Penn College employees recognized in end-of-semester tradition

May 16, 2019

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Pennsylvania College of Technology celebrated the contributions and commitment of its staff and faculty during an Employee Recognition Week gathering on May 16.

As part of an all-college meeting to end the spring semester, President Davie Jane Gilmour presented Distinguished Staff, Excellence in Academic Advising, and Outstanding Assessment awards, as well as recognizing retirees, members of the Quarter Century Club, and employees hitting the 30- and 35-year plateaus during the 2018-19 academic year.

An annual tradition since 1996, Distinguished Staff Awards honor selected Penn College employees, who are nominated by their co-workers in several categories. Plaques were presented this year to one employee from each of four job classifications — Administrative, Professional and Technical (APT); Classified; Service; and Regular Part-Time.

Receiving Distinguished Staff Awards were Becky J. Shaner, senior manager of donor relations and special events (APT); Brenda M. Kline, secretary to counseling services (Classified); Mary Jo DeVinney, horticulturist (Service); and Janet L. McDermott, dining services worker (Regular Part-Time).

Nominators for Shaner, who holds Penn College degrees in business management and business administration: marketing concentration, noted her office reputation as “the detail person.”

“I continually reach out to Becky as a source of information. She has a wealth of knowledge pertaining to our constituents, history of operations, policies, campus departments, and of the college overall,” one co-worker wrote. “She graciously shares her knowledge and job skills with others without hesitation. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't use her as a resource.”

Another noted her strong interpersonal skills — a plus not just with donors, but in any relationship.

“Whether you are a faculty member, a student, external partner to the college or a member of the team, Becky displays a friendly and approachable demeanor. She is thoughtful and caring,” the colleague wrote, “the type of individual that will be there to assist you if you are struggling or need a solid sounding board.”

Kline, who earned a word processing degree from Williamsport Area Community College in 1987, was characterized as “the glue that keeps the (counseling) office running smoothly.”

“Brenda's ability to manage the multiple responsibilities of her job in an effective manner impresses me on a regular basis,” one of her supporters said.

“When improvisation is all she has to go on, she makes it work,” another wrote. “Her student-first and compassion-for-all values are most clearly exemplified in her work with students, particularly those who are dealing with significant life issues and often come into the Counseling Office upset or downright distraught. She is respectful, encouraging and supportive with the students, and her role as first point of contact provides reassurance and comfort.”

DeVinney, honored from the college’s General Services staff, is a 1983 alumna in nursery management.

“She is a positive employee and her interpersonal skills are off the chart,” a supervisor said. “She plays a significant role in preparing, planting and maintaining all of the annual flower arrangements seen around campus throughout the summer months. The work that goes into each of the plantings is beyond what most people can imagine, but she does not let that hold her back one bit.”

Another fellow employee also commented on the substantial dedication inherent in making such hard work appear so deceptively effortless.

“You would think a little water and sunlight is all you need, but it takes many hours every week on watering, trimming, deadheading and disease control to keep the flowers looking great all summer. It is truly an art,” he said. “I see the faculty, staff and students enjoying these displays by getting pictures by them, posting pictures online, in magazines, and just the simple ‘stop and smell.’”

McDermott, a cashier in the Bush Campus Center’s convenience store, was singled out from the college’s part-time Dining Services employees.

“Janet treats the Wildcat Express as if it is her home,” a nominator noted. “She keeps it organized, clean and respects everyone who enters its doors. She takes pride in the products that we sell, tasting the soup or checking a package of buns to make sure consistency and quality are correct. If she feels something is not up to par, she will alert the kitchen and management team to have it corrected. If she would not serve it at her house, she will not serve it to her customers.”

“She remembers your name, your food preferences, your stories, and truly cares for each and every person she interacts with,” one of her regular customers wrote. “She goes above and beyond to know what the specials are, what Wildcat has in stock – as well as what they don't. She can make suggestions based on her experiences and based on yours. You can tell that working here is not just a job; it's something more than that. I hope that she knows we appreciate her for not only being amazing in customer service, but also because she is Janet.”

