Southeastern faculty, staff receive top awards at convocation

Monday, January 9, 2017 Excellence winners 2016
by: Rene Abadie

FACULTY-STAFF RECOGNIZED FOR EXCELLENCE – Several members of Southeastern’s faculty and staff were recognized for excellence at the university’s convocation held on Friday (Jan. 6). Honored were, from left, Mark Whitmer, assistant director of Physical Plant Services, for Excellence in Unclassified Staff Service; English Instructor and writer David Armand, Excellence in Artistic Activity; Education Professor and head of the Department of Teaching and Learning Colleen Klein-Ezell, Excellence in Faculty Service; Associate Professor of Education Paige Lilley Schulte, Excellence in Teaching; and Political Science Professor Margaret Gonzalez-Perez, Excellence in Research.

     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University opened the spring semester Friday (Jan. 6) with its Convocation that included presentation of the President’s Awards for Excellence, the university’s highest honor for faculty and staff.
     The event, held in the Student Union Grand Ballroom, also included recognition of professors who were elevated to emeritus status, remarks by Southeastern President John L. Crain, recognition of donors, and service awards to faculty and staff who have worked at the university for 25, 30, 35, and 40 years.
     Receiving the President’s Awards for Excellence were English Instructor David Armand, Artistic Activity; Political Science Professor Margaret Gonzalez-Perez, Research; Education Professor Paige Lilley Schulte, Teaching; Professor of Education Colleen Klein-Ezell, Faculty Service; and Assistant Director of Physical Plant Services Mark Whitmer, Unclassified Staff Service.
     Armand, honored for his writing talent, is quickly earning a reputation as one of the foremost emerging young Southern writers. A 2004 and 2006 graduate of Southeastern, he has written three novels and a book of poetry. Armand has been honored as Alumnus of the Year by the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and was named one of “40 under 40” by “Gambit Magazine” of New Orleans.
     A political scientist, Gonzalez-Perez was applauded for her research on women in terrorism. Internationally recognized as one of the leading authorities on the subject, her book is used as a text in courses across the globe. She is known for approaching research as a tool in teaching and gains much of her inspiration from her students’ questions.
     Referred to by her colleagues as a “teacher of teachers,” Schulte cannot remember a time in her life when she did not want to be a teacher. An avid traveler, she brings her professional zeal for teaching along on her trips, presenting programs on prevention of bullying and teaching techniques in nations such as Moscow, China, the United Kingdom and Canada. She holds certification in teaching English as a Second Language, and coordinates Southeastern’s teaching apprenticeship program with the St. Charles Parish School System.
     With an academic focus on special education, Klein-Ezell is passionate about working with children with disabilities and their families. She has secured numerous grants designed to provide services for area schools, as well as valuable learning opportunities for her teacher-candidates. Her most recent efforts have focused on the development of two unique facilities at Southeastern for children with special needs – a Lecotect room that provides adaptive toys to the children, and two Snoezelen rooms that create a calming, exploring and interactive experience for them.
     Whitmer was recognized for his service to Southeastern and his community. He carries the spirit of service into his job, dedicated to the success of programs such as Rock n’ Roar, Homecoming, commencements and football games. He has served as a marshal for the Krewe of Omega, attending to parade logistics; volunteer softball coach for various community teams; a participant in literacy programs in area schools; and assisting in maintenance, construction and yard work for his church, as well as tending to the sick and shut-ins of his community.
     The convocation concluded with an indoor picnic sponsored by Aramark/Southeastern Catering, First Guaranty Bank, and North Oaks Health System.

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