Each year, Collegewide nominations are accepted for the Outstanding Faculty Award, Administrative and Professional Collaborative Exceptional Service and Initiative Award and the Career Employees' Council Recognition of Excellence Award. Congratulations to the winners!
Outstanding Faculty Awards
Dr. Ranjan Chhibber, Professor of Film Studies and Humanities
Dr. Ranjan Chhibber was selected for the Outstanding Faculty Award from the School of Liberal Arts, Communication and Education. He engages learners through the use of modern examples in popular culture and modern medium such as film clips, Cosplay, magic or other performance methods. He takes the time to create an educational experience which is even evident in his community involvement. As an example, his students Cosplayed their favorite Japanese anime to draw customers to the Barnabas Center whose proceeds help those in need in Nassau County. He explains, “I have studied magic tricks since I was a teenager; performing magic is about convincing the audience that the extraordinary is present within the realm of the ordinary.”
A student nominee wrote, “Ranjan is a wonderful professor who makes everything he teaches interesting…He is gem.”
Dr. Carl Colavito, Professor of Political Science
Representing the School of Social, Behavioral and Health Sciences, Dr. Carl Colavito was selected for the Outstanding Faculty Award for his Collegewide enrichment efforts. Specific examples include his organization efforts of Kent Talks, Socratic Dialogues and even campus dances. These are not just singular, self-standing events, but rather they are often linked to broader initiatives such as the FSCJ Author Series or they are at the request of local high school teachers who want help sparking the imagination of their students. Merging academic content with the broader world, Dr. Colavito helps his students understand that learning is a transformative and integrated experience.
One of the student nominators said, “He gives me a reason to come to class by making learning fun. Through his class, I have been able to settle my thoughts and come up with new ways of thinking.”
Dr. Mary Lee Cunill, Professor of Speech
Dr. Mary Lee Cunill was also selected for the Outstanding Faculty Award to represent the School of Liberal Arts, Communication and Education. Dr. Cunill focuses on diversity and helping students identify and embrace what makes them unique. Supporting her goal to create a rich, educational environment in which students see and build upon their individual strengths, she helps each student find the resources needed to become “educated, successful, self-actualized citizens.” Even in her class, she completely adapts her base lesson plan to reflect the experiences of each specific group of students. She served as the most recent faculty lead for the FSCJ Author Series, arranging for the book, “Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism” by Temple Grandin, to be incorporated across the College and across disciplines, coordinating an essay and art contest and is now working to establish a scholarship for students on the Autism spectrum here at FSCJ.
One of her student nominators wrote, “She was so inspiring and led us all to recognize our worth as individuals and professionals.”
Professor Kimberly Hall, Professor of Criminal Justice
Professor Kimberly Hall was selected to for the Outstanding Faculty Award to represent the School of Business, Professional Studies and Public Safety. She weaves a rich educational experience for her students, thoughtfully arranges guest speakers and site visits to provide a more practicable learning experience and has even designed her own supplementary course materials to provide further support and instruction. She strives to help students not only understand the content of the coursework but to also be able to apply and succeed in the field. Additionally, she encourages soft skill development through the review of job profiles, cover letter development, mock interview opportunities and even professional shadowing.
One of the students who nominated her wrote, “She is a living and breathing example of the word, ‘outstanding.’” Another said, “She goes above and beyond for anyone who truly needs help or desires to better themselves.”
Dr. Stefanie Maruhnich, Professor of Biology
Dr. Stefanie Maruhnich was selected for the Outstanding Faculty Award for the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics because she is a dynamic problem solver who strives to advance the College’s educational offerings. She is a faculty representative for the Achieving the Dream Grant and has focused on creating course shells with open access material to reduce the financial stress of textbook costs for students. Even in her own classes, she identifies and develops her texts to eliminate the financial hardships for her students. Her efforts to seek engaging and accessible material extends beyond the classroom walls and into the online classes where she has worked with distance learning to create meaningful, safe, hands-on science experiments for online learners.
An online student who nominated her said, “She made her presence very known,” and another said, “She is one of the best professors at FSCJ.”
Administrative and Professional Collaborative Exceptional Service and Initiative Award
Dr. Kathleen Ciez-Volz, Associate Provost of Curriculum and Instruction
Dr. Kathleen Ciez-Volz was unanimously selected for the Exceptional Service and Initiative Award by the Administrative and Professional Collaborative (APC) for her high-level collaborative and innovative leadership. Dr. Ciez-Volz effectively oversees several core areas that are central to the operational foundation of the College and has been an integral part of major Collegewide initiatives which led to the positive enhancement of academic experiences of first-year students. Several of the initiatives represented the College’s response to new programmatic guidelines and unfunded legislative mandates that posed critical challenges and eminent changes to the curriculum.
The APC’s nomination letter reads, “With every position she has held in the College, colleagues have enjoyed working with her because Dr. Ciez-Volz leads with transparency, honesty, integrity, accuracy, compassion, fairness and equity, while building consensus through trust, understanding and collegiality, the values admired by many people with whom she engages.”
Career Employees’ Council Recognition of Excellence Award
Esteban Cano, Academic Tutor of Foreign Languages
Mr. Esteban Cano was selected for the Career Employees' Council (CEC) Recognition of Excellence Award for his unwavering determination to support the academic careers of FSCJ students, while also advancing the College’s vision of innovation. His collaborative efforts have resulted in a rich online support system for Distance Learning students with embedded introductory videos about foreign language lab services into Blackboard, a video repository and weaving WebEx sessions into tutorial support. As a nod to this initiative and confirmation of its success, he presented these innovative instructional methods at the annual Florida College Learning Center Association (FCLCA) meeting, inspiring many attending colleges to seek his advice and establish their own similar support systems.
His nomination letter reads, “It is within the personal accounts and testimonials of Esteban’s interactions with students, faculty and staff that the CEC Awards Committee felt the impact of his efforts, as he has accomplished a great deal of success by coupling his vision with compassion and enthusiasm.”