Faculty, staff honored during spring tradition at Penn College

Published 05.12.2022

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With the end of another academic year at hand, Pennsylvania College of Technology renewed a spring custom: presenting awards to noteworthy faculty and staff, and acknowledging retirements and other employee milestones.

President Davie Jane Gilmour acknowledged the honorees during an expansive all-college meeting, held May 12 in the Klump Academic Center Auditorium and livestreamed.

Three of this year’s recipients of Excellence in Teaching Awards join President Davie Jane Gilmour (left) and Michael J. Reed (right), incoming president, at a May 12 all-college gathering. From left (starting second from left) are Karen L. Avery, instructor of biology; Joshua J. Rice, instructor of plastics technology; and Tammy M. Rich, associate professor of business administration/management/event management. A fourth honoree – Kevin Yokitis, assistant professor of electrical technology/occupations – was unable to attend due to illness.Distinguished Teaching Awards are presented to full-time faculty at Penn College who have been nominated by their students and colleagues for excellence in instructional performance. Including this year’s honorees, there have been 121 recipients since the program began in 1982: 34 Master Teacher Awards and 87 Excellence in Teaching Awards.

Four full-time faculty members received 2022 Excellence in Teaching Awards: Karen L. Avery, instructor, biology; Joshua J. Rice, instructor, plastics technology; Tammy M. Rich, associate professor, business administration/management/event management; and Kevin Yokitis, assistant professor, electrical technology/occupations.

Avery has been employed by Penn College since August 2017. Previously, she taught at Montoursville Area High School, Milton Area High School, Montgomery Area High School and Bishop Neumann High School. She also taught part time at Lycoming College and was an adjunct instructor at Bloomsburg University.

Avery holds a Master of Science in biology from Bloomsburg University and a Bachelor of Arts in biology from Lycoming College. She is pursuing a Doctor of Education in STEM education from the University of Pittsburgh.

Comments from Avery’s nominators include:

  • “Mrs. Avery is always full of energy and makes learning fun. There is not a day she doesn’t walk into class with a smile. She cares for her students and for their success.”

  • “Professor Avery goes above and beyond in her teaching. She is thorough, teaches you to think critically to truly understand the topics.”

Rice has taught at Penn College since 2016. Previously, he was employed by W.L. Gore and Associates as a process engineer. He holds a Bachelor of Science with highest honors in plastics & polymer engineering technology from Penn College.

Among the comments from Rice’s nomination form:

  • “Joshua sets an example for all of his students to follow in the areas of professionalism, accessibility and helpfulness. He holds himself to high standards of knowledge and skill in his discipline and explains to his students how to achieve these, while at the same time demonstrating them in his own life.”

  • “He often makes difficult topics easy to understand, and every class is guaranteed to be entertaining as well as educational.”

Rich has been employed by Penn College since March 2014, beginning as director of alumni relations. She taught as an adjunct instructor before becoming associate professor in 2016 and department head in 2018. She served as executive director of alumni relations and special events at Lock Haven University and director of annual giving for the Lock Haven University Foundation. She has also been a sales director at various hotels and resorts.

Rich holds a doctorate in organizational management and post-master’s certificate in college teaching from Capella University; a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix; and a Bachelor of Arts in marketing and management and Associate of Applied Science in advertising from Northwood University.

Comments from her nominators include:

  • “Dr. Rich facilitates student learning more than any other professor I know. She utilizes engaging lecture tactics in classes and makes sure all students participate and have fun learning. It is a fact to say that she generates excitement for whatever concept it is she is teaching.”

  • “Having her as a professor for multiple classes, all being the best classes I have taken, she engages the class and never lets learning get boring or dull.”

Yokitis has taught electrical technology at Penn College since 2015. Previously, he taught electromechanical technology (and developed the program) at Williamsport Area High School, and was an automation and controls specialist with Cromaglass Corp., for which he continues to serve as an engineering consultant.

He holds a Master of Science in workforce education and development from Penn State. He also earned a Bachelor of Science in building automation technology and an Associate of Applied Science in electrical technology from Penn College.

Some of his nominators’ comments:

  • “He is an amazing professor; he truly cares about you as a student and your success.”

  • “Listens to you and what you need help on; he won't necessarily give you all the information, he makes you work, but that is the way it should be.”

Sheryl E. Snyder-EverittA Part-Time Teaching Excellence Award was presented to Sheryl E. Snyder-Everitt, faculty, physical therapist assistant. She holds an associate degree from Keystone College and a bachelor’s degree from Penn College. She also serves on the staff of UPMC Susquehanna Health, among her professional affiliations, and is a member of the college’s Physical Therapist Assistant Advisory Committee.

Distinguished Staff Awards, a campus tradition since the 1990s, were presented in Penn College’s three personnel classifications (administrative, professional and technical; classified; and service), as well as to a part-time employee.

