WMU News

Veteran HHS professor, staffer honored

March 7, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- The College of Health and Human Services at Western Michigan University presented two awards recently to outstanding members of its faculty and staff to honor them for their achievements.

At a faculty and staff recognition luncheon, the college presented its Distinguished Service Award to Jeanine M. Bartholomew, director of academic and student services for the college, while the Teaching Excellence Award was presented to Dr. Susan V. Ponchillia, professor of blind rehabilitation.

Bartholomew, who has worked in her position since 1990, was nominated by her peers and by students. One colleague described Bartholomew as having "a 'whatever it takes' attitude because she is willing to go the extra mile and goes beyond the call of duty to ensure that the mission of the University is maintained."

Students also praised Bartholomew. One wrote that, "She has helped me through hard times, when I felt like giving up. I never thought I would get this far in my education, but by working and observing her professionalism, it has made me want to achieve and excel in my education She has been an inspiration in my decisions and education at Western Michigan University. Students love her for her patience, warmth, and kindness towards them."

Ponchillia's nominators lauded her for her innovative teaching. "Dr. Ponchillia emphasizes a hands-on approach in all her applied courses," wrote one. "She has students measure and draw insulin, measure blood sugar with a talking glucometer, and 'inject' an orange under blindfold. She even has all students, including men, apply make-up without vision. She is exceedingly aware of changing issues in consumerism and teaching innovations, which she frequently incorporates into her classes. She also monitors and offers virtually unlimited help to the part-time instructors who teach in the rehabilitation teaching program."

A student of Ponchillia's noted that, "Dr. Ponchillia combines a concern for academic excellence with a deep interest in the professional development and general welfare of her students. She is also eager to learn from the prior experience of her students as she helps us to acquire and expand the wealth of knowledge necessary for future careers in rehabilitation teaching. She is always available for personal consultation and her office is always a welcoming environment. She always holds class with a deft mixture of seriousness and humor that fosters uninhibited participation from all involved."

Both the Teaching Excellence and Distinguished Service awards include a $1,000 cash prize. The award has been given yearly since 1997. Dean Janet I. Pisaneschi announced the awards during the annual faculty and staff recognition luncheon, in which the college recognizes achievements such as publications, grants and contracts, editorships, leadership position in community, state, and national offices, external recognition, and leadership in new program development.

"The recognition luncheon has become a tradition in the College of Health and Human Services," Pisaneschi says. "This year our numbers exceeded even our high expectations, and I am happy to say that research, service, and pedagogy in the college is at a highpoint."

More than 60 faculty and staff were honored during the luncheon, some of them for multiple accomplishments. More than 35 faculty published their work, while more than 20 received contracts or contracts for research, training or service projects. Five held editorships and 27 were named to community, state, or national offices. In addition, five received external awards and five led new program developments in the college.

For more information call Kurt Haenicke at (269) 387-2654.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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