PSU Professor Mark Fischler receives 2014 Distinguished Teaching Award

June 5th, 2014 by Lynn

    Criminal Justice Department Chair is Plymouth native

    Mark Fischler. Courtesy Photo

    PLYMOUTH — It’s class time for Professor Mark Fischler’s Criminal Justice course: Society, Ethics, and the Law. Fischler looks at his watch, strides to the door, locks it and asks that all cell phones be placed in silent mode and hats removed. The message is simple: be on time and be ready to learn.

    It’s an old-school approach in a 21st Century classroom, but Fischler is anything but a stern authoritarian. He wants his students’ full attention, because he’s giving his full attention to them. It’s a style that makes him one of PSU’s most respected and effective teachers and the recipient of Plymouth State University’s 2014 Distinguished Teacher Award.

    “It feels good to know my students and colleagues feel positive about what I authentically put forth in the classroom,” Fischler said. “I demand a lot of my students but I also give them my best. I just consider it the greatest privilege to invite their growth.”

    PSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Julie Bernier, said Fischler’s commitment to excellence in teaching has earned him the respect of students, staff and faculty.

    “Mark is a truly gifted teacher and a kind a generous human being,” Bernier said. “Mark was recognized because his students and colleagues felt so strongly that he deserved this honor. I quite agree.”

    Fischler’s research focuses on Integral Theory and the practice and interpretation of the law. He has numerous publications and has presented nationally and internationally on legal issues.

    A Plymouth native, Fischler has strong roots in the community; his father, Michael, is a faculty member at PSU, and Mark grew up immersed in the collegial atmosphere of the town and institution. He attended Plymouth Regional High School, where he excelled as a student and athlete, garnering All State honors in Baseball and Honorable Mention All State in football.

    After graduating from University of New Hampshire with a degree in Political Science, he earned a law degree from the University of Maine and worked as a defense attorney before starting at Plymouth State in 2003 in the Criminal Justice department, eventually becoming the Department Chair in 2011.

    “I have a lot of history here. People I’ve known my whole life have worked here, so I consider it a real privilege to be in the classroom,” said Fischler. “Teaching comes first here. Relationships matter. There’s an appreciation from everybody who works here – from the folks who work the cash register for Sodexo to the custodians that clean the buildings to the President of the University. They’re all on the same page trying to make the students’ experience a meaningful one.”

    Fischler credits a wide range of mentors who have helped guide his career path as an educator, starting with his father, Michael, Plymouth Regional High football coach Chuck Lenahan, former PSU Provost and current Commissioner of Education Ginny Barry, UNH Professor John Kayser, former PSU Criminal Justice Professor David Kent, and philosopher Ken Wilber. As surprised and happy as he was to win the Distinguished Teaching Award, Fischler says it really is a tribute to his background.

    “It’s a nice moment for PSU to have one of the kids that’s been raised in the community receive this award,” noted Fischler. “It’s a good moment for the town of Plymouth and the University itself. I’m happy to be born and raised here and to win an award here.”

     

    Local man honored as PSU Distinguished Teacher

    June 4th, 2014 by Lynn

      By DAN SEUFERT
      Union Leader Correspondent

      Fischler

      PLYMOUTH — He grew up a “faculty brat” as the son of a Plymouth State professor, and became a star athlete on several Plymouth High School teams.

      Now, he’s being honored as the university’s most outstanding teacher.

      Mark Fischler, 43, the chairman of Plymouth State University’s Criminal Justice program, is being honored with the university’s 2014 Distinguished Teacher Award.

      “I’m honored, and very humbled,” said Fischler, a UNH graduate who is in his 10th year at PSU.

      “It’s a privilege to be able to teach in the area where I grew up, and it’s a testament to the good teachers I had along the way at Plymouth High,” he said.

      Dr. Julie Bernier, PSU provost and vice president for academic affairs, said Fischler’s commitment to excellence in teaching has earned him the respect of students, staff and faculty.

      “Mark is a truly gifted teacher and a kind and generous human being,” Bernier said. “Mark was recognized because his students and colleagues felt so strongly that he deserved this honor. I quite agree.”

      Fischler’s father, Michael Fischler, is the director of PSU’s Counseling and Human Relations Center, and is a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership, Learning, and Curriculum.

      Mark Fischler grew up among educators, and then became one himself.

      “I think it’s a privilege to be able to raise the level of consciousness of the future leaders of the world,” he said.

      But he credits his former head football coach at Plymouth High School, Chuck Lenahan, and his former baseball coach at Plymouth, Tom Underwood, with giving him leadership skills needed to be a good professor.

      “Both of them taught me a lot about how to lead a group, and how to play as a team member, as did all of my teachers at Plymouth High School. That had a lot to do with who I am now,” he said.

