More than two dozen college community members received some well deserved recognition on April 30, as the Brookdale Board of Trustees voted to approve 20 faculty promotions and grant tenure to eight instructors. Four staff members were also honored with official performance recognitions.
The annual faculty promotion vote, taken during the board’s monthly public meeting in Lincroft, followed an extensive college-wide evaluation process including student opinion reports, classroom monitoring and detailed assessments by Brookdale faculty and administrators.
That process, according to College-wide Faculty Promotion Committee Chair Catherine Blackburn, revealed a diverse range of candidates who had met Brookdale’s strict benchmarks for professional excellence, leadership and service to the college community.
In total, seven assistant professors were promoted to the rank of associate professor and seven associate professors were promoted to the rank of full professor. More than half of those professors, Blackburn said, had previously received the college’s Outstanding Colleague Award.
The group as a whole has attended more than 50 national and international conferences. Many are published scholars, while others continue to hold high-level positions in their fields of study.
From English Professor Roseanne Alvarez, who has spearheaded an effort to “flip the classroom,” to associate music Professor Keith Heimann’s widely popular new digital music program, Blackburn said all of the faculty in attendance had worked extremely hard to get where they are.
“Our faculty are dedicated, innovative and they have truly earned the promotions we are giving them tonight,” said Blackburn, a Brookdale speech professor. “We are excited to have them lead us into a strong, vibrant future here at Brookdale.”
New interior design Professor Celeste Chirichello and new associate history Professor George Reklaitis thanked the committee and the trustees on behalf of their colleagues, sharing stories of the students and the success stories they had encountered since joining the college.
Reklaitis, who even as a child dreamed of becoming a college professor, read from a student evaluation he received at the end of a recent course.
“The student said, ‘I really think history is boring, but the instructor actually had me interested at times. He really cares about the subject. When he cared, it made me care,'” Reklaitis said.
“That line sent chills up my back. That’s what makes Brookdale such a fantastic institution. We don’t go through the motions. We care. We want you to leave this institution a better person than you were.”
The board also voted to grant eight college instructors tenure, including six who were promoted to assistant professor. All promotions will be effective Sept. 1.
- Promoted to full professor were: Roseanne Alvarez, English; Joseph Boyle, sociology; Celeste Chirichello, interior design; Eric Goll, chemistry; Lisa Hailey, engineering and technology; Robin Smith, nursing; and David Wiseman, psychology.
- Promoted to associate professor were: Chad Anderson, communication media; Brandon Gramer, English; Keith Heimann, music; Sarah Leahy, economics; Andrew Panitz, mathematics; George Reklaitis, history; and Nambrath Wesley, psychology.
- Promoted to assistant professor and granted tenure were: Joseph Essilfie, mathematics; Cheryl Fencik, biology; Charles Mencel, English; Abdul Kamara, mathematics; Gitanjali Kundu, biology; and Ashley Tasy, mathematics.
- Granted tenure were: Diane Booker, nursing; and Paula Padavano, mathematics.
The board also awarded certificates of recognition to Brookdale Writing Center learning assistant Mary Ann Kerwin, biology learning assistant Caitlin Burns, and Outreach, Business and Community Development employees Lisa Savage and Patricia Tierney.
Professional Staff Association President Helen Vota joined the board and Brookdale President Dr. Maureen Murphy in thanking the honorees for going above and beyond the call of duty and raising the bar for college employees this past year.
‘This means a lot,” said Kerwin, who joined Savage in sharing a few student success stories of her own. “We are, to many of these students, the face of Brookdale. We are their educational and their emotional connection to the college. Every day, we live the Brookdale mission.”
Dr. Murphy agreed, going on to thank all of the evening’s honorees for giving so much of themselves to make a difference in their students’ lives.
“You have really, truly earned this tonight. All of you,” Murphy said. “I could not be prouder.”
View more photos of the ceremony here.