Faculty celebrate collaboration

(Distinguished faculty award recipients answer questions from the audience. Photo by Madison Rosbach.)

Four faculty members presented during a reception celebrating their distinguished faculty awards. The event, called “Collaborating for Success,” was put on by CELTSS in the Forum on Nov. 1.

CELTSS stands for Center for Excellence in Learning, Teaching, Scholarship and Service and is a group of faculty members. Director of CELTSS, English professor Elaine Beilin, said CELTSS is “by the faculty, for the faculty.”

Faculty members nominate one another for these awards and the four who are recognized at this reception are selected by Linda Vaden-Goad, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said Beilin.

Education professor May Hara was awarded for her excellence in teaching. Ruth Remington, professor in the nursing program, was awarded for her excellence in scholarship or creative work. Brian Bishop, chair of the art department, was awarded for his excellence in professional service. Art education professor Barbara Milot was awarded for her excellence in advising and mentoring.

Vaden-Goad welcomed faculty and staff members to the reception and said, “To me, this is one of the best evenings of the year.”

The theme of this year’s celebration was “Collaborating for Success.” Beilin said this theme was chosen by the committee that organized the event, because each of the four faculty members “demonstrated the importance of collaboration” with students, other faculty members and staff through their work.

The poster designed for this year’s event featured four students, but it is typically more faculty focused. “We felt that each of these faculty members were so focused on student success, that we wanted to show a picture of students enjoying their work,” said Beilin.

Hara took the stage after the introduction. She presented about what she called “a pedagogical challenge.”

Hara posed the question: How do we educate early childhood, elementary and secondary educators who are “vision-driven, inquiry-oriented, prioritize social justice and teach for transformation” in a society that is moving towards increased oversight of teachers and assessment driven curriculums?

She said her work with Framingham Public School teachers and with student teachers in the licensure program has helped her grapple with the public criticisms of today’s teacher education programs.

Following Hara’s presentation, Remington discussed the collaborative research she did concerning dementia with the elderly population.

“Sometimes, just a conversation with a colleague can give you that spark that you need to move forward,” said Remington. She added CELTSS has led her into more collaboration as she works with Milot to do research on how art can impact a person’s health and wellbeing.

During her presentation, Milot said she was “astonished” to be selected for this award.

“We work with such amazing people here that everyone deserves recognition,” said Milot.

Milot reflected on how students are supported and related it to her own experience in higher education, while sharing images of her art pieces.

“My parents never said, ‘What will you do with an art degree?’ At the time, I didn’t know what a gift it was that they believed in me,” said Milot.

She said aside from providing students with a “rigorous education” and foundation, “we believe in them.”

Bishop, who was being recognized for his professional service, spoke about how getting his department accredited by a national organization has helped the faculty recognize their goals and boost the confidence of students.

Bishop began working toward accreditation about a decade ago.

He said, “I believe we must look outward in order to move forward. I would encourage everyone outside of the arts to look to national organizations to help your departments.”

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