PLYMOUTH — Plymouth State University has recognized Education Professor Mary Cornish and English Professor Robin DeRosa for excellence and achievement as professional educators.
Cornish received the Award for Excellence in Faculty Service and DeRosa received the Award for Distinguished Scholarship at the University’s Faculty Day event August 28. PSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Julie Bernier said both recipients exemplify dedication and excellence to their students, the institution and their profession.
“Listening to their acceptance speeches left no question in my mind why these two faculty members were chosen by their colleagues,” Bernier said. “They are both stellar examples of teacher scholars who care deeply about the success of their students.”
Plymouth State University’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service is awarded to the faculty member who best exemplifies the goal of balanced and sustained service that has had a quality impact on the campus, the faculty members profession, or the broader community.
Cornish joined PSU’s faculty in 2000; since then, she has made many contributions to PSU through service, from advising the Early Childhood Studies Club to chairing the Interdisciplinary Studies Council and the Faculty Welfare Committee. She served as codirector of the Plymouth Writing Project, helped establish the PSU Early Childhood Studies/Newfound Area School District K–3 Professional Development School, and provided professional development and led reflective practice groups for K–12 teachers.
Outside of PSU, Cornish is a member of the Coos Coalition for Young Children and Families, which is comprised of representatives from health, mental health, family support, and early childhood care and education organizations in Coos County. She is also a founding member of the Lower Grafton Council for Young Children and Families.
Although the focus of her service activities vary, they all revolve around a common theme of educational innovation and reform, with the goal of improving teacher education and training, increasing educational standards and expectations, and above all, improving the quality of care and education for young children. She said receiving the Award for Excellence in Faculty Service was gratifying, because service work is a guiding principle for her life’s work.
“It’s something I do because I feel compelled to engage in my work; service enriches and informs my teaching and scholarship,” noted Cornish “There is tremendous value in people working together to impact teaching and learning.”
Plymouth State University’s Award for Distinguished Scholarship is presented annually to a member of the faculty whose body of creative and scholarly works is recognized for its rigor, originality, and expressiveness. The award recognizes that scholarly pursuits support and enrich the faculty’s commitment to excellence in honoring our educational mission and values.
Since joining the faculty at PSU in 2000, DeRosa’s work is the model of the kind of interdisciplinary research prevalent in English studies today. She is interested in how we perform and construct the world around us, whether it is through her work on the Salem witch trials or tourist destinations like New Hampshire’s historic Old Man in the Mountain site. DeRosa’s work, which includes dozens of publications and presentations, not only taps into popular subjects, but also explores the ways in which we interpret and experience the past.
“The past isn’t something we can recreate with certainty, but that’s what makes it a complex and rich subject to explore,” DeRosa said. “Staying current in my field and researching new avenues of thought helps me remember that the best scholars are also the best students. I like thinking of my classroom as a collaborative space where we are all learning together.”
Award recipients are chosen by a committee composed of past recipients along with two faculty members.