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2022 College of Arts and Sciences Faculty of the Year  

AwardsThe College of Arts and Sciences is proud to recognize the faculty selected in this year's Teacher/Researcher of the Year award celebration. Eight faculty members were honored in the categories of Researcher of the Year, Professor of the Year, Adjunct of the Year and Excellence in Teaching 21st Century Skills.

Dedicated to their research as well as their students, the professors are exemplars of their profession, and the College congratulates its recipients, detailed below.

Researcher of the Year

Maxim Matusevich, Ph.D., Professor, Department of History
Professor Matusevich has published extensively on the history of the Cold War in Africa and the history of African-Russian encounters. His essay "A Black Journey of Red Hope" appears in the new volume The Red and the Black: The Russian Revolution and the Black Atlantic (Manchester UP, 2021). Maxim's article "Russian ‘Alternative' in sub-Saharan Africa: A Challenge to Western Liberalism," is featured in the European Union-commissioned foreign policy report Russia's Foreign Policy: The Internal-International Link (Milan, 2021) and his peer-reviewed chapter "Soviet Anti-racism and Its Discontents: The Cold War Years" is featured in a volume Alternative Globalizations: Eastern Europe and the Postcolonial World (Indiana UP, 2020). Additionally, he authored two peer-reviewed chapters on Paul Robeson's connection to the Soviet Union and two articles on Russia's post-Soviet "return" to Africa. Professor Matusevich is also active as a public intellectual, publishing op-eds, giving radio and TV interviews. Besides his work as a scholar, Professor Matusevich also writes and publishes fiction. In 2020-22, his short stories, essays, and one novella appeared in several prestigious literary journals: San Antonio Review, MumberMag, Anti-Heroin-Chic, BigCityLit, the Wild Word, Foreign Literary, ReLevant, East-West Literary Forum, Rivanna Review, and WordCity Literary Journal.

Jessica Cottrell, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
For the past year, Professor Cottrell has been met with many successes including four research publications that included seven Seton Hall student authors and more than 15 abstracts presented at national, regional and local conferences. Notably, the manuscript entitled "A Functional Three-Dimensional Microphysiological Model of Myeloma Bone Disease" was published in The Journal of Bone Mineral Research, a top-ranked journal in the bone field (IF=6.741). Importantly, research on vancomycin and diabetic fracture healing won the J. Leonard Goldner Award in September 2021, given by the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society in recognition of outstanding basic science. Additionally, she has submitted two external grants (NIH, NSF) that are still under review and received $22,000 in grant awards. Together, Professor Cottrell's efforts continue to inspire more than 20 graduate and undergraduate students to pursue their dreams of becoming scientists, physicians, and authors while engaging in cutting-edge osteoimmunology research.

Susan Nolan, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Psychology
During the 2020-21 academic year, Professor Nolan published four peer-reviewed journal articles, a co-edited book, three book chapters and the fifth edition of her statistics for the behavioral sciences textbook, in addition to giving six conference presentations and one keynote address. Her work focused primarily on diversity, internationalization, and assessment in her field. She also launched a podcast, Beyond Teaching; an invited blog on misinformation with Psychology Today; and a monthly blog in her role as President of the 3500-member Society for the Teaching of Psychology. Susan served on the American Psychological Association Task Force on Psychology Major Competencies; was an Associate Editor for the journal Psychology Learning and Teaching; and received the Fukuhara Award for Advanced International Research and Service from the International Council of Psychologists. Professor Susan Nolan was also awarded a Fulbright to Australia for her 2022-23 sabbatical. 

Teacher of the Year

Elizabeth Redwine, Ph.D. – Lecturer, Department of English
Professor Redwine's students report feeling welcome and supported in her classes. Using meditations at the beginning of every class, check in attendance questions, journals, and assignments that relate the texts to students' lives, Professor Redwine has created a supportive community in her four classes each semester even in this turbulent time. In her Core classes, students participate in service learning and bring that experience to their writing assignments. She is most proud of the ways that her creative approaches to teaching contributed to her students' accomplishments in their writing, close reading, and conversations.

Daniel B. Nichols, Ph.D. – Director of Health Professions, Department of Biological Sciences
Professor Nichols teaches a variety of subjects in the Department of Biological Sciences including Biochemistry of Metabolism, Microbiology, and Molecular Virology. He is dedicated to the success of his students and works hard to make sure that students understand the content both inside and outside the classroom. In his research lab, he teaches undergraduate and graduate students virology techniques that they use to answer fundamental questions about virus-host interactions. He is also an active scholar and has given undergraduate students the opportunity to publish their research. He is also committed to educating the public during the pandemic having been interviewed in more than 20 newspapers and magazines including NJ.com and Popular Science where he explains the advances in understanding SARS-CoV-2.

Tara Wager, M.A. – Faculty Associate, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Regardless of the class, it is Professor Wager's goal to meet the students where they are and build upon their math framework. She always strives to deliver precise explanations, transparent objectives, and aesthetic course materials that promote student success, processing, dialogue, and questions; it is her goal to underscore the skills that will serve them in their other classes. Students annotate notes, internalize concepts, and place their focus on understanding the material. Professor Wager's philosophy is centered around the belief that if better learning is happing in the classroom, then she is promoting self-learning outside of our meetings. She has an incredibly wide variety of abilities in my classroom, but her ultimate goal is the same for everyone: to make students feel confident in mathematics.

Adjunct of the Year

Claudia Freire, M.A. – Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures
Professor Freire believes in her students' potential, and she believes in them. She always encourages her students to never give up and to continue their college education. She knows that if she was able to study with limited English and with no money to pay for college when she arrived in the United States, her students can finish and earn their degree as well. She tells students that even if it is one class at a time, to not give up, and earn their college degrees. Why? Because she knows that her students can do it! She believes in each one of them, and in the importance of higher education.

Professor Freire's students mentioned that they are so grateful to have had her as their professor in the Spring 2022 semester. They noted she pushed them outside of their comfort zones and taught them how important it is to embrace their anxiety and use it as motivation to use their voices to share what's on their mind. They thanked Professor Freire for being, positive, supportive and engaging. In addition, sharing weekend stories in Spanish was a great way for students to learn about their classmates, and in the process better understand Spanish.

Excellence in Teaching 21st Century Skills

Dongdong Chen, Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Asian Studies, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures
Professor Chen has always endeavored to create a supportive learning environment and assist students to work toward the 21st century skills. She has taught innovatively by:

  1. engaging undergraduate students to create interactive podcasts in the target language that they were learning.
  2. engaging graduate students with service learning at Seton Hall Prepratory School in West Orange, New Jersey, alloing them to learn how to teach while serving the community.

On June 5, 2021, Professor Chen was invited by the Council on East Asian Studies (Yale University) to give a workshop regarding cultivating students' 21st century skills from the perspective of a language teacher.

For the full list of Teacher/Researcher of the Year award winners, please see the original new story here.

Categories: Arts and Culture

For more information, please contact:

  • Francesca Phillippy
  • (973) 275-2324
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