University honors Faculty of the Year 2018 for dedication to students, fields of study
Melissa Meyer, J.D., is the Faculty of the Year for 2018 at Brandman University. Meyer and top faculty members from each school learned of their honors at an awards banquet on May 22. The announcements, made by Faculty Assembly President Kat Ringenbach, Ph.D., highlighted their achievements both within the university and in the community.
“Each faculty member brings different knowledge, skills, and abilities that enable Brandman to pursue its vision,” said Ringenbach. “We embrace our mission each day because we believe in continuous renewal and innovation, creating a participative and collaborative culture, and participating in ongoing academic and professional development, valuing diversity and nurturing respect for all cultures and standing for quality and success.”
Faculty of the Year for each school:
- Christine Williamitis, DNP, for the S. Paul Musco School of Nursing and Professional Studies.
- Kimberly Greene, Ed.D., for the School of Education
- Charmaine Felder, Ph.D., for the School of Business
- Nakisha Castillo, DMFT, for the School of Arts and Sciences
Meyer led the revision of the B.A. Legal Studies program, playing a key role in course development to help create a cutting-edge program by reaching across disciplines to ensure its success.
“This faculty wants her Brandman University colleagues to be successful and goes out of her way to support them in multiple endeavors,” said Ringenbach.
Described as consistently collegial and adept at fostering positive relationships among faculty and staff, Williamitis was also praised for her attention to students, facilitating their success and making the nursing program viable across specialties.
In addition to quickly filling in as the interim director of the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program, she also practices as an acute care nurse practitioner in cardiothoracic surgery.
“This faculty truly puts her heart and soul into her role as a faculty,” said Ringenbach, noting that her ideas are on instruction are used in numerous courses. “Her students love her and, in fact, one student stated that she would send a truckload of chocolate to her house if she knew where she lived. For any of you who know her, that is truly the highest form of compliment a student can give.”
Greene participated in significant updates to the M.A. in Education core classes, the 21st-century learner curriculum and the curriculum and instruction emphasis.
The School of Business Faculty of the Year is credited with making accounting understandable to people who fear accounting. As a colleague wrote in nominating her, “She is highly skilled in accounting, but has the ability to simplify these complex terms so that students can understand and appreciate the discipline.”
She was among the first to embrace new ways of using Blackboard to enhance learning for her students and in encouraging her fellow faculty members to do the same. Her colleagues described her as calm, thoughtful and incredibly hard working.
Felder was unable to attend the ceremony.
Castillo serves three campuses (Ontario, Victorville and Menifee), designs courses, and serves on a key faculty committee as an assistant professor of psychology.
Her positive influence was noted by Ringenbach when she quoted a student email praising Castillo for the extra help offered on preparing a resume: “To say she has gone over and beyond her scope as a professor does not begin to sum up the way that I feel. Whenever I have any questions regarding an assignment she immediately replies, she is thoughtful, insightful and provides such a passion for the subject matter and her students that it is contagious … I can only hope that one day I will have the ability to touch my future clients in the way that she has touched my life.”
Each recipient received a plaque from Chancellor Gary Brahm and the hearty congratulations of their colleagues.
Also honored by the chancellor were retiring faculty members Joe Walsh, Carla Piper and William Hale (see related story). He also called up John Rocky Hewitt, for his pioneering work creating the criminal justice major at Brandman. The former assistant sheriff in the Orange County Sheriff’s Department was praised for his 16 years of contributions and distinguished service to the university. Two other key members of the Brandman community retiring this year, Maria Cesario and Pat Hammer, will be featured in later stories to highlight their 40-year careers.
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