Penn College Outstanding Assessment Award 2019

The President's Award for Outstanding Assessment was presented to the Plastics and Polymer Engineering Technology Department at Penn College. From left are President Davie Jane Gilmour, Adam C. Barilla, instructor; Kirk M. Cantor, professor; Jose M. Perez, instructor; Joshua J. Rice, instructor; Timothy E. Weston, associate professor and department head; and Bradley M. Webb, assistant dean of industrial, computing and engineering technologies.

IMAGE: Pennsylvania College of Technology

This year’s recipient of the Excellence in Academic Advising Award is Elizabeth S. Gizenski, who holds four degrees from the School of Nursing & Health Sciences and serves as clinical director for surgical technology.

“Mrs. Gizenski helped me to be able to take the summer off and be a part-time student for a while so I could get used to having two kids. She supported me the whole way and has been very helpful in letting me know what classes I need to take. (She) is a joy to work with. She has a really caring heart and is very approachable. I am never afraid to email her or stop by her office. She is always smiling and happy to see you.”

“She works with the pre-surgical technology students to ensure they will be competitive for selection into the surgical technology program,” a colleague added. “She not only provides guidance on which courses would most benefit the students, but she learns the students' academic weaknesses and provides advice on how to overcome them. It is obvious that the students connect with Liz, as (they) continually meet with her throughout the semester to review their progress toward achieving their academic goals.”

The President's Award for Outstanding Assessment was presented to the Plastics and Polymer Engineering Technology Department: Adam C. Barilla, Kirk M. Cantor, Jose M. Perez, Joshua J. Rice, and Timothy E. Weston.

As both of the college’s plastics degrees are on the short list of those nationally accredited, the team employs a deliberate system of assessment and reassessment to ensure that the courses meet learning goals and satisfy accreditation standards.

“The hallmark of the department is the pursuit of continuous improvement,” the group’s application states. “Even if a course meets the minimums, the activities are reviewed to make improvement — or, sometimes, the bar is set higher.”

The team’s assessment process is an ongoing and collaborative one in which the entire department meets to discuss areas of concern.

“In this way, new ideas come out to help correct the issues,” the paperwork continues. “As such, student learning is the department’s responsibility, not the faculty member who teaches the course.”

Quarter Century Club members honored for 25 years’ service to the college, are: Myra K. Shaffer and Bernadine M. Welickovitch, APT; Kate M. Wetzel, Classified; Holly M. Campbell, William H. Emerick and Mark J. Keiser, Service; and Gerald D. “Chip” Baumgardner, Dorothy M. “Dottie” Mathers, William J. Miller, Mark E. Sones, and Richard C. Taylor, Faculty.

The 2018-19 retirees who were honored are: George A. Babcock, Michael D. Barrett, Patricia A. Barrett, Debra Q. Bechtel, Kenneth L. Berry, John F. Blasdell, Ronald A. Bubb, Debra A. Buckman, Vickie D. Carpenter, Ann Marie Furdock, Nancy A. Grausam, Dale E. Henne, Cathy I. Hill, Linda D. Huffman, Sharon R. Jenney, Robert C. Karschner Jr., Susan E. Kemnitz, Janet L. Kissinger, Ronald E. Kodish, Ida J. Kohler, Regis C. Kohler, Elaine J. Lambert, Denise S. Leete, J. Thomas Livingstone, Paul E. Mach, Frederick A. March, Karl E. Markowicz, Laurie A. Minium, Thomas J. Mulfinger, Debra L. Paucke, Judy Quinti, Chester E. Rogers, Michael A. Round, Richard M. Sarginger, Judy T. Schultz, Patricia A. Scott, Bruce A. Sechrist, Debra L. Shadle, Joyce B. Shrimp, Phyllis J. Spong, Robert M. Vaughn, Jane L. Williams, and K. Park Williams.

President Gilmour also acknowledged 30- and 35-year employees at the all-college meeting:


Valerie A. Baier, Duane C. Fargus, Jennifer L. Hammond, Susan K. Manzitti, Karen I. Rischoff, Kim I. Schweikart, David P. Showan, Carol T. Sims, Keith A. Vanderlin, and Jennifer L. Whitmoyer.


LaDonna J. Caldwell and Thomas A. Zimmerman.

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Last Updated May 16, 2019