Chairs on campus

Faculty Awards — 2024

Several Albright College faculty members have been recognized for outstanding teaching, scholarship and service during the 2023-24 academic year. Awardees include:

The Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award

Guillaume deSyon, Ph.D.

Professor of History

Guillaume de Syon, Ph.D., professor of history at Albright College, has been named the college’s 2024 Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award recipient. Presented every other year, the award honors outstanding, full-time members of the faculty who best exemplify teaching excellence. Recognized for instructional innovation and his commitment to students, de Syon is a historian who enriches Albright’s curriculum with innovative history courses that cover topics from Ancient Civilizations to the Nuclear Age. Through these courses, an evolving first-year seminar, an engaging synthesis (capstone) course, and Albright Creative Research Experiences, de Syon endeavors to assist students in finding a new historical spark. Emphasizing analysis and critical thinking, de Syon’s classes foster a sense of community in which every participant is encouraged to contribute.

The United Methodist Exemplary Teaching Award

Teresa Gilliams, Ph.D.

Professor of English

The United Methodist Exemplary Teaching Award honors a faculty member who demonstrates teaching excellence, service to students, a commitment to education, and significant contributions to the scholarly life of Albright College. Gilliams distinguished herself in all of these areas for the past 20 years. Having won prestigious national and international scholarly awards, mentored student research presented at national conferences, and positively impacted students’ intellectual and social-emotional growth in and outside of the classroom, she is the quintessential teacher-scholar. Student testimony sheds light on just how valuable she is to the college. One shared that Gilliams encourages students to think deeper about themselves as people and find ways to develop and grow as an individuals and intellectuals.

The Dr. Henry P. and M. Paige Laughlin Distinguished Faculty Award

Lesley Goodman, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of English and Department Chair

The Dr. Henry P. and M. Paige Laughlin Distinguished Faculty Award is presented to the faculty member who is deemed to be most worthy of recognition for distinguished teaching. Goodman exemplifies innovation and inclusivity in all aspects of her pedagogical practice. Over the past several years, she has spearheaded a complete revision and reimagination of the first-year writing program, impacting the educational lives of all Albright students. In her upper-level literature courses, she asks students to engage imaginatively with assigned readings so that they may see the real-life value, and relevance, of literature in their daily lives. In her British Literature course, she invites students to blend textual analysis with their own professional development skills, as they create resume, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles for characters they examine (an assignment notably referred to as “genius” in course evaluations). When teaching Shakespeare, she asks students to develop their own film treatments for innovative adaptations of classic plays, with one offering a vision for a King Lear sock puppet production, and another envisioning MacBeth in the style of The Blair Witch Project. Her dedication, enthusiasm, and personal kindness are consistent themes in student comments with one student noting, “she gets on everyone’s individual level,” and another stating “there was never once a time where I felt as if this professor wasn’t completely and utterly understanding, respectful, and inclusive … I always felt safe to express ideas.” One student seemed to synthesize the sentiments of so many of their peers in simply writing, “She goes above and beyond in every aspect of her job.”

The Laughlin Research Award for Faculty Scholarship

Elizabeth Polley, M.F.A

Assistant Professor of Theatre

The Laughlin Research Award for Faculty Scholarship recognizes faculty who, during the previous years have continued to do research or published on an ongoing project. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in theater and fashion from Albright in 2007, followed by a Master of Fine Arts in costume design and technology from the University of Cincinnati – College Conservatory of Music, Polley returned to her alma mater in 2022, as an assistant professor of theater — to guide students as they endeavor to realize their dreams in theater, fashion and wardrobe. Her creative practice beyond the classroom includes the American Opera Company’s Glimmerglass Festival where she returns this summer as the Wardrobe Manager. In this capacity, she oversees the hiring of a wardrobe team consisting of 19 professionals, staff, assistants and apprentices. She explains, “The caliber of the productions at Glimmerglass is extraordinary and working there informs every aspect of my teaching and mentoring of theatre and fashion students at Albright.” She is also under contract to write The Wardrobe Supervisor’s Toolkit: A Comprehensive Guide to Wardrobe, the first published work dedicated to wardrobe management for live performance. With the peer-reviewed manuscript submitted in December 2023, the book will “provide students and young professionals who are interested in wardrobe across the country with a framework to run wardrobe successfully despite the lack of training traditionally provided.”

The Class of ’49 Annadora Vesper Shirk Award for Faculty Scholarship

Patricia Turning, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of History and Department Chair

The Annadora Vesper Shirk Award for Faculty Scholarship recognizes a faculty member who best exemplifies a commitment to scholarship or creativity, especially as it pertains to a specialized and recent body of work. This year’s recipient is a well-recognized teacher and scholar with expertise in late medieval crime and punishment in the urban realm. Her scholarship introduces us to both the beauties and complexities of the Medieval Era, but also its horrors. This is neither an easy realm to investigate nor explain to Gen-Z students. Her passion is evident through her numerous publications and her commitment to her students, as she makes a point of taking the time to explain the finer details of history and how to analyze them. In this past year, she contributed a book chapter exploring the spaces of violence in the Middle Ages and also published an article in a top-ranked journal from Oxford University Press. Her prolific scholarship record especially with materials not often accessible online, speaks volumes to her commitment as a scholar.

Melinda Riccio ’94 Memorial Excellence in Teaching Award

The Melinda Riccio ’94 Memorial Excellence in Teaching Award is dedicated to the honor and memory of an Albright College School of Professional Studies faculty member, known for her enthusiasm and knowledge of her subject and for her passion and dedication to students. Student nominations for this School of Professional Studies faculty member award are reviewed by the college’s Academic Standing and Honors Committee. Several faculty members were honored this year:

Wendy Bartkus, M.S.

Chair and Instructor of Applied Psychology

Laura Gelety, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology

Lisa Hain, Psy.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology

Melissa Wells, M.B.A.

Chair, Business Administration and Digital Marketing & Sales

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