputation. His reputation as a teacher-performer and his contacts in the profession have resulted in his being invited to serve as an artist/clinician with the Courtois Instrument Co. In addition to giving Lusk and his students access to quality instruments, it provides travel support and outreach activities, including participating in area band festivals.

Lusk has been recognized by his trombone students, who have repeatedly given his teaching the highest rating; alumni who consistently return to campus for his events; and colleagues who appreciate him as “a consummate musician, caring and compassionate teacher, and a tireless worker.” One alumnus reflected that “so much of Mark’s teaching is based on his greatest cherished principle: ‘We’re all in this boat together.’ Getting on board that boat has turned out to be one of my best decisions.”

Described as a hands-on adviser, helping students to develop their topics through the kind of patient conversation and exploration for which there is no substitute nor shortcut, Eric McKee has developed a prodigious and loyal following of students, current and former. Add to the mix the respect of his fellow faculty members, and he is continuously sought out for advice and guidance. McKee joined the faculty in 1992. In addition to serving as an adviser for the School of Music’s bachelor of arts in music degree program, he teaches foundational courses in music theory, taken by all undergraduate music majors, as well as upper level special topics music theory classes and a general education course (film music).

Charles Youmans, associate professor of musicology and fellow adviser, attests to McKee’s dedication to his students and the school. “Along with his regular duties as one of two bachelor of arts advisers, he has served in the past two years on four Schreyer Honors thesis committees; four bachelor of art senior project committees; six bachelor of music student recital committees; three master of arts thesis committees; three master of music paper committees; 10 graduate oral exam committees; four master of music recital committees; two doctoral dissertation committees; and three doctoral comprehensive exam committees. The word is obviously out, and we might regard him as a victim of his own success if it were not clear that he thrives on this work.”

Lorraine Reitz started in 2012 as the administrative support coordinator for the H. Campbell and Eleanor R. Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Nathaniel Belcher, director of the Stuckeman School, praised her: “Lorraine has worked tirelessly to create an inclusive and healthy environment. She has maintained a positive management style in the face of some dramatic events and requests.”

Repeatedly praised for always meeting every challenge with grace and patience, Reitz serves as an advocate and counselor to the staff while skillfully guiding the faculty through policies and procedures, and maintaining an atmosphere of cooperation and efficiency.


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Last Updated January 09, 2015