The 2022 Distinguished Staff Award winners at Pennsylvania College of Technology are (from left) Carol J. Counsil, Student & Administrative Services Center information desk assistant; Teri L. Umstead, dining services worker; Barbara J. Stevens, secretary of K-12 Outreach; and Jennifer McLean, associate dean of student affairs.The latest Distinguished Staff Award recipients are Jennifer McLean, associate dean of student affairs (APT); Barbara J. Stevens, secretary of K-12 Outreach (classified); Teri L. Umstead, dining services worker (service); and Carol J. Counsil, Student & Administrative Services Center information desk assistant (part time).

“A single sentence could sum up Jen’s qualifications, so here it is: ‘She is amazing,’” one of her nominators said. “Jen has a long history of serving the Penn College community in a variety of capacities, each with greater responsibility and importance to the mission of our institution, and the success of our students.”

A co-worker said of Stevens: “Barb first and foremost serves students. As our office has been through several iterations that include change to priorities and focus, (she) always embraces the change and displays exemplary customer service. Barb has done an amazing job of improving the … culture of our office, making students feel valued and important.”

One of Umstead’s supporters singled out her above-and-beyond efforts while preparing takeout meals for students quarantined due to COVID-19: “Teri wrote notes on to-go containers such as ‘Hang in there’ or drawing a smiley face. While this is a simple gesture, we have heard from several students how much these little notes brightened their day while they were isolated from others.”

Counsil was praised for her communication skills, a desirable trait for point-of-contact personnel in the busy SASC.

“She seeks to appropriately resolve any conflict that may arise by presenting her ideas, but also with a willingness to listen and take advice from others,” one of her nominators wrote. “Carol understands and takes pride in the importance of excellent customer service.”

Naim M. JabbourNaim N. Jabbour, assistant professor of architecture, received the Excellence in Academic Advising Award, which recognizes excellent academic advising and service to students, and encourages continuation of that excellence.

Honored for a fruitful overhaul of its engagement-assessment rubric, the College Relations staff joins the outgoing and incoming presidents for a post-event memento.Among his academic credentials, Jabbour holds a Doctor of Design in architecture from Carnegie Mellon University, a master’s degree in sustainability from Harvard University and a master’s in architecture from CMU, and a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Louisiana State University.

The President’s Award for Outstanding Assessment was presented to Loni N. Kline, vice president for college relations/chief philanthropy officer, and her College Relations team, for rewriting their rubric to better determine who is more likely engage with the college – valuable information when building constituent relationships and promoting growth of philanthropic support.

“We identified a target list of alumni to recruit for the Tomorrow Makers program, and now have more than 300 volunteers,” the group reported, adding, “Using the updated scoring data, so far in Fiscal Year 2022, we have received $1 million more in cash donations than in Fiscal Year 2021.”

Some of the employees attaining 30- and 35-year milestones were among those who joined the president for a breakfast reception.Reaching milestones during 2020-21 are:

  • 35 years – Gustav “Joseph” Loehr, Abdul B. Pathan and Jeffrey L. Rankinen.

  • 30 years – Michael A. Dincher, Kenneth J. Kinley and Mary Jo Saxe.

Many of the newest inductees to the college's Quarter Century Club mark their 25-year employment with a presidential photo op.Joining the college’s Quarter Century Club with 25 years’ service are Danna M. Brooks, Roy A. Fletcher, Sandra Gorka, Harry W. Hintz Jr., Timothy J. Mallery, Darlene K. McCoy, Steven K. McCoy, Thomas R. McFadden, Randall L. Moser, David C. Pletz, Michael E. Rae and Elliott Strickland Jr.

President Gilmour joins her fellow retirees outside Le Jeune Chef Restaurant.Retiring in 2021-22 were Heather Allison, Lori Berry, Daniel Blair, Tanna M. Brewer, Marianne E. DePasqua, Patti Durrwachter, Mary E. Erdman, Davie Jane Gilmour, Kenneth Gough, Walter Gower, Mary Gregory, Donald E. Gustafson, Paul Herbst, Kathryn C. Lose, Brad Lyon, Jeffrey Mather, Dottie Mathers, John J. Miknis, Lolita Mohney, Abdul B. Pathan, Tonja R. Pennycoff, Karen Plankenhorn, Vicki Plocinski, Shahin Shabanian, Kay M. Shipman, David A. Stabley, Kathleen Stahl, William F. Stepp III, David “Lynn” Turney, Susan Updegraff, Keith A. Vanderlin, Connie Welshans, Anita R. Wood, Robert A. Wozniak, Karen E. Wright and Donald C. York.

Nine faculty members, congratulated by the president, will begin the Fall 2022 semester at a higher academic rank.Promoted in academic rank beginning with the Fall 2022 semester are Karen L. Avery, from instructor to assistant professor, biology; David A. Becker, from instructor to assistant professor, computer information technology; Summer L. Bukeavich, from assistant professor to associate professor, business administration/management & marketing; Dulcey J. Frantz, from assistant professor to associate professor, nursing; Sandra Gorka, from associate professor to professor, computer information technology; Evonne W. Haines, from instructor to assistant professor, mathematics; Allen Heimbach, from instructor to assistant professor, computer information technology; Jason W. Killinger, from assistant professor to associate professor, HVAC technology; and Howard W. Troup, from instructor to assistant professor, automated manufacturing/machine tool technology.

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