Six Penn State faculty who teach online received University awards this year

Penn State faculty members who teach online for Penn State World Campus have been recognized by the University with a variety of awards for their work this academic year.

At Penn State, faculty who teach online courses for Penn State World Campus also teach classes at the University Park campus or other campuses across Pennsylvania. These awards highlight many of the University’s faculty and staff who go above and beyond in their work at Penn State.

Penn State announced the awards earlier in April and held a recognition ceremony to honor the recipients.

The six faculty members teach courses in accounting, human development and family studies, undergraduate business, agriculture, and liberal arts.

Faculty director lauded for efforts to support adult learners

The faculty director of the human development and family studies bachelor’s program that is offered online has been recognized with the award that recognizes an administrator’s efforts to support adult learners.

Shannon Corkery is the recipient of the 2023 Shirley Hendrick Award, which is presented by the Penn State Commission for Adult Learners. Corkery is an associate teaching professor of human development and family studies, and in addition to serving as the faculty director of the program, she has taught the courses HDFS 301 and HDFS 455.

Nominators said Corkery is committed to advocating and creating avenues for adult learners to flourish as Penn State students and as emerging professionals. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Corkery was quick to find solutions for students who feared a lack of internship opportunities would delay their graduation. She created a project-based course alternative to fulfill the requirement and led efforts to guide students to earn academic credit for these relevant experiences.

Corkery is mindful that adult learners often have many life commitments they are balancing along with their education. With this in mind, she and collaborators have integrated experiences for engagement and learning within courses as well as through easy-to-access co-curricular offerings.

Through a partnership with the Jana Marie Foundation, Corkery has helped facilitate hundreds of students to be trained and certified in mental health first aid as part of their course work. Corkery has also led efforts to launch a regular speaker series to help connect students with the opportunity to hear from diverse voices.

Two professors receive teaching excellence awards

One of the faculty members who teaches in the online Master of Professional Accounting program has received a distinguished teaching award.

Patrick Cusatis, an associate professor of finance at Penn State Harrisburg, was one of the two recipients of the 2023 Milton S. Eisenhower Award for Distinguished Teaching. It recognizes excellence in teaching and student support among tenured faculty who have been employed full-time for at least five years with undergraduate teaching as a major portion of their duties.

In addition to his teaching duties for Penn State Harrisburg, Cusatis has taught ACCT 561 in the online master’s in accounting program offered through Penn State World Campus.

Cusatis, who has 30 years of teaching experience and extensive experience working on Wall Street, uses his industry ties to help his students remain current. He said his contact with financial professionals keeps him aware of changing conditions in the industry and employment market.

Megan Lorenz, a lecturer in business administration at the Penn State York campus, is one of the recipients of the 2023 George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching. It honors excellence in teaching at the undergraduate level.

Lorenz has taught an online version of ACCT 211: Financial and Managerial Accounting for Decision-Making, which is a required course for undergraduate degrees in accounting, business, finance, marketing, and more.

Lorenz strives to teach her students to be leaders and often incorporates real-world examples in course material from her own work experience. She also uses project-based learning so students can bridge classroom discussions with real-world business projects.

Faculty member receives award for leadership efforts

A faculty member from the human development and family studies bachelor’s program was honored with an award for her leadership.

Jessica Clontz, assistant teaching professor of human development and family studies at Penn State DuBois, is the recipient of the 2023 Undergraduate Program Leadership Award. In addition to her teaching responsibilities at the DuBois campus, Clontz has taught HDFS 411 online for Penn State World Campus.

The award recognizes a faculty member who has major responsibilities for the delivery of undergraduate education within a unit and who provides leadership that has transformed or revitalized the undergraduate program in some way.

Nominators said Clontz continuously enhances the undergraduate curriculum by keeping course material current while offering interactive and external learning opportunities. She created programs for students to develop real-world skills and works to enhance student recruitment and placement for the HDFS program at the DuBois campus.

Agricultural sciences professor recognized for student engagement efforts

A professor who teaches an animal science course online has been recognized for his work to engage with students.

Burt Staniar is an associate professor of equine science in the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences and has received the 2023 President’s Award for Engagement with Students. He teaches ANSC 107, a general education science course for online bachelor’s degree programs that introduces students to equine science and industry.

The award is given to a faculty member who goes beyond his or her responsibilities to engage and encourage students in learning. Nominators said Staniar works hard to engage directly with students, but he also emphasizes their engagement with one another.

He is a pioneer in remote learning, developing some of the first animal science courses that mix students from Penn State World Campus with University Park and the Commonwealth Campuses. To develop these courses, nominators said, Staniar spends countless hours collaborating with fellow faculty and learning designers to develop videos that educate.

Liberal Arts professor honored with award for human service

A faculty member from the College of the Liberal Arts who teaches online has received the University’s 2023 Barash Award for Human Service.

Jill M. Wood is a teaching professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. She has taught WMNST 100 online, a general education course that introduces students to women’s and gender studies.

The award honors a full-time member of the faculty, staff, or student body who has contributed the most to human causes, public service activities and organizations, or the welfare of fellow humans.

A nominator called Wood an advocate for women’s health on and off campus. At the request of Penn State’s Gender Equity Center (GEC), Wood helped create and assumed the role of a new position to help improve services and support for students and units who work with survivors.

25 years of online education at Penn State

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Penn State World Campus, which launched when the first online course, in turfgrass management, opened in the spring semester of 1998.

Since then, Penn State World Campus has expanded its offerings to a comprehensive portfolio of more than 175 online undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs. Many faculty who teach at the Penn State University Park campus or other campuses across Pennsylvania teach online for Penn State World Campus.

Learn more about the 175 degree programs that are offered online through Penn State World Campus and taught by Penn State faculty.

Media Contact:
Mike Dawson