The university kicked off the semester with the annual campus-wide meeting on August 17. President Charles Patterson and several university leaders, including employee bargaining units of APSCUF, AFSME, and SCUPA, addressed the campus community in the Luhrs Center and virtually.

President Patterson presented the Presidential Medal to the Information Technology Team. The medal is awarded to a person or group by the university president for extraordinary contributions to the university. IT worked diligently over the last year providing equipment and training to the entire campus community to ensure the delivery of education to our students. They were recognized for their resourceful and tireless work to keep Ship connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Tom Ormond, senior executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, announced recipients of the 2020-2021 Teaching Innovation and Pedagogy Spotlight (TIPS) awards.

  • Karen Johnson, associate professor, was recognized for the creation of course AEES 210: Writing Tutoring Theory and Praxis. The course ensures that students looking to serve campus with their writing expertise, are not only provided with tutoring tools, but these tutors are given the opportunity to hone their workshop knowledge and skills.
  • Melissa McNelis, assistant professor of human communication studies, was recognized for the creation of HSC 100: Introduction to Human Communication. Dr. McNelis created extensive instructional videos for students’ use, which walked students through the course content and assignments weekly. Dr. McNelis provided demonstrations to faculty across campus to showcase how to prepare and upload lecture and demonstration videos, as well as how to use zoom channels as a way to engage students outside class time.
  • Matthew Shupp, associate professor of counseling and college student personnel, was recognized for CNS 521: Emotionally Intelligent Leadership: Concepts and Considerations. He redesigned the course to be offered online with five-week modules spanning the winter term. He not only incorporated best practices in online teaching, but he demonstrated that skills learned in the COVID classroom will expand the use of technology as an effective pedagogical practice in upcoming semesters.
  • Sam Forlenza, associate professor and chair of Exercise Science Department, was recognized for ESC 395/424/495 Exercise Science Internship. The pandemic threatened the completion of student internship experiences. Dr. Forlenza’s commitment to preparing viable field-based learning is credited with guaranteeing that exercise science students were able to practice their knowledge and skills in authentic ways.
  • Ian Langella, professor of finance and supply chain management and department chair, was recognized for SCM 200: Statistical Applications in Business. Dr. Langella has incorporated a free access textbook to ensure content accessibility for all students, created course slides to facilitate students’ learning and recorded lectures for students to access, and he also set aside weekly optional meetings to reinforce course information. Each week, Dr. Langella emailed students details on required readings and where to find lectures for the week. These weekly reminders were designed to reduce students’ stress and uncertainty.

The Provost’s Award for Extraordinary Service was presented to Dr. James Hamblin, professor of mathematics and department chair, and the Mathematics department as a whole. They were recognized for their exemplary work realigning the remedial mathematics curriculum to address concerns about racial inequities and success rates of lower-level mathematics courses. These changes aim to increase students’ agency in the placement process and allow for additional pathways to graduation for students who change into or out of STEM majors. Drs. Kim Presser, Doug Ensley, and Debbie Gochenaur, whose work on these projects over the past year were instrumental to their implementation, were also recognized.