News Archive

Five honored for commitment to student success

Published March 27, 2023

One theme was clear at Nazareth’s 2023 Teaching Excellence and Student Support awards this month: “We’re committed to our students,” said Lisa Hiley '02, Ph.D., winner of the full-time faculty teaching excellence award.

Hiley — an associate professor in communication sciences and disorders and coordinator of the developing child and families minor — said she sees active engagement all around her, including in classrooms, offices, clinics, and out in the community, which makes Nazareth such a strong place to work and to learn. “It’s exciting to be surrounded by folks who are committed to each of the students who are here, at the undergraduate and graduate level.” She also thanked colleagues: “You have challenged me and supported me.”

Provost Maureen Finney praised Hiley’s student-centered approach in the classroom, in clinical settings, and in interprofessional initiatives. “Students extol your excellence as a teacher, your ability to make them learn and love the material, and your commitment to them as individuals beyond the classroom.”

Five faculty and staff were honored at the event March 23, 2023.

Accepting the part-time faculty award for teaching excellence was a full circle moment for John O'Gorman '85, '90G, he said: A scholarship enabled him to attend Nazareth College, great faculty supported him to become a school teacher, and now he educates the next generation of teachers. “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world,” he said, quoting Nelson Mandela. 

Finney praised O’Gorman’s expertise, collaboration, student-centric instruction, and dedication to ensuring that education students become the best teachers they can be.

O’Gorman noted it’s not easy to be a teacher, especially in this time when states are passing laws to limit teachers’ autonomy in the classroom. “We need to teach our teachers to stand up and do what is right,” he said.

Chemistry and biochemistry Associate Professor Matt Schoell — honored for outstanding advising of undergraduate students — excels at providing individual attention to students, is “approachable, caring, helpful, and respectful,” and is always available to help them, students said. His excellent advising supports great results: 100% of all clinical lab sciences graduates have successfully passed the state board exam and are employed, noted Linda Searing, director of Academic Advising.

Schoell, director of the clinical laboratory sciences program, said he tells the future lab technologists, “You’re about to be people who will serve the people of the Rochester area,” and that his goal is for them to be ready to make great decisions on their own. His program is successful because of the community built at Nazareth, where every faculty and staff member is always ready to help students, he said. “I’m deeply grateful to be here at Naz and to have that wider community.”

In awarding the 2023 Center for Life's Work Champion award to Megan Tobin '08G, Emily Carpenter called out her research collaboration: “One of her superpowers is her commitment to including and mentoring students in research.” 

Tobin — an associate professor and chairperson in communication sciences & disorders at Nazareth — said the research with students is a favorite part of her job. She said it’s exciting to have students go on to present their research at state and national conferences, pursue having work published in journals, and to cheer when they are accepted into doctoral programs.

The student support excellence award went to Dillon Smith, Nazareth’s military and veteran services coordinator and academic counselor. Amy Fisher, director of student success, praised Smith’s dynamic, positive, caring, and friendly approach to help students achieve their academic, personal, and professional goals — and the way he’s created a “home away from home in the military and veteran suite.”

Smith, who joined Nazareth in 2022, said, “I love being part of this community, one that really puts the wellbeing of our students at the center of everything we do.” He added, “I look forward to continuing that in the years to come.”

In congratulating all of the winners in the decorated room, President Beth Paul said, “You are the helium in our purple and gold balloons here at Nazareth.”

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Julie Long | Senior News & PR Officer | | (585) 389-2456 | (585) 781-8186 (cell)

Nazareth University is an inclusive community of inspired learners, educators, and changemakers who for nearly 100 years have been driven by a bold commitment to action, empathy, equity, and leading innovation for the common good. Impact experiences are at the heart of a Nazareth education, preparing each student to discover within themselves the potential to cultivate positive change in their life's work, in any career field, and in a world that is constantly evolving and infinitely interconnected.

Our broad academic offerings present a range of study options typical of larger universities, yet achieved in our supportive campus culture. Nearly 2,100 undergrad and 600 graduate students enroll in degree and certificate programs and engage in collaborative, transformative learning experiences, preparing for the professions and society of today and tomorrow. In a learning community that purposefully integrates liberal arts and professional programs, Nazareth University graduates are able to launch a lifetime of impactful leadership in communities and workplaces near and far.

Five honored for commitment to student success including: Dillon Smith (left), Matt Schoell (top right with Linda Searing, director of Academic Advising), and Lisa Hiley, John O'Gorman, and Megan Tobin (bottom right, left to right in photo).