Clayton State University has announced the finalists for the 2011 Alice Smith Faculty Award.
This year’s nominees are: from the College of Arts & Sciences, Dr. Gregory McNamara and Dr. Mario Norman; from the College of Information and Mathematical Sciences, Dr. Muhammad Rahman; from the College of Health, Dr. Susan Walsh; and from the School of Business, Dr. Gregory Kordecki.
Clayton State’s Alice J. Smith Awards, for both faculty and staff, will be presented at Clayton State’s Faculty/Staff Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, May 3 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Spivey Hall. An annual event since 1995, the Smith Awards are presented to the faculty member and staff member ranked most outstanding as determined by committees of their peers. The two, $1000 awards were established by local philanthropist Joseph Smith in honor of his wife, Alice. The winners of both categories will be announced at the May 3 ceremony.
Since 2005, McNamara has been an associate professor of English, receiving tenure in 2008. Originally from Cambridge, Md., he now resides in McDonough with his wife of six years.
“The most challenging and rewarding aspect of my job is to present genuinely interesting and scholarly classes which respect, reward, and foster my students’ intelligence, curiosity, and enthusiasm for learning. I have to be a step ahead all the time,” says McNamara.
He received his masters and doctoral degrees from West Virginia University. He was awarded a 2011 CASE Research Award through the College of Arts and Sciences. He also received a fellowship award through the University System of Georgia European Council which will allow him to develop his skills toward directing the London study abroad program sponsored by that organization.
“I know I am being considered alongside some of the most respected and accomplished members of the faculty and staff, and that can’t anything but good—good for all of us. And I also hope one of the things it means that I have been nominated is that my colleagues see me as doing a good job and representing Clayton State in a good light,” says McNamara.
Norman, an associate professor of Psychology, has been with Clayton State since 2005. He received his masters and doctorate degrees from Tennessee State University. He recently was awarded the 2011 “Heart of Gold” award at the first annual student choice awards.
“One of my most rewarding aspects of teaching is when students begin to think critically for themselves and begin to learn for the sake of learning, not learning for an exam. This is when I find that life-long learning begins. An additional rewarding aspect of teaching is participating in graduation. I understand that many students persevered through many obstacles to reach their goal of becoming a Clayton State graduate,” says Norman.
Norman, his wife and two children reside in Atlanta.
“My career as an educator has always been interesting, sometimes frustrating, but so very intrinsically rewarding. I believe my contributions to the institution and local community through teaching and service have been very positive, with much more to come,” says Norman.
Originally from Dhaka, Bangladesh, and living in Chicago for 15 years before moving to Atlanta in 2002, Rahman has been with Clayton State since 2007. He is an associate professor of Information Technology and appreciates that Clayton State is a laptop university.
“I am honored to be nominated for the Alice Smith Award. This made me feel that the significant amount of effort and planning that I put into my courses was worth the commitment,” says Rahman.
He is married with one child and enjoys philately and traveling. He received his doctorate degree from Illinois Institute of Technology.
Walsh of Peachtree City, has been with Clayton State since 2005, and recently was named Director of Simulation for the School of Nursing. She recently completed her doctorate degree in which she examined the use of high fidelity simulation to teach nursing students.
“For my dissertation research I won a large grant from the Association of Critical Care Nurses and Philips Medical Systems. As part of the grant I am presenting my research in a special session at the National Teaching Institute in Chicago, and my work will be considered for an award. For this reason, unfortunately, I will miss the Smith Award ceremony at Clayton State,” says Walsh.
She is married with two adult children and is currently watching their granddog, Luke.
“I am truly honored to be recognized by my fellow faculty in the School of Nursing, all who are equally able and excellent educators in their own right. I work among the best, so their nomination means so much,” says Walsh.
Associate Professor of Accounting, Kordecki is originally from Milwaukee and Manitowoc, Wisc., and is currently residing in Chamblee. He originally began his career at Clayton State as a business instructor in 1976.
His most recent honor was the 2010-2011 Outstanding Accounting Educator of the Year award from the Georgia Society of CPAs.
He is married and with two adopted children from China. He enjoys hiking and kayaking.
“This nomination is a vote of confidence of quality work by faculty peers and means a great deal to me to possibly joining the ranks of truly great professionals,” says Kordecki.