SMC Faculty Honored at Annual Scholars Reception

Provost Margaret Kasimatis poses with Psychology Associate Professor Caitlin Powell.On Friday, March 16, faculty and staff from all departments came together to celebrate the achievements of their colleagues and peers at Saint Mary’s Annual Scholars Reception in Claeys Lounge. The event honored faculty members nominated by their peers for their outstanding performances as educators. The recipients of 2018 Provost’s research grants were also recognized, as well as 2016-17 sabbatical recipients, whose research projects were represented at the reception through video presentations, posters, and copies of their works.

“It was an honor to recognize the achievements of our distinguished faculty,” said Provost Margaret Kasimatis. “The awardees’ accomplishments in teaching, scholarship, and service were truly remarkable, and it made me proud to be at Saint Mary’s.”

The reception began after an activity-filled workday. Faculty and staff mingled with one another, enjoying wine and hors d'oeuvres. Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Christopher Sindt kicked off the celebration by introducing the award recipients.

Politics Professor Hisham Ahmed received the Outstanding Scholar Award. “Ahmed is an engaged scholar who goes way beyond the walls of academia,” said Sindt. Thanking Sindt, Ahmed said, “I am absolutely humbled, honored, and deeply grateful. This means a lot, to be in the company of my outstanding colleagues.”

Management Professor Rebecca Carroll received the Teaching Excellence Award. “To this day, students overwhelmingly refer to her standards and expectations as ‘difficult but fair.’ Rebecca’s teaching has focused on helping people do right by each other,” Sindt said.

Psychology Associate Professor Caitlin Powell received the Early Career Award. Calling Powell “an early leader in campus service,” Sindt described her as “a trusted and respected colleague who works across schools for the benefit of students, faculty governance, and data-driven efforts to make our work easier, more effective, and more equitable.” Responded Powell: “The nominating letter itself was signed by over 30 of my colleagues, [and] that was the biggest reward I could have gotten.”

Communication Professor Ed Tywoniak received the Faculty Service Award. “To say that it is an honor does not do it justice—it’s humbling,” Tywoniak said. “Especially when I look at my colleagues who do such great service to our campus community. My inspiration for service comes from the Christian Brothers, in particular, my mentor, the late Brother Dominic Berardelli. I dedicate this award to him.”

In addition to the four awards for outstanding performance in education that are traditionally given at the Scholars Reception, the John Dennis Award for Teaching Excellence was established and presented this year to honor excellence from a bargaining union faculty member. Its first recipient was John Knight, who teaches Seminar and who was mentored by Dennis, a beloved longtime history professor at SMC. Describing Knight, Sindt said, “He has garnered consistently stellar evaluations and students praise him for his engagement, availability, high standards, and passion.”