Penn State Intercom......March 20, 2003

niversity Awards 2003

The Faculty/Staff Recognition Awards Program luncheon will be at noon March 24 at The Nittany Lion Inn, University Park.

4 faculty to receive Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching

Four University faculty members will receive the 2003 George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching. They are: Jacqueline S. McLaughlin, assistant professor of biology, Penn State Lehigh Valley; John Franceschina, distinguished professor of theatre, University Park; Lee Ann De Reus, assistant professor of human development and family studies and women's studies, Penn State Altoona; and William E. Hamilton, assistant professor of biology, Penn State New Kensington.

The award, named after the University's seventh president, was established in 1989 as a continuation of the AMOCO Foundation Award. It honors excellence in teaching at the undergraduate level.

McLaughlin, an instructor in biodiversity and evolution, human biology and physiology, and development, is honored for her great enthusiasm and knowledge of biology and her ability to engage students in difficult topics using interactive Web-based media.

In her quest to explore the biodiversity of world ecosystems, she has taken her students to explore the desert islands of the Galapagos; the taiga, tundra and rainforest of Alaska; the coral reef, tropical rainforests and savanna of Australia; and various coral reefs and tropical rainforests of Costa Rica. McLaughlin's students rave about her inspirational excitement for biology, extraordinary teaching skills and her sincere concern for every student who crosses her path.

She began teaching at Penn State in 1991 in the biology department at the Lehigh Valley campus. McLaughlin earned her bachelor of arts in 1982 from New College, her master of science in 1984 from Florida State University and her doctoral degree in 1991 from Rutgers University.

Franceschina, a member of the Department of Theatre since 1997 and a 2002 Schreyer's Excellence in Advising Award recipient, has achieved international acclaim as a teacher, theatre artist and scholar. His deeply rooted passion for the theatre arts rivals his great devotion to his students and teaching.

He views his students as "colleagues, collaborators in a process of learning in which he is simply a motivator or catalyst." In return, his students praise Franceschina for his dedication to their growth as artists and human beings.

Whether guiding a thesis project, teaching required subjects, creating a new course or tutoring a student, he is able to "inspire in his students a renewed sense of joy and wonder in learning and creating."

Franceschina received his bachelor of arts in 1969 and his master of fine arts in 1974 from The Catholic University of America, and his master of music in 1972 from the Hartt College of Music.

De Reus joined the faculty at Penn State Altoona in 1997. An assistant professor of human development and family studies and women's studies, she strives to help students develop empathy for individuals different from themselves. Following the terrorist attacks in 2001, for example, she led her students in planning a campus/community response. Her students planned a unity rally, which focused on the importance of tolerance, understanding of the Muslim faith and suggestions for coping with anger.

She constantly seeks out ways to integrate students' experiences in the classroom with their daily lives. De Reus' students note that her skillful use of resources such as current events and personal stories enable materials to come to life and take on a lively sense of relevance. She takes every opportunity to educate students outside the classroom as well. She involves students in conference presentations, for example, and engages them in various community and humanitarian service projects, including an annual spring break trip to work at an orphanage in the Dominican Republic.

De Reus received her bachelor of arts from Iowa State University in 1986 and her doctoral degree from Purdue University in 1997.

Hamilton, an exemplary educator in biology, joined the Penn State New Kensington faculty in 1983. The listening skills he brings to every one of his campus interactions enhance the joy he expresses for teaching and learning.

A dedicated naturalist and emissary of his discipline, Hamilton recently procured a grant to establish a campus nature trail that creatively showcases fascinating ecological subject matter. A Web site accompanies the trail, where one can embark on a virtual tour. These two resources are highly popular with students and form the heart of Hamilton's newly developed Environmental Learning Center.

Hamilton creates and utilizes innovative teaching resources. He constantly asks timely questions and raises the most provocative issues. But perhaps more compellingly, his generous, self-confident humility pervades his teaching and touches everyone around him.

Hamilton earned his bachelor of science from Texas Tech University in 1974, his master of science from The Ohio State University in 1979 and his doctoral degree from The State University of New York in 1983.

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