College of Education honors faculty, staff and student award winners

April 04, 2012

Penn State's College of Education honored the significant contributions and achievements of eight of its members with 2012 faculty, staff and student awards. The awardees were honored at a reception held on April 4, at the Nittany Lion Inn on the University Park campus.

The following award winners were selected based on nomination letters and demonstrations of dedication and service to the college and community. 

Graduate Student Recognition Award - Kortney Sherbine

Outstanding Staff Award - Susan Hunter

Climate Enhancement Award - Robert Clark

Outstanding Researcher Award (junior) - Heather Zimmerman

Outstanding Researcher Award (senior) - Paul Morgan

Outstanding Teaching Award - Gail Boldt

Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award - Rose Mary Zbiek

Career Achievement Award - Barbara Grabowski

Graduate Student Recognition Award 

Kortney Sherbine is the 2012 recipient of the Graduate Student Recognition Award. This award recognizes a graduate student’s contributions to research and teaching, and it honors outstanding scholarship, dedication to education, and promise of professional excellence.

Sherbine is a graduate teaching assistant to associate professor Gail Boldt. For the past two years she has served in the Language and Literacy Education undergraduate program in Curriculum and Instruction, teaching two courses--LLED 400: Methods of Teaching Reading and LLED 401: Methods of Teaching Language Arts -- in collaboration with Boldt to prepare students to be successful literacy instructors. Before beginning her graduate studies, Sherbine was developing innovative practices to engage students she worked with in an urban, impoverished area where access to Internet and digital technology where very limited. She has also made several presentations at conferences across the nation and abroad, her most recent being at the University of East London, examining “Bieber culture.”

Outstanding Staff Award 

This year’s recipient of the Outstanding Staff Award is Susan Hunter. The award honors a staff member who contributes in significant ways to the quality of life within the college, ultimately enabling the success of administrators, faculty, and students. Nominees must have at least five years of full-time employment with the College of Education.

Hunter, a financial assistant, manages the everyday operational costs of the NASA Aerospace Education Services Project (AESP) in the College of Education. The past few years of the program have required a high level of financial activity--including major changes in budget and reductions in personnel that demanded extensive work. AESP has relied heavily on Hunter on several occasions to ensure that the financial processes were adequately staffed. In one instance, Hunter was asked to cover for a retiring project assistant in Florida at the Kennedy Space Center. She worked effectively there for more than a month, fulfilling a great need of the Center.

Climate Enhancement Award

Robert Clark is the recipient of this year’s Climate Enhancement Award, which recognizes contributions to the pursuit of the college's diversity agenda.

Clark, associate professor of workforce education and development, began his professional work at Penn State in the fall of 2008, and has since demonstrated an unwavering commitment to issues of diversity within the College of Education. For the past two years he has actively served on the College of Education’s Diversity and Community Enhancement Committee, and he has established a diversity committee within the Learning and Performance Systems Department in order to promote an environment that is conducive to scholarship and learning and is respectful to diverse backgrounds.

Outstanding Researcher Award (Junior)

The recipient of the 2012 Outstanding Researcher Award is Heather Zimmerman, assistant professor of instructional systems. This award recognizes faculty members for exemplary performance in the conduct of research.

Zimmerman is a junior faculty member in the instructional systems program. She came to Penn State in 2008 after graduating from the University of Washington. Her research revolves around informal science education with technology and the learning sciences. She already has 11 peer-reviewed publications in journals including the Journal of Research and Science Teaching, and a book chapter, invited by one of the most prominent figures in studies on constructivism and problem-based learning.

Outstanding Researcher Award (Senior)

Paul Morgan, associate professor of special education, has earned this year’s Outstanding Researcher Award for his exemplary performance in the conduct of research.

Morgan joined the College of Education faculty in the fall of 2004. Since then he has embarked on several multidisciplinary collaborative research projects focusing on problems affecting young children’s abilities to learn and develop properly, which have resulted in 24 peer-reviewed publications in important journals including the Journal of Special Education, three book chapters, and more than 14 awarded grants and funded projects.

Outstanding Teaching Award

Gail Boldt is winner of the 2012 Outstanding Teaching Award. This award recognizes a faculty mentor who demonstrates teaching excellence, shows respect to all students as individuals, and creates an environment conducive to learning.

Boldt is an associate professor of language and literacy education and women's studies. She also serves as coordinator for Language, Culture, and Society in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Through research, Boldt has been able to understand the diversity of student learners and incorporates technology and a variety of teaching techniques into her undergraduate courses to engage students, and she encourages her colleagues to do the same.

Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award

Rose Mary Zbiek has been named the winner of the 2012 Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award. This award is made possible by Joan and David Cotterill. It recognizes a senior faculty or staff member for exemplary performance and leadership efforts, and provides resources for professionally related activities, including participation in conferences, seminars, and sabbaticals.

Zbiek, professor of mathematics education, has been a member of the College of Education for nearly 10 years. She joined the Penn State faculty after a decade of teaching mathematics and mathematics education at The University of Iowa. Her current research blends a focus on the mathematical understandings of secondary mathematics teachers with a concentration in classroom use of mathematics technology to study relationships among mathematical understandings, technological expertise, and classroom practice of beginning and experienced secondary school mathematics teachers.

Zbiek serves as a senior faculty associate for the Mid-Atlantic Center for Mathematics Teaching and Learning. She also is associate editor of the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education. Zbiek is a co-editor of the "Pennsylvania of Teachers of Mathematics Yearbook" and the series editor of "Essential Understandings," a 16-book series on the mathematical content for teachers in Grades PreK-12 published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Her publications also include 20 journal articles and 31 book chapters.

Career Achievement Award

Barbara Grabowski is recipient of the Career Achievement Award, which recognizes a tenured faculty member for superior leadership, scholarship, teaching, and research in education.

Grabowski, a professor of instructional systems, has been a College of Education faculty member for 22 years. Since her arrival at Penn State in 1990, she has taught 21 different courses for the Instructional Systems program and for World Campus, and she has chaired 28 dissertation committees. Her research has been supported by more than $5 million in grants and contracts resulting in three book publications, 37 journal articles, 16 book chapters, and several presentations across the globe.

Grabowski’s dedication to designing and developing effective learning environments had led her to offer more graduate courses than any other faculty member in the education program, and to be the first to develop online courses in the Instructional Systems program. Through work with NASA, Grabowski has also been able to help develop the Web Enhanced Learning Environment Strategies Reflection Tool.

In addition to serving on several departmental, collegiate, and university committees, Grabowski has worked as a reviewer for national and international journals -- including the International Journal of Educational Media and Technology and the Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology. She served as a board member of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, and as a director for nine years and president for six years of the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance, and Instruction.

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Last Updated April 10, 2012