Conn Faculty and Staff Awards Announced
At a virtual all-campus faculty and staff meeting, President Katherine Bergeron and Dean of the Faculty Jeffrey Cole announced the winners of the annual Faculty Awards along with the annual Presidential Staff Awards.
Cole presented awards to four professors, representing the highest form of peer recognition offered by faculty at Connecticut College, while Bergeron honored five staff members and one team.
Nancy Batson Nisbet Rash Faculty Award for Excellence in Research: Catherine McNicol Stock
The 2021 faculty award for excellence in research went to Catherine McNicol Stock, the
Barbara Zaccheo Kohn '72 Professor of History. The Nancy Batson Nisbet Rash Faculty Research Award is presented to a faculty member who demonstrates outstanding scholarly or artistic accomplishments. The award was established in 1995 in memory of Nancy Rash, the Lucy C. McDannel ’22 Professor of Art History at Connecticut College from 1972 to 1995.
McNicol Stock has been with the College since 1990 and is the author of Rural Radicals: Righteous Rage in the American Grain. She is also the author of Main Street in Crisis: The Great Depression and the Old Middle Class on the Northern Plains, plus the introduction to Dakota Territory, 1861-1889: A Study of Frontier Politics, by Howard Roberts Lamar.
Previously, she was recognized with the College's 2009 John S. King Memorial Teaching Award, established to recognize teacher-scholars with high standards of teaching excellence and concern for students. She has written numerous sections for The Reader's Encyclopedia of the American West and has written book reviews for the Journal of American History and American Historical Review. Stock is a member of the American Historical Association, American Studies Association, New England American Studies Association, Organization of American Historians, and the Western History Association.
John S. King Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching: Karen Gonzalez Rice
Associate Professor of Art History Karen Gonzales Rice received the 2021 John S. King Award, which was established to recognize teacher-scholars with high standards of teaching excellence and concern for students. It is named for the beloved professor of German whose warmth and humanity touched all who knew him. Gonzales Rice, who also serves as art history chair and
as the associate director of the museum studies certificate program, joined the College in 2011. In 2016, Gonzalez Rice published Long Suffering: American Endurance Art as Prophetic Witness with the University of Michigan Press series Theater: Theory/Text/Performance. At Connecticut College, she supports faculty in exploring the integration of technologies and pedagogy as the co-director of the Technology Fellows Program and as the faculty advisor for the Tempel Summer Institute. She also serves on the Mode Consultant Committee, the Center for Teaching and Learning Advisory Board, and several other committees.
Helen Brooks Regan Faculty Award for Excellence in Leadership: Afshan Jafar
Associate Professor of Sociology, Afshan Jafar, is the 2021 recipient of the Faculty Leadership award. Jafar, who serves as chair of the sociology department and as coordinator of the Bodies/Embodiment Pathway, joined Conn in 2008. She specializes in globalization, transnational women's movements, fundamentalist and nationalist movements, gender, media, and the body. Jafar is the 2014 recipient of The Helen Mulvey Faculty Award, presented to an assistant professor who regularly offers classes that challenge students to work harder than they thought they could and to reach unanticipated levels of academic achievement. Her research has been published in journals such as Social Problems, Gender Issues, Critical Half and Sexuality and Culture.
Helen Mulvey Faculty Award for Fostering Student Achievement: Hubert Cook
Sue and Eugene Mercy Jr. Assistant Professor of English, Hubert Cook, won the Mulvey Award for Fostering Student Achievement. Cook joined the Conn faculty in 2018. His research focuses on affect, emotion and performativity in late nineteenth and early twentieth century African American and Caribbean literature. Cook was recently awarded a Career Enhancement Fellowship from the Institute for Citizens & Scholars to complete his book project, Empathy’s Dark Labor: Feeling, Fact, and Late Nineteenth Century U.S. Black Narrative (1892-1905). He has participated in Cornell’s School of Criticism and Theory, and he has presented at Dartmouth’s Futures of American Studies Institute. His work has been supported by the Mellon Mays Foundation and the Provost's Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Citizenship Award: Analisse Rios ’08
Annalise Rios from the Department of Athletics won the 2021 Citizenship Award, which honors an individual who has enhanced the quality of life and made a substantial difference for the College community. Rios, a strength and conditioning coach and assistant women’s soccer coach, is described by her colleagues as somebody who creates a welcoming, challenging environment in the weight room and on the field, with a work ethic that pushes everybody around her to work even harder. One of her nominators said that she “embodies the mission of Connecticut College and nurtures the emotional and physical development of our student athletes, all while role modeling diversity, equity and inclusion and what it means to be an ethical and socially responsible member of Conn and the global community.”
