Rowland selected as 2016 Atherton Award recipient

April 27, 2016

ALTOONA, Pa. — Nicholas Rowland, associate professor of sociology at Penn State Altoona, received the 2016 University-wide George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Each year, Penn State honors several members of its faculty and staff for the highest levels of academic excellence, outstanding leadership and meritorious service. The 2016 Faculty/Staff Award recipients reach across campuses, colleges and administrative units and exemplify best practices and achievements among Penn Staters reflecting the University's mission of teaching, research and service. The Atherton Award, named for the seventh president of the University (1882-1906), is presented each year to several faculty members who have devoted substantial effort to undergraduate teaching.

This year, Rowland was one of five selected for the Atherton Award and is the 12th faculty member from Penn State Altoona to receive this honor since its inception as the AMOCO Award in 1978.

Rowland earned his doctorate in sociology from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. He also has a minor in cultural studies. He joined the faculty of Penn State Altoona in fall 2007 as an assistant professor of sociology. On top of teaching nine or more contact hours per semester, he conducts research year-round, and routinely offers independent study credit to students serving as research or teaching assistants, or those interested in conducting their own research projects.

Rowland contributes to the Penn State Altoona community in a number of ways. His student-centered courses advance the popular sociology, and he has participated in interdisciplinary teaching with colleagues in environmental studies. Rowland oversees a growing handful of interns in collaboration with Tom Shaffer, and he works closely with undergraduates outside of the classroom, presenting with them at conferences, aiding them in preparation for the Penn State Altoona Undergraduate Research Fair, editing and writing professional manuscripts with them, and conducting research with them. Rowland also continues to prepare manuscripts for publication and has remained active in the regular delivery of conference presentations. Above all, Rowland sees himself as a "teacher-scholar" and shares the view that teaching, research and service, when carefully coupled, are synergistic endeavors.

Rowland joins the following list of accomplished Altoona faculty: John E. Lennox (assistant professor of microbiology) in 1984; William G. Engelbret (associate professor of accounting) in 1992; Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry (professor of health education, now chancellor) in 1993; Douglas Brown (associate professor of mathematics) and Dinty W. Moore (professor of English and liberal arts) in 1998; Lee Ann De Reus (associate professor of human development and family studies and women’s studies) in 2003; Rosalyn Costantino (associate professor of Spanish and women’s studies) and Michael Weiner (associate professor of mathematics) in 2004; Peter Shull (associate professor of engineering) in 2005; Sandra Harbert Petrulionis (professor of English and American studies) in 2008; and
Laura Palmer (associate professor of biology) in 2012.

Last Updated March 29, 2017