Pellissippi State Community College recently hosted its annual employee recognition ceremony, honoring faculty and staff for outstanding service.
At this year’s ceremony, the Excellence in Teaching Award went to Christie Cunningham, assistant professor in Natural and Behavioral Sciences. The award recognizes innovative teaching techniques and the positive impact they have had on students. Cunningham has integrated technology, hands-on activities, group projects and other learning methods to increase student engagement in her psychology courses.
The Innovations Award was bestowed upon Richard Smelser, Jacob Moore and Nadia Keyes from the Financial Aid office for the creation of a Default Aversion Unit that helps Pellissippi State graduates repay school loans. The DAU group offers budgeting and financial literacy events and an online live chat to help students identify their best repayment option. Since the DAU was implemented in 2013, the College’s student loan default rate has dropped from 22.7 percent to 16 percent. The award is given in recognition of a project that demonstrates success of creative and original instructional and learning-support activities.
The Gene Joyce Visionary Award was given to Gitti Negahban, associate professor in Business and Computer Technology, in recognition of her work on an outreach project that has made a positive impact on the community. Negahban has arranged for real-world jobs — serving local businesses and nonprofits — to be built into capstone projects for her Computer Science and Information Technology students. Students gain real-life experience that helps a local organization, while employers have the opportunity to meet students who might become their employees.
The Excellence in Teaching, Innovations and Gene Joyce Visionary awards carry monetary recognition ranging from $1,000 to $1,500. Recipients of the awards also received a plaque and medallion.
Additional award recipients — each of whom received $100, a plaque and a medallion — include:
- Outstanding Adjunct Faculty, Robyn James, Liberal Arts
- Outstanding Administrator, Melanie Paradise, Records
- Outstanding Contract Worker, Janet Cope, Blount County Programs
- Outstanding Full-Time Faculty, Jennifer Brickey, Liberal Arts
- Outstanding Support Professional, Donna Pasternak, Budget and Payroll
- Outstanding Technical/Service/Maintenance Worker, J.J. Patterson, Network and Technical Services
Funding for all awards is provided by the Pellissippi State Foundation. The Foundation works to provide student scholarships and emergency loans as well as to improve facilities and secure new equipment.
For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.
Download this press release: Employee Awards 2016