February 6, 2017

Learning communities' instructors, resident assistants honored

Faculty, staff and resident assistants who are involved in the Learning Communities program were honored at a Jan. 25 luncheon for their outstanding work during the Fall 2016 semester.

Learning Communities began in 1999 with two LCs and 46 participating students. This past fall, 140 learning community instructors (faculty and professional staff) led 81 sections of 53 uniquely themed LCs, serving almost 2,500 participating students.

"The overall impact of our Learning Communities is shown through the significantly higher GPA for those students who participated in Learning Communities (3.22) versus those who did not (3.01)," says Jim Pukrop, associate director of residential academic initiatives. "Additionally, among students who participated in a learning community, those who lived on campus were more successful (3.23) than those who lived off campus (3.03)."

Special recognition was given to learning community instructors (LCIs) who were especially successful in a variety of areas.

The Exceptional Event Planner Award was given to LCIs who have been successful in planning events that are engaging, exciting and integral to student learning and development during their first semester. The recipients are:

* Aviation LC: Todd Brewer, flight maintenance technician supervisor, School of Aviation and Transportation Technology, and Brian Stirm, air operations technical specialist, School of Aviation and Transportation Technology.

* Global Science Partnerships LC: Laura Starr, director of experiential learning/student success, College of Science, and Terry Ham, international student integration and retention specialist, College of Science.

* Environmental Sciences LC: Michael Mashtare, assistant professor, Agronomy and Environmental and Ecological Engineering.

The Academic Connection Award is awarded to LCIs who are successful in planning events that directly connect classroom learning with hands-on experiences. The recipients are:

* The Nature of Wild Things LC: Julie Pluimer, academic advisor/administrative manager, Forestry and Natural Resources; Robert K. Swihart, professor, Forestry and Natural Resources; Linda Prokopy, professor, Forestry and Natural Resources; Jeff Dukes, professor, Forestry and Natural Resources and Biological Sciences, director of Purdue Climate Change Research Center; and Reuben Goforth, associate professor, Forestry and Natural Resources.

* EPICS LC: Bill Oakes, professor, Engineering Education, director of EPICS; Sarah El-Azab, graduate teaching assistant, Communication; Beth Wilson, continuing lecturer, Communication; Priya Sirohi, graduate teaching assistant, English; Elizabeth Boyle, graduate teaching assistant, English; and Carla Zoltowski, assistant professor, Engineering Practice of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The Student Impact Award recognizes LCIs who have demonstrated exceptional success in connecting students to peers, faculty and professional staff, campus resources, and the community at large.

* Explorers LC: Jennifer McDonald, senior academic advisor, Exploratory Studies; Mandy Chalk, academic advisor, Exploratory Studies; Margaret Sheble, graduate teaching assistant, English; McKinley Murphy, graduate teaching assistant, English; Danielle Corple, graduate teaching assistant, Communication; Beth Jones, academic advisor, Exploratory Studies.

* Exploratory Studies Purdue Promise LC: Rachel Ravellette, continuing lecturer, Communication; Cara Wetzel, assistant director, Exploratory Studies; and Jessica Ramsey, assistant director of student success (Purdue Promise).

* Exploring Business Majors LC: Scott Vana, senior academic advisor, Exploratory Studies.

* Exploratory Scholars LC: Kylie Geiman, graduate teaching assistant, Communication, and Colleen Brown, assistant director, Exploratory Studies.

* Exploratory Studies Honors LC: Mary Beth Lencke, senior academic advisor, Exploratory Studies.

* Agriculture Technology and Innovation LC: Dennis Buckmaster, professor, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, associate director, Office of Academic Programs; Amy Jones, plant sciences recruitment and outreach coordinator.

* Nursing Nexus LC: Sandra Kuebler, continuing lecturer, Nursing; Laura Curry, senior academic advisor, Nursing.

The Real-World Experience Award recognizes LCIs who plan events that offer introductions to various opportunities within their respective academic fields. The recipients are:

* Engineering for the Planet LC: Inez Hua, professor, Civil Engineering/Environmental and Ecological Engineering.

* Dietetics LC: Rachel Clark, continuing lecturer, Nutrition Science; Dinah Dalder, CPD Program Manager, Nutrition Science; Mridul Datta, assistant professor, Nutrition Science; Lisa Graves, assistant program leader, Nutrition Science; Donna Zoss, continuing lecturer, Nutrition Science; Kathleen Hill Gallant, assistant professor, Nutrition Science

The Learning Community Advocate Award is presented to one or more LCIs and resident assistants who were nominated by learning community participants for displaying an uncommon commitment to learning, taking exceptional involvement within the learning community, and providing outstanding opportunities for connection outside of the classroom. The recipients are:

* TEACH! Secondary Education LC: Katherine Chartier, graduate teaching assistant, Curriculum and Instruction.

* Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences LC: Michelle Mullen, senior academic advisor, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences.

* EPICS LC: Bill Oakes, professor, Engineering Education, director of EPICS.

* Computer Science LC: Devyn Maugel, resident assistant, Earhart Hall.

* Pre-Pharmacy LC: Alyssa Chandler, resident assistant, Wiley Hall.


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