RIO GRANDE — The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College have announced the winners of this year’s Annual Faculty Awards.
These awards highlight the excellence and achievement of three faculty members each year. Rio Interim President Dr. Catherine M. Clark praised the contributions and expertise of the entire faculty at the Awards Ceremony.
“It was a pleasure to take the time to recognize three outstanding faculty members at the annual faculty awards dinner,” Clark said. “Each of these faculty members demonstrate the high quality of research, teaching and student engagement that is part of the culture of the Rio campus.”
Assistant Professor of Psychology Dr. Chad Duncan was selected to receive of the Edwin A. Jones Excellence in Teaching Award. This award is presented to a faculty member who reflects Jones’ outstanding commitment to higher education, community involvement and philanthropy. Each year, the Rio faculty votes for one of their colleagues to receive this honor. Duncan said he feels this award reflects the dedication all of Rio’s faculty members have to their students.
“I’m very thankful that I can earn an award for doing what I love at a place where I love coming to work. I’m honored that my colleagues felt that I was deserving of this nomination,” Duncan said. “I appreciate that Rio has these awards because it’s important to recognize what faculty do behind the scenes and the creativity, innovation and passion we put into the classroom.”
The Excellence in Scholarship Award was presented to Professor of Biology and Environmental Science Dr. Linda Sigismondi. This honor recognizes a faculty member who demonstrates long-term commitment and makes superior contributions to scholarship in their program or field. The recipient must also demonstrate a record of publications, exhibitions, performances or other forms of scholarship on a regional, national or international level. Sigismondi said she believes it is important for educators to be active in scholarship in their fields and beyond the classroom.
“It’s nice to be recognized for the work I’ve done in the field. It’s important to continue actively researching subjects as professors because it helps us teach our students how they can do their own research. I’ve been able to take some of what I learned during my sabbatical and work with students on similar projects,” Sigismondi said. “It’s wonderful that Rio celebrates our efforts of research and education with these awards.”
The Ernie Wyant Award for Outstanding Teaching is presented to a faculty member chosen by the students as the most outstanding teacher of the year and encourages academic achievement, helping prepare students to be successful following graduation. This year’s winner for the award, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education Stephanie Scott, said she believes the award confirms students are receiving quality education in her classroom.
“I’m very honored to receive this award and humbled that the students would nominate me for it. My students and their different life journeys are so important to me, and I’m always so amazed by the things they do. Connecting with them has made me a better teacher and knowing, through this award, they feel that I’ve inspired them in their studies is very encouraging,” Scott said. “It’s great that the university takes time to honor faculty and show they value our work, especially with this award where they listen to the students’ nominations to select the winner.”
Dr. Richard Sax, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said he is proud of the winners for their efforts to enhance learning experiences at Rio.
“These three award-winning teachers respectively show a passion for their academic areas and a deep dedication to student success and student learning outcomes,” Sax said. “Students especially, and our entire living-learning community, benefit profoundly from their professional efforts.”
The university and community college congratulate the winners on their success in the classroom and abilities to create a learning environment where students can thrive in their academic journeys.
Jessica Patterson is a communications specialist for the University of Rio Grande.