Two Shenango faculty receive awards for excellence in teaching

July 28, 2014

SHENANGO, Pa. -- Penn State Shenango recently announced the recipients of its annual full- and part-time teaching awards. Claudia Brown, instructor in human development and family studies and coordinator of the Human Development and Family Studies Program, received the 2014 Leonard R. Riforgiato Memorial Teaching Award, and Joan Humphrey, part-time instructor in kinesiology and nutrition, was awarded the 2014 Margaret Cunningham Foley Memorial Teaching Award.

The Leonard R. Riforgiato Memorial Teaching Award is a campus award bestowed on a full-time faculty member who has been chosen through a series of steps that include nominations and recommendations from students and the nominee’s peers. Riforgiato, for whom the Shenango campus teaching award is named, was an associate professor in history and the first recipient of the Penn State Shenango Teaching Award. He taught at the Shenango campus for 26 years until he passed away in 1999.

Brown has been with Penn State Shenango for 18 years. Initially hired in 1996 as a part-time instructor to teach psychology and women’s studies courses, Brown began teaching courses for the campus’ Human Development and Family Studies Program (HDFS) soon after, and in 2000 she was hired as a full-time instructor for the HDFS Program.

During her tenure, Brown has been an active faculty member who serves on numerous student and faculty committees. She currently serves as co-advisor of the HDFS Club and is an active member of the Heart of Shenango Scholarship committee, for which she was chair for two years. She has served on the campus’ Strategic Planning Committee, Development Committee, and Faculty Senate Student Affairs Committee, as well as several faculty search committees. She was also the campus representative of the Penn State Shenango Women’s Commission and a member of the Diversity Committee, subsequently charged with the responsibility of coordinating the campus’ climate survey for the University. In addition to her notable presence on campus committees, Brown supports and participates in many of the student and admission events throughout the year.

Brown has received several campus awards including the Riforgiato Teaching Award in 2005. In 2000, she received the Penn Stater of the Quarter Award, which recognizes and honors a member of the faculty, administration, staff, technical services or student body who made a significant contribution to the campus community and/or Commonwealth College, as it was then called. And in 1998, Brown was awarded the Adjunct Teacher of the Year Award (now known as the Margaret Cunningham Foley Memorial Teaching Award) in recognition of her outstanding presence as a part-time faculty member.

Brown received her bachelor of arts degree in English in 1976 from Penn State University Park where she was an English Honors student and graduated with high distinction. She continued her education at Youngstown State University, where she graduated in 1981 with a master of science degree in education, guidance and counseling.

According to her students, Brown “has a way of posing information and questions so that students and other want to learn." “This instructor cares very deeply about all of the students and this campus in general." “I believe this instructor gets as much out of the students learning as they do and gets excited for the students’ milestones and successes, as well."

The Margaret Cunningham Foley Memorial Teaching Award recognizes outstanding part-time faculty at the Shenango campus. This award was established in 1998 in honor of Margaret Foley who was a part-time English instructor at the campus from 1967 to 1994. Foley passed away in 2000.

Humphrey has been a part-time instructor at the Shenango campus since 2001, teaching courses in nutrition, kinesiology and physical therapy. She is also an adjunct faculty member at Youngstown State University where she has taught in the public health degree program.

In addition to teaching, Humphrey also is employed in the clinical setting for the Humility of Mary Health Partners in Youngstown and Warren, Ohio, where she has held positions as a clinical resource coordinator in the emergency department and served in critical care and emergency areas. From 1986, Humphrey has held several positions at Sharon Regional Health System where she worked in emergency, critical care and education areas. She is a registered nurse licensee in the state of Ohio and Pennsylvania and is a BLS, ACLS and PALS instructor for the American Heart Association.  Humphrey has also written numerous grants that were awarded on behalf of St. Patrick School in Hubbard, Ohio.

After graduating from Sharon Regional Health System School of Nursing in 1994 with a registered nursing degree, Humphrey attended Youngstown State University where she received a health education bachelor of science in applied science degree Magna Cum Laude. In 2004, she graduated from Youngstown State University’s North East Ohio Universities with a master of public health degree. In 2013, she graduated from the University of Massachusetts with her doctor of nursing practice degree.

Humphrey’s students had this to say about her: “I love doing more research on the topics discussed! This instructor’s passion ‘moves’ me to be better and to help my family be healthier and happier.” “I am honored to be a student of this instructor. I have learned a great deal in the class and feel good about myself as a whole.” “The instructor has instilled in me confidence and a yearning to do my best and treat others with respect they deserve.”

Brown and Humphrey will each be presented a plaque and a monetary award at this coming September’s Penn State Shenango Advisory Board meeting.



Last Updated January 09, 2015