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CETL honors distinguished faculty

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The Board of Directors for the Center of Excellence for Teaching and Learning is honored to recognize our Distinguished Faculty Award recipients for both the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 Academic Years. Each recipient will receive $500 to spend on professional development or equipment. The Board received a record 55 nominations this year and spent much time deliberating who the awardees should be. There were so many amazing nominations which is a true tribute to the tenacity and innovation of our Titan Faculty.

The CETL Distinguished Faculty Awards recipients were selected in the following categories:

  • Exceptional use of student success strategies: student coaching and collaboration with college resources that support learning.
  • Innovation in student engagement to increase learning: face to face.
  • Innovation in student engagement to increase learning: remote learning environment.
  • Outstanding Leadership in Civic Engagement as part of the student learning experience.
  • Outstanding ability to pivot from face-to-face to remote teaching.

The Award winners for 2020-2021 are:

The Award winners for 2021-2022 are:


Dr. Jim Wallis was recognized for his excellence in student coaching. Dr. Wallis is a natural science faculty member at the Tarpon Springs campus. His nominee said:

“Dr. Wallis has integrated the resources of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to enhance the curriculum and augment the BSC 2011L online curriculum. The integration of these activities during the pandemic has enhanced the lab experience without loss of the necessary skills to be learned from a face-to-face classroom laboratory.”


Scott Pelletier was recognized for his innovation in the face to face setting. He is EMS faculty at the Health Education Center. His nominator said that:

“Before and during the Covid-19 pandemic, Scott Pelletier continued to develop and implement strategies that enhanced student success. When the Covid-19 crisis began and our community hospital partners would no longer allow for students to access to their facilities, Scott developed a mock hospital learning environment in two of our EMS classrooms. This provided the students not only with the opportunity to engage in simulated patient care, but fulfill the requirements for patient contacts set by State standards. Throughout the simulated patient care labs, Scott maintained the strict college and CDC protocols, which ensured instructor and student safety. Due to his efforts, the students were able to complete the requirements for the course and move to the next phase of training. The tireless efforts from Scott Pelletier are making a lasting impact student success, and creating a lasing collaboration between the EMS department, NIP, and our community partners.”


Gretchen Gascon was recognized for her innovation in the remote setting. She is an adjunct faculty member in the Mathematics department. Her nominator said: Gretchen has done a tireless amount of work to transition Data Analysis and Statistical Modeling to the LiveOnline format. She even took a programming class here at the College to improve her own understanding and enable her to teach this course. Her students are highly engaged and are learning first-hand the importance of the concepts in the field of data science. In addition to this course, Gretchen’s fantastic energy and enthusiasm shines through in her other courses, whether it is lecture of LiveOnline.


Dr. Meg Delgato was recognized for her excellence in civic engagement. Dr. Delgato teaches in the College of Education and is located on the Gibbs campus. Her nominator said: Dr. Delgato is creative, dedicated and a bridge builder in her efforts to connect her coursework with the community! She connected nationwide (and local) partners like Girl Scouts of America with college family hosting service projects where SPC students help girl scouts earn badges in STEM. By connecting SPC and all of the CAC with the GSA we have a consistent pipeline of projects for SPC students to master skills with, potential recruitment opportunities with the girl scouts themselves and strength of partnership itself!


Carolyn “Nikki” Riggs was recognized for her ability to pivot amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. She is faculty in the veterinary technology programs. Her nominator said of her: Nikki also has been challenged during the pandemic to be flexible in her f2f classroom incorporating live on line sessions for students quarantined. She has been successful in the delivery of these sessions, even when classroom technology has failed by adapting to using cell phones as the means of delivery.


Dan Distasio was recognized for his excellence in student coaching. Dan is a graduate of SPC’s EMS program and now teaches in that program! His nominator said: Dan implemented a clinical and field scheduling platform that complimented the student’s ability to access clinical and field sites to fulfill their required hours and patient contact competencies that are necessary for completing the EMT and Paramedic programs. This approach dramatically reduced student’s frustration with finding approved clinical and field preceptors and locations for training.

Dan has also organized clinical and field orientation sessions with EMT and Paramedic classes. His supportive approach gives the students an opportunity to learn the scheduling platform and articulate the requirements necessary to complete the program.


Sue Shuman was recognized for her innovation in the Face-to-Face learning environment. Sue is natural sciences faculty on the Tarpon Springs campus. Her nominator said: Professor Shuman is an expert in the human health field. She goes above and beyond to help the students in the class, face to face and live online. In addition, she brings in real life medical scenarios for students to work on in and out of the classroom. Professor Shuman also helps coach students along their career pathway. SPC is very lucky to have such a knowledgeable, caring Professor as part of the science team.


Dr. Heather Chastain teaches in the College of Nursing at the Health Education Center. She is being recognized for her innovation in the remote classroom setting. Her nominator said: Heather has spent invaluable time and effort creating easy to understand moving videos for her pharmacology class. The students rave about it and I am seeing the fruits of her labor in the clinical setting. She has taken the confusion out of a very confusing subject. The project is sustainable for a very long time. The way she has created them, they are suitable for in person, synchronous, and asynchronous learning. They can be used far after she no longer teaches pharmacology if desired. The impact on the students is the ability to focus on their nursing courses as the pharmacology is well taken care of and their understanding of the material is much deeper than memory alone. The impact on our community is the superb knowledge base our students are leaving our program with and having a direct impact on patient care and a positive view of our program on the general public and other health care facilities.


Chad Mairn was recognized for his excellence in bringing civic engagement into his classrooms. Widely known as one of the coolest and most innovative people at SPC, Chad also teaches for us! His nominator said:

Chad is a tireless innovator in the area of community engagement. He has collaborated with non-profit for the recycling and repurposing of electronics to increase access to technology for underserved K-12 students. As a result, SPC students gain understanding of technology desserts; they are mentoring to repurpose and give back; many students make their way to SPC in the pipeline of schools this project benefits.


Scott Cooper teaches theatre on the Clearwater campus. If there was ever someone who was not thrilled about making the switch to remote learning, it was Scott.  Nevertheless, he grabbed the bull by the horns and truly excelled in his efforts! His nominator said: All throughout the COVID pandemic Scott Cooper was able to re-design F2F learning to incorporate videos, blended modalities, and exceptional student support for classes which are traditionally only taught F2F. He incorporated hours of video tutorials to support online learning, conducted an INNOVATIVE online theatre ensemble of students rehearsing and performing from remote locations in an effort to bring LIVE THEATRE to the public in traditional ways. While he is back in the theatre, he is truly to be commended for his amazing ability to pivot.


Congratulations to all of our winners!


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