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2017 Faculty Awards

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This annual event recognized eight faculty members for excellence

Bay Path University honors and recognizes faculty excellence in teaching and scholarship annually with an awards ceremony. These awards commend the efforts of individual faculty members to help build and sustain a community where the teacher-student academic experience is valued and prized.

The 2017 Faculty Awards were presented to the following:

The Estelle Leavitt Award for Teaching Excellence

Dr. Robert Surbrug, Director, Honors Program; Associate Professor of History

The Estelle Leavitt Award for Teaching Excellence was established in honor of emerita faculty member Estelle Leavitt who served on our faculty for 20 years, including as chair of the education department for 12 of those years. Estelle was known for her deep commitment to students and her passion for preparing educators who bring both skill and soul to their classrooms. 

In her speech announcing Dr. Surbrug as the award winner, Dr. Melissa Morriss-Olson, Provost, noted:

“Dr. Bob Surbrug has been with us since 1998 when he began as an instructor while completing his doctorate in history at UMass Amherst. Bob is an American historian, a published author and a prolific and effective teacher. He has served as director of our honors program since 2005 and honors students regularly cite the opportunity to work with Bob as a high point of their BPU experience.

In speaking about his teaching effectiveness and passion, his recommender noted that while Bob is always present for his students and is very visible on campus, his engagement outside of the classroom run both deep and wide: Every year through One America, he leads students on a week-long trip to a national destination, reinforcing classroom learning associated with the trip, as well as much-needed social and developmental skillsets in students. Every two years, Bob teaches the Model UN course, which requires thorough preparation and then an intensive travel experience. At the Model UN, students participate in a mock-UN and Bob acts as their champion and coach.

Bob is clearly among our most effective and beloved teachers at Bay Path. His course evaluations are consistently positive and students repeatedly comment about how much he loves history. For example, students’ comments include…

‘I appreciated how excited the professor got, he made me excited and wanting to come to class.’

‘The professor was the best thing about this entire class. He was an excellent resource for all the students, he was very engaged with all of us and he made sure that the class was NEVER boring.’

‘The professor has a good sense of humor and really cares about his students.’

‘He’s a great speaker and really got the class to feel involved during lectures.’

In addition to demonstrating excellence in the classroom, Bob is an active scholar, having contributed eight entries for historical document books this past year. It truly gives me great pleasure to present the Estelle Leavitt Award for Teaching Excellence for 2017 to Dr. Robert Surbrug.”


The Thumbprint Award

Kimberly Henrichon, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy

Presented by Dr. Kristine Barnett, Assistant Provost, the Thumbprint Award recognizes a faculty member who has shown innovative or creative thinking in applying the Bay Path University Thumbprint in his or her course(s).  The Thumbprint is the signature, defining element of the Bay Path University student experience. 

Excerpts from the award speech by Dr. Barnett:

“[Kimberly Henrichon] has impacted students and community members by creating a caring environment that encourages social awareness and the confidence and conviction necessary to act upon this awareness for the good of others; she has empowered students to take ownership of their lives and learning by engaging them in transformative, purposeful leadership opportunities; and created an abundance of experiential opportunities that foster self-discovery and career and life preparation.

I would like to share some high points that lead to the selection of this year’s Thumbprint award recipient, as written by her nominators:

‘In addition to her exceptional teaching within the department, Kim has developed a unique, outside of the classroom learning experience for Bay Path students [called] Camp Chillin’ Out, which embodies Bay Path Thumbprint ideals. Kim’s Camp Chillin’ Out provides Bay Path students with experiential, career preparation and transformative leadership experiences. Camp Chillin’ Out is a co-ed summer camp for Springfield area middle school-aged students and is run by BPU occupational therapy students as a field work experience. The camp is a beneficial community service, as it is designed to teach the campers from the Springfield area strategies and fun activities for reducing stress and anxiety prevalent during teen years.’

‘During their work at Camp, the OT students were able to directly apply classroom concepts in experiential, real work challenges – one of the Thumbprint ideals. This learning was reflected by quotes from BPU student camp leaders. [One wrote:] ‘Becoming aware of my strengths and weaknesses at Camp Chillin’ Out will allow me to further develop my professional reasoning skills, therefore allowing me to become a better OT.’ Another wrote, ‘I have learned a lot of practical information through my education, and learned I have the ability to be a successful leader.’’

Our recipient is a faculty member who goes above and beyond her faculty duties and inspires her students to be passionate care givers every day. Please join me in congratulating this year’s Thumbprint Award winner -- Kim Henrichon.”


