NECC Faculty Receive National Recognition
Four Northern Essex Community College faculty members were recently named recipients of the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Awards for Excellence, a national honor that recognizes outstanding faculty and staff in the country’s community colleges.
All of this year’s recipients are professors known for getting their students excited about the subjects they teach. They include Mike Cross, Ph.D., chemistry professor; Michael Penta, computer and information sciences professor; Dr. Paul Saint-Amand, English professor; and Clare Thompson-Ostrander, English professor.
Here is additional information on each of the recipients and their nominations:
Mike Cross, of Atkinson, NH, has been an associate professor of chemistry since 2009. To better understand the trials and challenges of today’s community college student, Cross enrolled in and completed NECC’s liberal arts associate degree program.
Carolyn Knoepfler, assistant dean of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Advanced Manufacturing, nominated him.
“…He is an excellent teacher, colleague, department chair and magician! He started the Bacon Board Game Club, is a requested guest speaker through the NECC Speaker’s Bureau…This summer, for the second time, he will lead a group of students to Italy to learn and discuss the work of Galileo…
He earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Utah.
A community college graduate himself, Mike Penta, of Lowell, began teaching computer science at Northern Essex in 2012. He has been an assistant professor since 2012. Knoepfler also nominated Penta.
“…Michael is an outstanding teacher, faculty member, mentor, and innovator at the college. His unending energy is obvious in everything he does…His rapport with students is impressive…”
He earned an associate degree in computer science from Middlesex Community College and both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
A Vietnam-era Air Force veteran, Paul Saint-Amand, of Rockport, has taught at NECC since 2007. He has promoted peace and supported other veterans. He previously taught at a number of institutions including SUNY- Potsdam, NY.
He received nominations from Communication/Journalism Professor Amy Callahan and English Professor Tom Greene.
Callahan praised Saint-Amand for his deep devotion to peace and justice and for the initiatives, he has introduced to the NECC community.
“Paul is deeply respected by the faculty as an expert educator and kindhearted colleague. Paul has brought important and meaningful initiatives to our campus – initiatives that directly touch the lives of students and make our community a better place, including Peace Poetry and the NECC Veterans Writing Group.”
Greene supported the nomination writing, “The phrase ‘beloved by many’ gets casually thrown around…but in Paul’s case I’ve never known anyone who leaves such a trail of selfless affinity and good will everywhere he goes.”
Saint-Amand earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Florida, Gainesville; a Master of Education in Reading and Language from the University of Oklahoma and a Doctorate of Education in Humanistic Education from Boston University.
He is currently writing “Planting Peace: Developing a Peace Poetry Literacy Program” for anyone who is interested in peace poetry as a genre.
Clare Thompson-Ostrander, of Amesbury, a professor in academic preparation, has been teaching and tutoring at Northern Essex since 1999. She received seven peer nominations for the award.
“Clare is one of the most compassionate and passionate teachers I have ever met in my 27 years of teaching,” wrote Janice Rogers, assistant dean of liberal arts. “She is that professor who will notice when her students are hungry or upset and will get them help. She sees the whole student and all their complicated lives they bring to the classroom. She is gentle and kind, yet her expectations are high.”
Trish Schade, developmental English professor supported the nomination writing, “She has also been a valued Learning Community partner whom I have learned so much about assignment design from. Her quiet humble leadership is transformative…”
“Clare is the ideal colleague,” wrote Barbara Stachniewicz, English professor. “She is a brilliant curriculum designer and she pairs that ability with an incredible generosity of spirit.”
“…Her innovative ideas for reading and writing projects are met with collective enthusiasm in the classroom and among her faculty peers,” praised Margaret Glenn of the NECC Marketing and Communications Team.
Natural Science Professor Sarah Courchesne concurred. “Clare’s disarming and self-effacing nature belie her remarkable skill as a teacher…”
“For innovative teaching techniques…for creative ways to approach curriculum…I go to her,” wrote Aaron Moreno, developmental English professor.
“Clare has helped me … I get better results when I use her models.” wrote Steve Russell, History professor.
Thompson-Ostrander earned a bachelor in English from Suffolk University and a Master of Art in Literature from the University of New Hampshire.
Since 1978, NISOD has been dedicated to the professional development of faculty, administrators, and staff; and to the continued improvement of teaching and learning, with the ultimate goal of student success.
The national conference will be held on May 26 – 29 in Austin, Texas.