New Faculty Academy members continue work on student engagement projects

Sean Yoder
August 17, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Four new members were accepted this year into the Faculty Academy, which provides funding for educators to create engagement opportunities and models for students on the local, regional and national level.

The Faculty Academy is administered by Penn State's Student Engagement Network and began in 2017 with 11 members. The four new members are Jennifer Eury, Smeal College of Business; Haley Sankey, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences; Tim Kerchinski, Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program; and Dana Naughton, College of Health and Human Development.

Previously, members of the Faculty Academy have embarked on a wide range of projects focused on student engagement, from the forming of an alumni network in Washington D.C., to the creation of a new course exploring how community members “use information and communication technologies to achieve shared objectives, such as cultural engagement or economic growth.”

The new group of faculty members in the academy received their funds in July 2018 and can begin implementing their plans for increasing student engagement.

Tim Kerchinski

Kerchinski, with a one-year fellow appointment, is an innovation team lead with Penn State’s Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PENNTAP), located at Innovation Park. He’s currently working on creating a pilot of a Regional Engagement and Innovation Expo, which “would highlight engagement opportunities for students at the select regional Penn State campuses and purposely make a connection to the Invent Penn State innovation and economic development initiatives that are on-going at those campuses.”

“I believe there are synergies that can be exploited to enhance additional future student engagement opportunities,” Kerchinski wrote. “One of the benefits of such a collaboration would be to share the large partnership network from the Invent Penn State initiative with those seeking engagement opportunities for their students.”

Haley Sankey

Sankey is a lecturer with the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. She has a one-year appointment as a fellow. Her project is focused on “using journaling as a tool to capture the learning that takes place through all types of engagement experiences,” she said.

Her goals, she said, were to create “universal journal assignment prompts that will advance student writing from mere reflection to exercising deeper learning, no matter the engagement activity.”

She will then examine the impact of engagement experiences for students and create for instructors a journal guidance document that will assist them in capturing the learning that takes place through the engagement activities.

Jennifer Eury

Eury’s project is connected to a course she teaches called MGMT 355: Leadership and Change in Organizations. Eury, also with a one-year appointment in the Faculty Academy, will take her students on a team development experience at the Stone Valley Recreation Area in Huntingdon County.

“The goal of the leadership immersion is to provide students in my course with the opportunity to practice leading, helping them on their journey to become effective business and organizational leaders,” Eury said.

She added that while the classroom provides a stimulating forum for discussion, a leadership immersion experience will “immensely enhance the students’ learning experience, providing them with the opportunity to practically apply their leadership skills.”

Dana Naughton

Naughton is the director of the Global Health Minor program within the Department of Biobehavioral Health in the College of Health and Human Development. For her one-year appointment to the Faculty Academy, Naughton wrote that she aims to expand student engagement opportunities in two ways.

The first is with partner University of Freiburg in Breisgau, Germany. Naughton said she wants her students to have a better “understanding of comparative health care systems and global health issues in western cultures by establishing a global health focused partnership” with UFreiburg.

The other avenue of student engagement will come through a 7-to-10 day visit from partnering African and western universities for a global health education learning exchange.

“Engaged scholarship activities from this will require Penn State GLHBL Minor students to take a lead role in hosting, mentoring and arranging educational and professional activities for engaged discourse throughout the University for this initiative and its visiting students,” Naughton wrote.

During this round of applications, the Student Engagement Network's leadership team reviewed proposals and made their cohort selection based on past scholarship opportunities; the expressed desire to deepen the knowledge of student engagement at the University; the quality of the proposal’s relevance to the future of student engagement; the ability to disseminate project information; and the applicant’s capacity to contribute as a leader or mentor in student engagement.

The Student Engagement Network is a joint initiative between Undergraduate EducationStudent Affairs, and Outreach and Online Education. The mission of the Student Engagement Network is to advance the power of participation by connecting students with experiences that empower them to make a positive impact as citizens and leaders of the world.

For more information about the Student Engagement Network, visit or email

  • Image: Penn State

    Smeal College of Business dean and Jennifer Eury (far right) with the student speakers at the college's 10-year anniversary of the Smeal Honor Code.

    IMAGE: Penn State
  • Image: Penn State

    Time Kerchinski (far left) with entrepreneurial students who pitched their startup companies to attendees at a President’s tailgate in fall 2017.

    IMAGE: Penn State
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Last Updated August 21, 2018