The Faculty Outstanding Research, Scholarly Activity, and Creative Works Prize

Dr. Joshua Weiss, Director, MS in Leadership and Negotiation; Assistant Professor

The Richard J. Briotta Outstanding Faculty Research, Scholarly Activity and Creative Works Prize is given to a faculty member in recognition of their extraordinary research and publication activity, as well as their contributions in fostering serious academic research within the Bay Path community. 

Ann Dobmeyer, JD; Dean, Division of Research and Academic Resources, presented this award:

“This faculty member has spoken and published on topics relating to negotiation, mediation, and systemic approaches to dealing with conflict. He conducts research, consults with many different types of organizations, and delivers negotiation and mediation trainings and courses on ground and online. He engages in negotiation and mediation at the organizational, corporate, government, and international levels. He is the founding director of Bay Path University’s master’s degree program in Leadership and Negotiation.

His publications range from scholarly articles such as, ‘From Aristotle to Sadat: A Short Strategic Persuasion Framework for Negotiators’ recently published in the Negotiation Journal, to a series of podcasts, audiobooks, and print materials called, ‘The Negotiator in You’ which are, in his words, ‘designed for people who do not typically see themselves as negotiators.’ A part of this series, the ‘Negotiation Tip of the Week’ was in the top 100 iTunes podcasts for three years, when it was downloaded over two million times.

In the creative vein, his latest book Trouble at the Watering Hole: The Adventures of Emo and Chickie, co-authored by Gregg Relyea, was written for young children. The book is a negotiation and conflict resolution skills book for children ages 6 to 10. Trouble at the Watering Hole is a story about animals trying to share a water hole, the conflicts that ensue, and how they ultimately solve the problem.

As you can see, the Committee was impressed not only with the depth of his academic work but with the wide-ranging impact of his engagement with the broader community, and especially his ability to reach audiences—from children, through his students at Bay Path and beyond, to international peace negotiators.

Please join me in congratulating this year’s recipient of the Richard J. Briotta Outstanding Faculty Research, Scholarly Activity, and Creative Works Prize, Dr. Joshua N. Weiss.”


Vana Nespor Learning Innovation Award

Jamie Litchfield, Director of Business Programs

Our accelerated baccalaureate degree programs, launched in 1999 under the visionary leadership of Dr. Vana Nespor, and then delivered online at The American Women’s College since 2013, offer flexible and affordable access to higher education for adult women. These programs were designed to empower and propel the diverse population of women we serve toward achievement of their college degree and career aspirations. Driven by the desire to provide quality educational experiences to our adult women, The American Women’s College encourages the integration of new technologies and pedagogical practices that promote evidence based learning and active engagement. This award is intended to recognize an academic director at The American Women’s College who is dedicated to the promotion of student success for adult women through curricular advancement with the integration or development of digitally enhanced, data-driven, innovative, or cost effective learning experiences in our accelerated undergraduate model.

Presented by Amanda Gould, Chief Administrative Officer, the following was noted of our first-ever Vana Nespor Learning Innovation Award award winner:

“Jamie Litchfield joined The American Women’s College as a Program Director in August 2015 with a passion for educating women, already a successful business owner of Essential Lighting. Her depth of personal experience has only made her more impactful in the classroom. Students often make comments such as:

‘The teacher used a lot of her personal experiences as examples of what was in the book so it made the subject more realistic,’ and, ‘​​I like that the instructor was able to relate everything to real life experiences.’

Jamie really began with Bay Path in 2007. First, as a One Day student graduating in 2010 magna cum laude (bachelor’s in business/executive management) with Maroon Key honors, and then a graduate student with the MBA program, and then as an adjunct faculty member.

Now, as the director overseeing all seven of our business majors, Jamie guides the curriculum for more than 375 students enrolled in these programs. Two of the most recent majors that Jamie has been developing include Digital Marketing, Business Analytics and Entrepreneurship.

Jamie has been absolutely integral to the development of the KnowledgePath courses through our SOUL model at The American Women’s College. Her desire to think creatively and tackle the curriculum with an entirely new adaptive approach has allowed us to bring nine courses into the mapping process. In addition to Jamie’s commitment to digitally enhancing her courses to increase engagement, decreasing the cost of these effective learning experiences by implementing open educational resources in her courses, and investing the time in mapping her curriculum by breaking the outcomes into the smallest possible building blocks and them mapping them back together across our adaptive knowledge maps, Jamie is also an incredible educator.

She is helping to take The American Women’s College to new heights with her innovative spirit. Please join me in congratulating Jamie Litchfield as the very first recipient of the Vana Nespor Learning Innovation Award.”


Four adjunct faculty members were also recognized:  

Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Teaching Awards

Division of Student Engagement and Liberal Studies - David Bovat

The American Women’s College - Mary Nietupski

School of Education, Human & Health Sciences - Tammy Lynn Tudryn

School of Science and Management - Alan Black, Esq.


Congratulations to our award winners!