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McNeese Pinnacle Award Winners Named

McNeese Pinnacle Award Winners Named

Six award winners and presentors
L'Auberge Casino Resort Senior Vice President and General Manager Keith W. Henson (LEFT) and McNeese President Dr. Philip C. Williams (FAR RIGHT) presented the annual Pinnacle Excellence Awards to McNeese faculty Dr. Veronica D. Woodard, assistant professor of nursing, Dr. Hyunju Shin, assistant professor of marketing, Ms. Christa Bell, instructor of communication, Dr. Tracy Scott-McLemore, associate professor of education professions and director of the Ann Rosteet Hurley Center for Economic Education, Dr. Zhuang Li, associate professor of mechanical engineering and Dr. William H. Dees, professor of biological science.
 
Established in 2003 by the parent company of L'Auberge Casino Resort, the Pinnacle Excellence Awards recognize outstanding faculty achievement. Each recipient received a $5,000 stipend and a commemorative award statue.


(April 14, 2014) Six McNeese State University faculty members are recipients of the 2014 Pinnacle Excellence Awards established by Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. - the parent company of L'Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles - to recognize outstanding faculty achievement in each of the McNeese colleges - business, education, engineering, liberal arts, nursing and science.

McNeese President Dr. Philip C. Williams and L'Auberge Senior Vice President and General Manager Keith W. Henson presented the educators with their awards totaling $30,000 during a ceremony held April 14 in McNeese's Stream Alumni Center. Each winner received a $5,000 stipend and a commemorative award statue.

The Pinnacle Excellence Awards were established in 2003 as part of a partnership between Pinnacle and McNeese to recognize outstanding faculty achievement and are granted by the Pinnacle Entertainment Foundation. To date, Pinnacle has given $270,000 in awards to McNeese professors.
           
"The Pinnacle Entertainment Foundation and L'Auberge are so pleased to continue this longtime partnership with McNeese recognizing excellence in the classroom," said Henson. "The passion, original ideas and academic contributions exhibited by the Pinnacle Excellence Award winners is truly remarkable and will inspire students while helping to produce a qualified workforce during this time of unprecedented growth in Southwest Louisiana."

"We deeply appreciate Pinnacle Entertainment for its ongoing commitment to McNeese, our professors and our community. These awards recognize excellence and innovation in the classroom and inspire new ideas that benefit student learning," said Williams.
           
The focus of this year's awards is on enhancing the learning environment and supporting the five-year strategic plan goal to ensure academic programs at McNeese support innovation and economic development in Southwest Louisiana.

Recipients and their proposals are:
 
College of Business-Dr. Hyunju Shin, assistant professor of marketing
 Shin's proposal - "McNeese Professional Sales Mentoring Program" - will integrate a mentorship program, which is targeted toward junior/senior students, into the MKTG 380 Personal Selling course. The program will offer business students a deeper understanding of the roles and responsibilities of professional sales people by inviting sales professionals from diverse industries in Southwest Louisiana to serve as mentors.
 
Burton College of Education-Dr. Tracy Scott-McLemore, associate professor of education professions and director of the Ann Rosteet Hurley Center for Economic Education
 Scott-McLemore's proposal - "Establishment of an Innovative International Commerce Office for Students Called the 'International Commerce Center'" - will study the impact of, and provide support for, the creation of trade relations between McNeese's international student population and businesses in their respective countries. Collaboration between international and domestic students, and with the Southwest Louisiana business community, will be encouraged. Scott-McLemore will provide mentoring assistance to students as they develop, implement and monitor virtual trade missions. Collaborators on this project are the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, McNeese International Business Club and Entergy Economic Development and Expansion.
 
College of Engineering-Dr. Zhuang Li, associate professor of mechanical engineering
 Li's proposal - "Bring Real-Life Acoustical Measurement to Class" - will fund the purchase of acoustics equipment that will enhance the Sound and Vibration Laboratory in the College of Engineering and will provide students with hands-on acoustical measurement experience that relates to real-world practical engineering problems.
 
College of Liberal Arts-Christa Bell, instructor of communication
 Bell's project - "Communication and Community Service" - will establish a pilot program in the Department of Mass Communication that links course content to professional communication practice through public relations audits and planning for local community nonprofit and not-for-profit organizations performed by students in upper level mass communication courses. Students would gain experience in real-world projects that provide hands-on learning opportunities.

College of Nursing-Dr. Veronica D. Woodard, assistant professor of nursing
Woodard's proposal - "The Importance of Faculty Mentoring and Student Peer Mentoring for Undergraduate Nursing Students" - will promote not only faculty mentoring but also engage graduating, senior level BSN students to become peer mentors for entry level BSN students. Both groups of students will be guided by a faculty mentor to produce a mini-health fair for elementary students.  The faculty mentor will provide both groups with help on developing and presenting the health fair, while the senior level students will provide peer mentoring of the entry level students regarding actual production of material, information and research for the fair.
 
College of Science-Dr. William H. Dees, professor of biological science
Dees' proposal - "Promoting Student Success in the Health, Medical and Public Health Sciences" - will provide financial support for students interested in internships, undergraduate research, graduate programs and professional health- and medical-based conferences. The goal of this project is to immerse McNeese students into health sciences, medicine and public health  education beyond the classroom and to encourage them to consider local-global involvement in the health care industry.