Penn College Presents Distinguished Teaching Awards

Published 05.12.2018

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Three Pennsylvania College of Technology faculty members were honored during Spring 2018 Commencement ceremonies for their outstanding teaching abilities.

Joanna K. Flynn, associate professor of mathematics, was presented with the highest honor accorded to Penn College faculty: the Veronica M. Muzic Master Teacher Award.

Two other faculty members received Excellence in Teaching Award recognition: Edwin G. Owens, associate professor and department head for mathematics, and Thomas J. Mulfinger, associate professor of building construction technology.

Joanna K. Flynn, associate professor of mathematics, was presented with the highest honor accorded to Penn College faculty – the Veronica M. Muzic Master Teacher Award – at Spring 2018 Commencement. She is shown here with Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour.“Teaching has always been at the heart of this institution’s mission,” President Davie Jane Gilmour said. “Joanna, Ed and Tom represent the very best of their profession and are most deserving of these tributes.”

Since the inception of the Distinguished Teaching Awards in 1982, 107 honors have been bestowed upon Penn College faculty (32 Master Teacher Awards and 75 Excellence in Teaching Awards).

Flynn, an employee of the college since 2003, holds a master’s degree in operations research and applied statistics, as well as a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from the University of Miami.

She was a 2015 co-recipient of the President’s Award for Outstanding Assessment of Student Learning.

Flynn also spearheaded the Revised Core Education Curriculum, is a member of the Quality Through Assessment Committee, and serves as a representative to the faculty association. She has served as an assistant dean, department head, and director of mathematics and general education.

Comments from Flynn’s nominating documentation include:

  • “Joanna clearly has mastery of her subject material. I often send students working on research projects to her for feedback on data analysis, and every single student I’ve sent to her has raved about Joanna’s ability to make the complex seem simple and doable.”

  • “Not doing well in math can also wreak havoc on a student’s self-confidence. While students say it directly, the fact (that) they continually seek out her classes is evidence of the fact that Joanna motivates through positive, constructive action, rather than through punitive measures.”

  • “Joanna is the most professional, caring and enthusiastic colleague I've ever worked with. She is an asset to the students and the institution.”

Edwin G. Owens, associate professor and department head for mathematics at Penn College, received an Excellence in Teaching Award.Owens has been employed at Penn College since 1988. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Lock Haven University, and a master’s degree in mathematics education and certification in educational administration from Penn State.

He has been a faculty member, department head and assistant dean, and he was a recipient of another Excellence in Teaching Award in 1995. In addition, he and Flynn were co-recipients of the President’s Award for Outstanding Assessment of Student Learning in 2015.

Comments from Owens’ nominating information include:

  • “(He) takes a great deal of initiative in his work, possesses a high degree of joy and enthusiasm in his teaching, and is committed to high standards and quality in academic curricula.”

  • “I really enjoyed the real-world problems that we did. It's much better than doing a problem that has no relation to the real world. It's especially nice when it relates to my major.”

  • “Ed Owens is an outstanding educator and faculty leader who continually strives to meet the needs of all students. (He) has been instrumental in leading many initiatives, including the MTH 180 project that is enhancing faculty learning while significantly improving students’ success rates in college algebra.”


Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour presented Thomas J. Mulfinger, associate professor of building construction technology, with an Excellence in Teaching Award.Mulfinger has been employed at Penn College since 1986 as a faculty member and department head. He holds an associate degree in carpentry and building construction from a Penn College predecessor, Williamsport Area Community College, as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Penn State in vocational industrial education and vocational industrial education (training and development emphasis), respectively.

He also has experience as a finish and commercial carpenter, and as a self-employed general contractor and consultant. He received the college’s Excellence in Academic Advising Award in 2014.

Comments from Mulfinger’s nominating documentation include:

  • “Tom is the model of self-discipline. He is always doing what is right and always doing it on time. He is truly committed to doing the very best that can be done.”

  • “Tom has a comprehensive knowledge of the subject matter because he brings real- world experience to the job, and because he is a smart person who always keeps on the cutting edge of changes happening in the industry.”

  • “Tom models excitement for learning. He is smart, positive, upbeat, organized and humorous. These traits are contagious, and most students are inspired to emulate him.”

Penn College is a national leader in applied technology education. For more, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.