CUTLINE: Six McNeese State University faculty members are recipients of the 2011-12 Pinnacle Excellence Awards established by Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. - the parent company of L'Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles - to recognize the best teaching professor in each of the McNeese colleges-business, education, engineering and engineering technology, liberal arts, nursing and science. Pinnacle Entertainment Senior Vice President of Louisiana Operations Geno M. Iafrate, Keith W. Henson, vice president and general manager of L'Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles and McNeese President Dr. Philip C. Williams presented the educators with their awards totaling $30,000 during a ceremony held March 1 in McNeese's Stream Alumni Center. From left to right are: Dr. Seyed M. Aghili, College of Engineering and Engineering Technology; Dr. Susie S. Cox, College of Business; Dr. Rhonda L. Johnson, College of Nursing; Martha P. Hoskins, College of Liberal Arts; Henson; Kay H. Kussmann, College of Science; Williams; Dr. Gwendolyn Duhon, Burton College of Education; and Iafrate. McNeese Photo
Six McNeese State University faculty members are recipients of the 2011-12 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 and engineering technology, liberal arts, nursing and science.
McNeese President Dr. Philip C. Williams and Pinnacle Entertainment Senior Vice President of Louisiana Operations Geno M. Iafrate presented the educators with their awards totaling $30,000 during a ceremony held March 1 in McNeese's Stream Alumni Center. Each winner received a $5,000 stipend and a commemorative award statue.
"We deeply appreciate Pinnacle Entertainment for its ongoing commitment to McNeese, our professors and our community," Williams said. "These awards inspire exciting new ideas and classroom energy for our students and professors alike and go a long way to improving student learning and performance at McNeese."
"We proudly congratulate these Pinnacle Excellence Award winners for their innovative ideas and academic contributions," Iafrate said. "Higher education is vital to the economy, culture and vibrancy of Southwest Louisiana, and The Pinnacle Foundation is pleased to continue this longstanding partnership of recognizing McNeese faculty for their outstanding work as we work together to improve the quality of higher education and work force training in this region."
The Pinnacle Excellence Awards were established in 2003 to recognize selected faculty for their innovative teaching methods and outstanding achievements in the classroom. To date, Pinnacle has given more than $210,000 in awards to McNeese.
The focus of this year's awards are linked to McNeese electronic learning and mentoring projects.
Recipients of the 2011-2012 Pinnacle Excellence Awards, with their proposals, are:
College of Business-Dr. Susie S. Cox, assistant professor of management
Cox's proposal - "Job Readiness in the College of Business" - supports the creation of a job readiness program for graduating seniors in the College of Business. This mentoring program, integrated into the MGMT 481 capstone course, will offer business students the tools and information needed to make the transition from college to a professional career through a series of guest speakers. Community service will also be encouraged as a method to develop leadership skills and experience through volunteer efforts.
Burton College of Education-Dr. Gwendolyn Duhon, associate professor of teacher education
Duhon's proposal - "McNeese Reading Room at the Children's Museum of Lake Charles" - provides a collaboration that will provide opportunities for students in the McNeese Department of Education Professions to learn about new technologies and both complete field experience requirements and service-learning projects at the Children's Museum. Children who visit the museum will receive information about the department and degree programs. The McNeese students will also engage in role-play activities, use interactive computer software and talk to the children about their experiences as college students.
College of Engineering and Engineering Technology-Dr. Seyed M. Aghili, professor of electrical engineering
Aghili's proposal - "Development of a Virtual Networking Laboratory and E-Learning Engineering Courses at McNeese -is designed to develop a virtual networking lab that will offer hands-on training in computer networking for both undergraduate and graduate engineering and engineering technology students and will allow the continued development of e-learning courses for students both on and off campus.
College of Liberal Arts-Martha P. Hoskins, instructor of history
Hoskins' project - "Tutoring Program with E-Learning Writing Component for History Survey Courses" - would establish a peer-to-peer mentor/tutor pilot program to develop effective methodologies for successful tutoring and mentoring for history survey courses. In addition, an online guide for approaching and completing writing assignments in survey classes would be developed as an e-learning resource for survey courses.
College of Nursing-Dr. Rhonda L. Johnson, assistant professor of nursing
Johnson's proposal - "Implementation of a Student Mentoring Program Utilizing Technology in the Undergraduate Nursing Program" - is an innovative approach to mentoring and National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) preparation for nursing students. This includes the development and implementation of faculty "mentoring circles" each semester with the concurrent use of a computerized adaptive quizzing system, NCLEX-RN 10,000 program, which allows faculty mentors to monitor their students' activity and progress. Mentoring circles allow each student to experience a network of many different faculty mentors as they progress through the nursing curriculum.
College of Science-Kay H. Kussmann, assistant professor of computing science
Kussmann's proposal - "Building an Interactive Learning Video Game" - will support the building of an interactive learning video game by McNeese computer science majors that works with any pre-K child or person with a developmental disability functioning at an average 3-year-old or above learning level. This is a multipurpose learning development game that will include a learning tutorial, pretest and multilevel games that continuously re-evaluate the user's abilities. At the same time McNeese students are provided the opportunity to learn, become familiar and understand applications of software engineering from design concept to manufacturing and possibly marketing.