The Inspiration Award: Angela Barney
Angela Barney, assistant director of the Holleran Center’s Program in Community Action, was recognized with this year’s Inspiration Award. Barney led the Camel Votes initiative, as well as being the college representative for NESCAC votes. Her efforts last fall led to Connecticut College winning nationally for the institution with the most registered students. Further, she taught a First Year Seminar titled, “Beyond the Ballot,” which explored civic engagement and the youth vote. She also practices civic engagement and giving back to the local community. She has organized the Walk to End Homelessness for several years, and last year was able to pivot to a virtual walk, which raised $10,000 for homeless shelters in the area.
The Rising Star Award: Juanita Austin
Juanita Austin, academic assistant for the department of art, was named Rising Star, which recognizes an individual who has worked at the College for less than three years and has made a recognizable impact. She joined the College last year during the pandemic and didn’t miss a beat transitioning into her role mid-year and proving herself instrumental to keeping the art department afloat. Alongside all her important work, she was also able to take on, with very short notice, the design, setup and launch of a virtual thesis exhibition for seniors in record time. Juanita’s dedication to the New London Arts community is expressed through the organization and boutique she founded: Cultured AF.
The Service Excellence Award: Ingrid Bushwack and Sarah Cardwell
The 2021 Service Excellence Award went to two recipients this year for their work during the unprecedented challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. The award honors individuals who demonstrate distinction in the conduct of their responsibilities at the College.
Ingrid Bushwack, director of dining services, has been with Conn for 24 years, and has held virtually every position within the dining services department. Her vast experience enables her to be an empathetic leader and has earned her the respect of her staff. Admired by her colleagues for her open-mindedness and perseverance, she is always receptive to suggestions and is constantly working to improve the department’s services. When the pandemic hit, she gracefully and seamlessly led the department in confronting the enormous challenges the campus faced and went above and beyond to ensure students received extraordinary levels of service.
Sarah Cardwell, senior associate dean of student life, has proven her dedication to the Connecticut College community during the pandemic. She coordinated the campus-wide COVID-19 testing for all students and employees, with no template to follow. She embraced her creativity and perseverance and undertook the task of creating a first-class testing center. Her colleagues describe her as a critical thinker, a detailed thinker and a big-picture thinker, and because of those attributes the College community gets tested regularly, and the campus has remained safe. She not only has a challenging job under the best of circumstances, but the testing center was an enormous add-on and she happily rose to the occasion.
The Student Support Award: CC Curtiss
The 2021 Student Support Award was given to CC Curtiss, who serves as director of wellbeing and health promotion. The award goes to the staff member who has excelled in bolstering student success and facilitated a positive student experience. During the course of the past year, Curtiss has provided a critical source of support to students who have been in quarantine or otherwise isolated as the result of COVID-19. Last summer, she dove into understanding contact tracing and then spearheaded training a small team of staff members to assist with contact tracing on campus—an effort that has proven wildly successful and has garnered national recognition. When a student is in quarantine or isolation housing, she speaks with them daily to check in on their well-being, sees if they need anything, and/or gets them connected to resources on campus. Her efforts range from the daily check-ins, to delivering tea bags and ibuprofen, getting their academic materials they may have forgotten, speaking to concerned parents and listening to their challenges.
The Team Service Excellence Award: Tier One On Call Staff - Lil Carasquillo-Vazquez (REAL), Cailtin Kay (REAL), Kayla Holmes (REAL), Jeannette Williams (Student Engagement), and Anthony Turon (Student Engagement)
The Team Award recognizes a group of staff members who demonstrate distinction in the conduct of their responsibilities at the College. This year the Tier One On Call Staff was recognized for their unparalleled performance during the pandemic and the support they’ve provided to the College community. These individuals are responsible for navigating the front lines of student support during the pandemic, connecting with students in need during this turbulent and trying time, and transporting isolated students and their belongings to and from their isolation housing. They answer calls at all hours of the night, perform socially distanced wellness checks on students of concern, and make unexpected essential purchases (late night pillows and food, for instance) to deliver to students isolating across Mohegan Avenue, following a positive COVID-19 test. They then report to their day jobs, providing oversight, support and programming to students in our residence halls, and during their free time, working to keep morale high as our students navigate a very new type of college experience.
The Leadership Award: Cheryl Banker
This award was created this year in response to the extraordinary leadership many across campus demonstrated during the past year. It was awarded to senior associate director of the Hale Center for Career Development, Cheryl Banker. She was chosen as the first-ever recipient of this award for her unwavering commitment to the overall wellbeing of Connecticut College, and although her formal role is a student-facing, advising position, her colleagues are quick to point out that Banker makes sure that students, staff and faculty collaborate to bring about the best outcome for all. She has also served as Chair of Staff Council during the pandemic, showing steady, graceful leadership and masterfully balancing her knowledge and experience from the past with an eye toward new and future endeavors.