Fusco honored with IST’s McMurtry Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award

Jessica Hallman
November 05, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — David Fusco, assistant teaching professor in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, has been recognized with the college’s George J. McMurtry Faculty Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award for 2018.

Named for George McMurtry, former associate dean of the College of Engineering who was instrumental in the founding of the College of IST, the annual award recognizes IST faculty members who consistently provide an exceptional learning environment. It highlights their innovative teaching, commitment to learning and creative interface in the classroom or in online courses they teach.

“Professor Fusco has deep real-world, as well as academic, experience,” said Edward Glantz, teaching professor of information sciences and technology and member of the IST Faculty Awards Committee that selected Fusco. “Students appreciate this combined knowledge base, as well as the pleasant and interesting manner [in which] he connects students to new material. Students then self-motivate to achieve new competency levels.”

For his recognition, Fusco will present a lecture from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13, in E202 Westgate Building. In his talk, “Educating the Next Generation of Leaders, Who Happen to Use Technology,” Fusco will share the teaching methods, interactive classroom styles and real-life stories that comprise his rounded approach in the classroom.

“Overall, IST does and is recognized for adding value to a holistic person that leaves Penn State,” he said.

David Fusco

David Fusco, assistant teaching professor in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, has been recognized with the college’s George J. McMurtry Faculty Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award for 2018. 

IMAGE: Penn State

He explained that, in the classroom, he presents two methods of criteria to students to evaluate themselves as students in information technology — one is their technical level, and the other is how good they are with people.

“Normally my message is that if you start adjusting these levels, and if you’re not very good technically, you’d better make up for it with people skills,” said Fusco. “Ideally what the market would like us to produce is both. I think that what IST excels at doing is helping students recognize the value of soft skills, and the value of using technology to help organizations do better things in the world for social good or human responsiveness to the use of technology.”

It might be that focus on developing soft skills, or the fact that he’s a father of three, but Fusco says that he believes he’s relatable to students.

“I think that I have a very good rapport with students,” he said. “They come to me a lot to talk to me about things that have nothing to do with classes, like job advice or life advice.

“When students send me notes after they graduate, or say that they appreciate what I did, it makes it all worthwhile,” he added.

A Penn State graduate in computer science, Fusco has taught at four institutions and has served across industry in in executive level positions. He also helped to launch the College of IST, serving as an invited author for some of the original curriculum content when the college was established in 1999.

“I was part of helping to develop some of the original concepts around IST 110 and 220 and helping form out those relationships,” he said. “At the time, there was this thing called the Solutions Institute, which was formed to reach out to people in the field and to bring expertise into the course. I had some relationships with people and helped provide some of that feedback.”

Today, as a full-time faculty member in the college who also oversees the masters’ programs, Fusco says he is honored to receive the McMurtry Award.

“I’m honored because it’s an award that focuses on and recognizes the importance of teaching,” he said. “Obviously, we recognize that we’re here for students, and this is a student-centered award. It recognizes that teaching is a core value of what we do at Penn State.”

Last Updated November 06, 2018