      After graduating from UNH with a degree in political science, he earned a law degree from the University of Maine and worked as a defense attorney before starting at Plymouth State in 2003 in the Criminal Justice department, eventually becoming the department chair in 2011.

      Fischler’s classes focus on “Integral Theory” and the practice and interpretation of the law. He has many publications and has presented nationally and internationally on legal issues.

      “Teaching comes first (at PSU). Relationships matter,” he said. “There’s an appreciation from everybody who works here — from the folks who work the cash register for Sodexo (at the university’s dining facility) to the custodians that clean the buildings to the president of the university. They’re all on the same page, trying to make the students’ experience a meaningful one.”

      PSU announces 2013 distinguished teachers

      September 9th, 2013 by Heather
         

        PLYMOUTH STATE University recognized members of their staff recently. PSU’s Distinguished Teachers for 2013 include, from left, Christian Bisson, Esther Kennedy and William Hett. COURTESY

        PLYMOUTH –– Professors William Hett, Esther Kennedy and Christian Bisson are the recipients of this year’s Distinguished Teaching Awards from Plymouth State University. Each year, PSU presents three awards for excellence in teaching. Nominations for these honors are accepted from faculty, staff, students and alumni.

        “By making these awards, we honor the teaching profession and we reaffirm our belief that teaching is of central importance to our mission at Plymouth State University,” said Julie Bernier, PSU provost. “These three faculty are among the very best of Plymouth State University. I am so pleased to see them honored by their students and colleagues.”

        Bisson, professor of adventure education, is the Distinguished Teacher Award recipient. A member of the PSU faculty since 2004, Bisson has taught courses in outdoor adventure education for his entire professional career, from working with juvenile offenders in wilderness therapy programs to teaching technical skill, outdoor pedagogy, and risk management in adventure education to undergraduates.

        He is known among his students and fellow faculty for being unafraid to take risks in teaching and always looking for creative ways to apply theoretical concepts. Bisson’s commitment to students extends to his service on campus, where he is active in such organizations as the Curriculum Committee and the Adventure Education Club.

        “I have been inspired by this award since my first year at PSU and I secretly was hoping that one year in the far future, I would be considered and perhaps even selected for this award – after many years of excellence in my teaching,” Bisson said. “I teach to help my students grow personally and professionally. Through learning experiences that I create, I hope that my students will develop their own passion for teaching. I hope they will develop solid outdoor technical skills and promising leadership skills. I also hope they will develop intrapersonal and interpersonal skills. In the end, I truly hope that they will develop a deep sustainable and meaningful relationship with nature.”

        Kennedy is the recipient of the Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award. A member of the Plymouth State faculty since 2005, Esther Kennedy teaches graduate courses in language and learning disabilities, curriculum development in special education, autism and spectrum disorders, and ethical and legal issues for families and children.

        She is honored for her ability to make the education of PSU students come alive by bringing her personal experiences as one of New Hampshire’s most prominent special educators into the classroom. She serves as director of student services in the Gilford School Districts and is a member of many state-wide task forces and committees in the area of special education.

        “I’m very honored by this award,” Kennedy said. “This became more profound when I found out that the students were involved in my receiving of this acknowledgment. An honor like this makes you reflect on your experiences as an educator and the institution that you work for. The two have to go hand in hand.”

        Hett, an adjunct mathematics professor at PSU since 2007, was presented with the Distinguished Adjunct Teaching Award. Hett is a Plymouth State alum, (’69) joining the mathematics department after retiring from a 36-year career in private boarding school secondary education.

        Throughout much of his teaching career he served in the US Coast Guard Reserve, retiring as a chief warrant officer in 2005, as well as completing a stint in the US Naval Reserve during his undergraduate years at Plymouth State. Hett also received PSU’s 2011–2012 Distinguished Mathematics Professor award who has earned a well-deserved reputation as a fair, kind instructor who wants his students to succeed.

        “I am there for them when they need help and encouragement as they move forward,” Hett said. “You get to know your students as individuals, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and work with them as soon as possible both in the classroom and office time. It has been successful with the students I have had over the past 6 years at PSU. There are many deserving adjuncts for this award, so I said ‘why me?’ even though I was happy to receive it.”

        Hett, Kennedy and Bisson were acknowledged Aug. 28 at PSU’s Faculty Day event.

        PSU announces 2013 Distinguished Teachers

        September 5th, 2013 by Lynn

           Professors William Hett, Esther Kennedy and Christian Bisson honored

          PSU’s Distinguished Teachers. From left to right: Christian Bisson, Esther Kennedy and William Hett.

