Brookdale Community College faculty members Bettejane Bolan-Kenney, John Bukovec, Cheryl Fencik, Gabriela Sprague, and Christine Vasquez were honored with the 2020 Outstanding Faculty Colleague Award.
Brookdale has amazing faculty members who are committed to the success of our students. Every year, the dedication and success of our faculty are recognized during the Outstanding Faculty Awards Ceremony. This year, as Convocation and Faculty Day were virtual, the ceremony was different. However, the celebration of this year’s winners was not diminished.
“Receiving the award was a wonderful way to start the new school year,” Vasquez, associate professor in the English department, said. Last semester, when the college had to quickly transition to remote learning, Vasquez said she was familiar with the platform since she was already teaching online. “However, I miss getting to see students and colleagues every day, and that makes the transition difficult,” she said.
“Chris Vasquez has something that doesn’t seem to fit traditional categories of merit and metrics: heart,” Roseanne Alvarez, professor in the English department, said. “While, of course, her work clearly points to everything we deeply vale and celebrate in the Outstanding Colleague Award, it’s her authenticity, empathy, and full-hearted ‘all in’ under-the-radar work ethic that is really, beyond measure.”
Recipients of the Outstanding Faculty Colleague Award are recognized for their dedication to students, professional growth, assistance to fellow faculty members, contributions to the college, and more. “A thriving organization is made up of colleagues who offer their talent, time, and effort in unique, complementary, and game-changing ways,” Alvarez said.
Sprague, like Vasquez, was familiar with online teaching before the switch to all remote classes. “My biggest concern was to address the changes in how some of my students perform and communicate,” she said. Always thinking of her students, Sprague, associate professor in the Mathematics Department, worked with Brookdale’s Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) to ensure the best possible transition for all of her students. “The TLC courses helped me to make the right changes and try new ideas to communicate with all my students,” she said.
In addition to her dedication to her students, Sprague is also dedicated to helping her fellow faculty members. “Gabriela mentors several faculty members, both adjuncts and full-time,” said Sally Mulvey, associate professor in the mathematics department. “She is always helping people when it comes up that adjuncts or anyone needs help at work.”
Fencik, associate professor in the biology department, was also noted for her helpfulness. “Cheryl has totally met the mark of showing outstanding professional growth by taking the initiative to take on the leadership role of Assistant Coordinator of Honors at Brookdale,” said Jonathan Moschberger, professor in the political science department. “Honors at Brookdale would not be half of what it is without Cheryl. She is an asset to our students, our program, and our college” he continued.
“John is dedicated to the Brookdale Community, and every decision he makes reflects his passion and understanding for the mission of the college – whether it is President of the Faculty Association, a professor in his class, or director of our students in productions, which bring many new people to our campus and many familiar faces back to visit,” said Dara Evans, associate professor in the English department.
“It’s all about the students. If they are there and want to learn, I’m all for whatever class it is,” said Bukovec.
It is that same dedication to students that is one of the reasons Bolan-Kenney, professor in the English department, was honored as an Outstanding Colleague. “Students are at the center of everything Bettejane does, so the positive effect she has on students is evident in many ways,” Vasquez said. “She always finds a way to let every student’s voice be heard in the classroom and helps them to discover the strength of their voices.”
All of this year’s recipients of the Outstanding Faculty Colleague Award are truly dedicated to the success of Brookdale’s students and the college as a whole.
Photo caption: Cheryl Fencik with Brookdale Honors students at the 2019 Honors Symposium.