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Haney and DeMauro win Stewart Award

Professors Kanathy Haney and Sandra DeMauro, two of Palm Beach State College’s newest faculty members, are this year’s winners of the Stewart Distinguished Teaching Award.

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Professor Kanathy Haney, left, and Professor Sandra DeMauro, second from right, are congratulated by President Ava L. Parker, Dr. Anita Kaplan, dean of bachelor degree programs, and Dr. Roger Yohe, vice president for academic affairs.

The recipients were announced during Convocation Aug. 21 where President Ava L. Parker and other College leaders welcomed faculty and staff for the 2017-2018 academic year. The Stewart Distinguished Teaching Award is the highest award presented by the College to faculty. It recognizes faculty and program instructors who use interactive learning to promote student engagement, and it comes with a $5,000 cash prize.

As part of the self-nomination process, professors must demonstrate that they go beyond the norm by developing, implementing, assessing and analyzing innovative learning practices to help students succeed in reaching their academic goals.

Haney was chosen for a project requiring students to identify a health topic to explore throughout the term and monitor how it applies to their lives. The students keep a paper, notebook or electronic journal documenting their experiences with the topic and monitor how it is portrayed in the media. They develop a public service announcement or infographic that is presented at the end of the term.

“Their goal is to come up with enough information in a project to correct what people misunderstand because a lot of people don’t have accurate health information,’’ said Haney, who began teaching at PBSC as an adjunct instructor in spring 2014 before becoming a full time professor in fall of that year.  “I am truly honored to have been chosen by my fellow colleagues for the project that has evolved since I first started as an adjunct.  It has been a wonderful experience to watch my students develop their health literacy projects to decrease health disparities. The infographics and PSAs my students have made are amazing health communication pieces that can be just what people need to see in order to make changes in their lives and health habits. I have the privilege of learning from the unique perspective of each of my students.”

DeMauro, who began teaching as an adjunct instructor of Introduction to the College Experience in fall 2011 before becoming full time in fall 2014, was selected for a community-based learning project for students enrolled in the honors section of the course.  Her students read last year’s common reader, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” during the first month of class. In groups, they discussed various prevalent themes in the book. They identified and discussed over 20 themes, and then they worked in groups to identify those they would use for a community based learning project. One group organized, in partnership with the College-Wide Counseling Center, a “Relax on the Lawn” event to address the importance of mental health and seeking help from available resources.  Another group coordinated a Diversity Awareness campaign event held in the library. The other two groups were involved in cancer awareness events.

“I was so proud of my students because they went above and beyond in planning and executing their projects. They not only learned about an amazing personal story, they experienced the value of community engagement,’’ DeMauro said. “I am so honored be recognized for this award, and I look forward to this semester as we use the common reader, “I Am Malala.”

Dr. Anita Kaplan, dean of the bachelor degree programs who chairs the selection committee, said about a dozen nomination packets were submitted. She applauded the winners for their projects as they encouraged student interaction and collaboration. “Team building and team work is very important for our students.”

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