          PLYMOUTH — Professors William Hett, Esther Kennedy and Christian Bisson are the recipients of this year’s Distinguished Teaching Awards from Plymouth State University. Each year, PSU presents three awards for excellence in teaching. Nominations for these honors are accepted from faculty, staff, students and alumni.

          “By making these awards, we honor the teaching profession and we reaffirm our belief that teaching is of central importance to our mission at Plymouth State University,” said Julie Bernier, PSU Provost. “These three faculty are among the very best of Plymouth State University. I am so pleased to see them honored by their students and colleagues.”

          Christian Bisson, Professor of Adventure Education, is the Distinguished Teacher Award recipient. A member of the PSU faculty since 2004, Christian Bisson has taught courses in outdoor adventure education for his entire professional career, from working with juvenile offenders in wilderness therapy programs to teaching technical skill, outdoor pedagogy, and risk management in adventure education to undergraduates. He is known among his students and fellow faculty for being unafraid to take risks in teaching and always looking for creative ways to apply theoretical concepts. Bisson’s commitment to students extends to his service on campus, where he is active in such organizations as the Curriculum Committee and the Adventure Education Club.

          “I have been inspired by this award since my first year at PSU, and I secretly was hoping that one year in the far future, I would be considered and perhaps even selected for this award, after many years of excellence in my teaching,” Bisson said. “I teach to help my students grow personally and professionally. Through learning experiences that I create, I hope that my students will develop their own passion for teaching. I hope they will develop solid outdoor technical skills and promising leadership skills. I also hope they will develop intrapersonal and interpersonal skills. In the end, I truly hope that they will develop a deep sustainable and meaningful relationship with nature.”

          Esther Kennedy is the recipient of the Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award. A member of the Plymouth State faculty since 2005, Esther Kennedy teaches graduate courses in language and learning disabilities, curriculum development in special education, autism and spectrum disorders, and ethical and legal issues for families and children. She is honored for her ability to make the education of PSU students come alive by bringing her personal experiences as one of New Hampshire’s most prominent special educators into the classroom. She serves as director of student services in the Gilford School Districts and is a member of many state-wide task forces and committees in the area of special education.

          “I’m very honored by this award,” Kennedy said. “This became more profound when I found out that the students were involved in my receiving of this acknowledgment. An honor like this makes you reflect on your experiences as an educator and the institution that you work for. The two have to go hand in hand.”

          William Hett, an adjunct Mathematics professor at PSU since 2007, was presented with the Distinguished Adjunct Teaching Award. Hett is a Plymouth State alum (’69), joining the mathematics department after retiring from a 36-year career in private boarding school secondary education. Throughout much of his teaching career he served in the US Coast Guard Reserve, retiring as a chief warrant officer in 2005, as well as completing a stint in the US Naval Reserve during his undergraduate years at Plymouth State. Hett also received PSU’s 2011–2012 Distinguished Mathematics Professor award who has earned a well-deserved reputation as a fair, kind instructor who wants his students to succeed.

          “I am there for them when they need help and encouragement as they move forward,” Hett said. “You get to know your students as individuals, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and work with them as soon as possible both in the classroom and office time. It has been successful with the students I have had over the past six years at PSU. There are many deserving adjuncts for this award, so I said ‘why me?’ even though I was happy to receive it.”

          William Hett, Esther Kennedy and Christian Bisson were honored May 1 at a reception in their honor and recognized at PSU’s 142st Commencement exercises on May 18. They were also acknowledged Aug. 28 at PSU’s Faculty Day event.

          PSU recognizes top three teachers

          May 4th, 2012 by Michael

            Featured in Plymouth Magazine

            Example Image

            Student Spotlight: Mae Williams ’14G A Twenty-first-century Preservationist

            When Mae Williams ’14G enrolled in the Master of Arts in Historic Preservation program in the fall of 2012, she was drawn to the strength of a program in which, she says, “The professors are not academics locked away amidst a pile of books, but are actually out in the field on a daily basis, […]

            Example Image

            Ut Prosim: Burton for Certain

            Ray Burton ’62 lived all his years in the North Country of New Hampshire. Few elected officials have ever understood the lifestyle and character of their constituents as well as he did or have known so many of them by name. On December 14, 2013, hundreds of Burton’s fellow citizens joined dozens of past and […]

            Example Image

            Arts: Digital Repository Puts PSU’s History and Culture at Your Fingertips

            Where can you get a close look at a photo of Babe Ruth standing in front of the Draper and Maynard Building, peruse a 1905 copy of Plymouth Normal School’s literary magazine The Prospect, and examine an aerial view of Plymouth State’s campus in 1960? Thanks to PSU’s digital repository, these historical treasures—along with 15,000 […]