Distinguished Service Award from TLT to recognize all faculty

New award from Teaching and Learning with Technology recognizes faculty efforts throughout pandemic

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Throughout the adversity brought on by the pandemic, countless members of Penn State’s faculty have risen to the challenge, supporting student learning and success.

To honor their achievements, Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) will issue its first and only planned Distinguished Service Award to the entire Penn State faculty as part of the 2021 Penn State Faculty and Staff Awards ceremony.

COVID-19 sent the entire Penn State community into deeply challenging times. Faculty members were able to nimbly combine the effective use of technology with sound pedagogy to support student success. In recognition of these extraordinary circumstances and the remarkable response from faculty, TLT has created the one-time Distinguished Service Award to recognize and thank all Penn State faculty members for their dedication and innovation.

“So many members of our faculty have shown grit, resilience and creativity in their unwavering commitment to deliver a world-class Penn State education over the last year, even in the face of so many unexpected challenges,” said Jennifer Sparrow, associate vice president for Teaching and Learning with Technology and deputy chief information officer at Penn State. “It’s a distinct pleasure to honor the collective achievements of our faculty members across the entirety of Penn State with the TLT Distinguished Service Award.”

From faculty’s rapid shift to remote instruction informed by care and empathy; to finding new ways to bring the ‘We Are’ spirit and Penn State community into the virtual classroom; to leveraging technology to engage students and create new educational opportunities; to supporting and empowering each other during trying times, the Distinguished Service Award recognizes the innumerable efforts of all Penn State faculty members throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Beth Seymour, chair of Penn State’s Faculty Senate and associate teaching professor of anthropology, communications, history and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Penn State Altoona; will accept the TLT Distinguished Service Award on behalf of all Penn State faculty.

“It’s an honor to accept this award on behalf of my colleagues,” said Seymour. “As chair of the Faculty Senate, I have seen firsthand the incredible resilience and service of Penn State’s faculty members. Thank you all for your commendable efforts through the last year.”

“Our faculty community achieved truly remarkable things over the last year,” said Crystal Ramsay, assistant director of innovation with TLT. “It’s also important to note that University support units that work with technology and pedagogy provided crucial assistance to our faculty.”

Kira Hamman, assistant teaching professor of mathematics and director of the Honors Program at Penn State Mont Alto, submitted a nomination to TLT that helped make this award possible.

“From March 2020 to date, faculty at Penn State has used technology to not merely transform education; they have protected its very existence,” said Hamman. “As a group, there was such consistent determination to use available technology to deliver sound education. All of Penn State faculty deserve to be recognized for this tremendous, communal feat.”