SSRI cofunded faculty member Brandy Henry and PRI associate Erica Frankenberg were among the award winners at the Penn State College of Education's s annual spring awards ceremony on April 20.
Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award
The Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award was created through an endowed donation from Joan and David Cotterill to recognize and reward exemplary leadership in the College of Education. The award includes resources for professionally related activities, including participation in conferences, seminars and sabbaticals.
This year’s winners are Brandy Henry, assistant professor of education (rehabilitation and human services), and Brenda Martinez, student advocate specialist in the Office of Education and Social Equity.
In delivering the award, Lawless cited Henry’s dedicated work in the equity space, particularly where she has volunteered at the intersection of the criminal justice system and education.
“Brandy has been everywhere around the college, volunteering and helping out with the Restorative Justice Initiative, not because she has to, but because she wants to and it’s what her heart leads her to do.”
Lawless thanked Martinez for the tremendous amount of work she does for students, staff and faculty.
“There really are no words you can put in place to thank Brenda for all of the work she does,” Lawless said. “She is listed as the student advocate, but I think she’s an advocate for all of us. And it is tireless work.”
Lawless said both Henry and Martinez have provided the University and the college with invaluable leadership during their time at Penn State.
“Thank you, Brandy and Brenda, for what you do with us, and for us, and because of our mission, every single day,” she said.
Outstanding Teaching Award
The Outstanding Teaching Award recognizes exemplary teaching performance in the classroom. This year, there are two winners: Erica Frankenberg, professor of education (educational leadership and demography); and Jessica Henry, associate teaching professor of education (rehabilitation and human services).
“Dr. Frankenberg can only be described as a blessing. Her understanding of civil rights concepts, dedication to seeing students succeed, willingness to connect students with people in their intended careers, and care for the next generation is outstanding,” said her nominator, undergraduate student Gabriella Achampong.
Achampong said as the class read court cases on civil rights issues, they saw that even Supreme Court justices cite Frankenberg as a testament to her expertise. She said Frankenberg uses her status as a professional to effectively give students a scaffold from which to reach their fullest potential in critically thinking about the nation's education system and the intricate ties of civil rights.
“Dr. Frankenberg's individual care for her students is a breath of fresh air. I have been irrevocably changed by having a professor who I know has my back and wants me to succeed. She truly affirms her students,” Achampong said.
Henry has consistently taught a broad range of courses for RHS. Her dynamic presence in classrooms serves the program well as a welcoming ambassador in large 100-level RHS courses. Students enthusiastically engage in her introductory courses, which connects new students to declare RHS as their major. She also teaches a career counseling core course in the Counselor Education master’s program. Her approach with graduate students learning to be counselors is developmentally responsive. For example, one master’s student noted in the nomination letter, “she encourages us to learn for our clients, not a grade.”
“Often, in human service professions, self-care and wellness are taught as important, and yet modeling such behavior is rare in academic settings. Dr. Henry embeds wellness practices into her teaching, demonstrating how the students can create their own plan for daily self-care, ensuring the chances of a longer career in human services without succumbing to burnout,” said Elizabeth Prosek, associate professor of education (counselor education), who nominated Henry.
“My nomination letter contained quotes from several of Dr. Henry’s students, but I’ll share just one more here: ‘Dr. Jess, thank you for not only showing me how to believe in myself but also proving to me that I can provoke change in the world,’” Prosek said.
Read more here.