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Heather Huckins

Distinguished PAT (Professional, Administrative, and Technical Staff) Award

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Patricia Cantor

Award for Excellence in Faculty Service

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Bonnie Bechard

Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award

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Mary Campbell

Patricia Storer PAT (Professional, Administrative, and Technical Staff) Award

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Jennifer Frank

Distinguished Operating Staff Award

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Janis Bass

Distinguished Adjunct Teaching Award

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Warren Tomkiewicz

Distinguished Teaching Award

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Naomi Kline

Award for Distinguished Scholarship

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Terri Johnson

Sara Jayne Steen Operating Staff Service Award

Janis Bass

Jon Gilbert Fox photo.

Distinguished Adjunct Teaching Award

Adjunct faculty, Department of Health and Human Performance

When Janis Bass joined the Department of Health and Human Performance faculty at Plymouth State in 1994, she was already in familiar territory. Not only had she earned her master’s in education with a concentration in health here, but she also had worked for a year with Professor of Social Work Scott Meyer on a grant for a mentoring program to prevent drug and alcohol abuse in children.

Bass was initially attracted to her adjunct teaching position because it allowed her the flexibility to be available for her three children. Now that her children are grown, Bass’s flexible schedule still holds great appeal for her. “Adjunct teaching gives me the freedom to visit my kids, serve on the executive board of the New Hampshire Master Chorale, sing with my church, and be involved in all sorts of other things while enjoying a fulfilling teaching career,” she says.

For the past five years, Bass has taught Human Sexuality, a course that “challenges students to use critical thinking skills and be open-minded so they can be more aware of who they are and how they relate to others,” she says. Bass also teaches courses that prepare K–8 education majors to teach health education to children. The courses emphasize the importance of health, fitness, and wellness of mind and body. “I try to help students understand that, as teachers, they will need to be good role models,” she says. “As teachers, we can talk all we want about nutrition and exercise, but if we don’t do it, how can we expect our students to?”

For Bass, the greatest reward of teaching is the interaction she has with her students. “They are such an interesting group of people. I love having them come in after class to talk. Because of our relatively small classes, you get to have that personal connection, and that is very important,” she says, noting that over the years she has cheered her students on at sporting events, taken yoga classes with them, and even performed alongside them in choral concerts.

Bass’s students also value that interaction and describe her as amazing, encouraging, kind, approachable, fair, and non-judgmental. One student who nominated her for the Distinguished Adjunct Teaching Award wrote that she was “the best teacher I’ve ever had” and that she “changed my way of thinking.”

“The bottom line is I’m a mom, and I see teaching as an extension of parenting,” says Bass. “All my students are ‘my’ kids, and I want what’s best for them. It’s exciting to watch them grow and develop and to help them along the way. When I am no longer in the classroom, I hope I can still do something that keeps me in touch with the students here.”

Barbra Alan

Jay Moskowitz

“I’m here to teach about self-discovery, the creative process, and the positive intent and actions we need to create an engaged, compas­sionate world.”

“I’m here to teach about self-discovery, the creative process, and the positive intent and actions we need to create an engaged, compas­sionate world.”

Distinguished Adjunct Teaching Award

Adjunct Faculty, Department of Art
Plymouth State alumnus/Musician and songwriter/Justice of the peace

An important part of teaching, Jay Moskowitz contends, is creating the right environment for learning. “It’s important to provide a safe, respect­ful, and joyful environment in which students feel comfortable in expressing themselves,” he says.

Moskowitz is proof that the right learning environment can make all the difference. When his first year of college left him uncertain that the college track was for him, he dropped out. He spent the next two decades in various trades and professions, among them factory worker, street musician, paralegal, and private investigator. “If an opportunity presented itself and it looked like it was in a positive direction, I was there,” he says. When the opportunity to be a substitute science teacher at a local middle school presented itself, Moskowitz was there. It didn’t take long for him to realize he had found his niche. “I realized that I loved being in the classroom,” he recalls.

Inspired to return to school to earn his teaching degree, Moskowitz enrolled at Plymouth State, where he majored in elementary educa­tion and minored in art. At age 45, he earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education with certification to teach kindergarten through 8th grade. Without missing a beat, Moskowitz enrolled in PSU’s graduate studies program.

After receiving his Master of Education degree with an integrated arts option, he made the transition from student to adjunct faculty mem­ber, teaching in the education department and in interdisciplinary studies.

Over the past decade, Moskowitz has taught courses in the art department, the educa­tion department, and within interdisciplinary studies, as well as supervising both elementary education and art student teachers. Outside of PSU, he trained as an elementary-level Montessori teacher and cofounded Bodhi Tree Montessori School in Rumney, NH, where he served as a director and taught 1st through 4th grades over the course of five years.

Moskowitz’s teaching approach has many influences, from his eclectic career to the teach­ings of Maria Montessori and world-renowned Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, who bestowed upon Moskowitz the dharma name Benevolent Teacher of the Heart at a retreat. It’s an appro­priate name for Moskowitz, who sees his job as more than teaching course content to students. He says, “I’m here to teach about self-discovery, the creative process, and the positive intent and actions we need to create an engaged, compas­sionate world.”