Outstanding Rider faculty and staff honored at annual awards ceremony

Employees recognized on Dec. 12 for broad range of accomplishments

Rider faculty, administration and staff gathered in the Theater in the Bart Luedeke Center on Dec. 12 for the University’s annual Faculty & Staff Awards Ceremony. The awards honored employees’ outstanding contributions to the University at large.

The Frank N. Elliott Award for Distinguished Service is named in honor of Rider University’s fourth president, Frank Elliott, and is presented each year to a staff member, faculty member and administrator who has demonstrated distinguished service to the University. This year's faculty recipient was history professor Dr. Brooke Hunter; the administrative recipient was Associate Provost and Legal Counsel for Academic Affairs James Castagnera; the staff recipient was groundskeeper Karen March.

Every year solicitations are sent for the Michelle McCormack Award, looking for a student organization adviser who has served as an outstanding mentor. Recipients are honored for impacting the growth and development of student leaders and members and supporting organization activities and accomplishments during the year. This year’s recipient was Director of Recreation Programs Dianna Clauss. She was praised for her ability to foster leadership skills in the student-run organizations she oversees.

Associate Dean of Students Ira Mayo received the Nancy Gray Award. Named in honor of former Vice President of Development Nancy Gray, the award is bestowed upon a staff or faculty member or administrator who exemplifies the ideals of institutional leadership, school pride and community service. After more than 30 years of service to Rider, Mayo was recognized for his profound impact on generations of students who remember him as a strong source of support.

The Ziegler-Gee Award is given to a member of the University who demonstrates exemplary support for gender equality and focuses on ending gender-based discrimination. Susan Stahley, prevention education coordinator, received the award for her tireless dedication to students’ physical and mental well-being with a special focus on sexual health and equality.

The Iorio Award, named after Dean Emeritus Dominick A. Iorio, is presented annually to an outstanding researcher within the University. Recipients have been recognized by external authorities as providing meaningful contributions to their discipline through their published work. This year's honoree was Dr. Mitchell Ratner, associate professor and chairperson of the Department of Finance and Economics. Since joining the faculty in 1990, he has completed research that has appeared in top-ranking professional finance journals. His current contributions have focused on international financial markets and investments.

Dr. Kristin McCarthy, visiting assistant professor in the Department of Finance and Economics, received the Faculty Academic Advising Award for her outstanding advising qualities, which help students develop their educational and career goals. One student nominator wrote, "Dr. McCarthy is a wonderful, caring and dedicated professor. After meeting her last year, her enthusiasm about the healthcare industry rubbed off on me, enough for me to change my minor to healthcare administration.”

Each year, two faculty members are selected to receive the Distinguished Teaching Award. This year's awardees were Dr. Karen Gischlar, associate professor in the Department of Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling, and Dr. Kathy Price, associate professor in the Department of Piano and Voice.

Gischlar has taught in Rider’s school psychology program since 2004, with her research focusing on emergent literacy skill assessment and intervention and the implementation of Response to Intervention models. A student who nominated her for the award says she “has truly given me a new outlook on life and genuinely cares about the success of each and every one of her students.”

Price teaches graduate vocal pedagogy courses and applied voice lessons. She also directs the Presser Voice Laboratory on the Princeton campus. One of her student nominators says, "She puts everyone before herself and has immense love for all of her students and helps them grow to incredible levels.”

Dr. Sharon McKool earned the Chairperson Leadership Award. The award highlights the many aspects that contribute to successful departmental leadership. Her colleagues applauded her problem-solving abilities and her flexibility in allowing faculty to create and implement new courses based upon current trends in education.

After a vote among the Rider Athletics coaches, the Coach of the Year Award was given to two recipients this year — men's basketball head coach Kevin Baggett and swimming and diving head coach Stephen Fletcher.

The Mazzotti Awards in Women's Leadership were established by Joan Mazzotti '72, former chair of the Board of Trustees, and her husband, Michael Kelly, to provide external leadership professional development opportunities for women faculty and staff. This year's recipients are Dianna Clauss, director of Recreation Programs, Christine Mehlhorn, director of Transition Programs, and Jia Shen, chair of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management.

The Center for the Development of Leadership Skills Leadership Legacy Award is presented to a local community member who through his or her leadership endeavors has left a lasting positive impact upon the University community. Staff psychologist Dr. Kathy Stratton was this year's recipient. She was honored for her work in co-founding a grassroots organization called Decoding Dyslexia, which has led to the development of local and national legislation and increased awareness about dyslexia.

New to the ceremony was the Provost’s Initiative Award. The award was established to recognize a few individuals who have played significant roles in moving forward a number of important initiatives aimed at preparing graduates both personally and professionally for life and work in the 21st century.

Director of the Academic Success Center Kendall Friedman was honored for her commitment to student achievement. Director of Assessment & Institutional Effectiveness Edward Barboni was recognized for his leadership and commitment to student learning outcomes and the assessment process. Assistant Education Professor Susan Dougherty and Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Jan Friedman Krupnik were honored for their implementation of the Engaged Learning Program.

The Outstanding Achievement Award was given to more than 80 administrative and support staff employees from all areas of the University. These employees made significant and unique contributions during the past year that have furthered the vision and mission of the University or provided exemplary service beyond the high standards already expected of Rider employees. Nearly 20 faculty members were also recognized for their recent promotions and tenure this year.

A new employee recognition program, Rider Recognizes, was unveiled at the ceremony as well. The program provides a comprehensive approach to recognition and engagement among individuals, groups and the Rider community.