Professors Wendy J. Palmquist, Meg J. Petersen and William R. Benoit are the recipients of this year’s Distinguished Teaching Awards from Plymouth State University. Each year, PSU presents awards for excellence in teaching and service to the University community to one undergraduate faculty member and two graduate faculty members. Nominations for these honors are accepted from faculty and staff, as well as students and alumni.
“By making these awards, we honor both the teaching profession and three people who exemplify its finest qualities. At the same time, we reaffirm our belief that teaching is of central importance to our mission here at Plymouth State,” said Dr. Virginia Barry, PSU provost.
Palmquist, a professor of psychology, received the 2006 Distinguished Teaching Award for her dedication to teaching, scholarship and meaningful, student-centered education during her 25 years of service to the University. During an awards presentation at PSU’s May 3 faculty meeting, Palmquist was praised by Barry for her “broad, extensive knowledge of higher education”…“qualities of fairness, tolerance and compassion” and devotion to promoting critical thinking as the “cornerstone of a Plymouth State University education.”
Earlier this spring, Palmquist received the 2006 Theo Kalikow Award, presented annually to a PSU faculty or staff member who has significantly contributed to the welfare of women on campus. Palmquist is a founder of the university’s women’s studies program, a supporter of Title IX sports programs for women and a professor whose excellence in the classroom has been recognized by students and colleagues. She has also been an advocate for women and men on campus through the Safe Zone Program, which promotes awareness and non-judgmental treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.
Professor of English Meg Petersen, the coordinator of PSU’s M.Ed. program in English and the director of the Plymouth Writing Project, New Hampshire’s site of the National Writing Project, received the Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award for the Master of Education and CAGS programs. Petersen is known throughout the PSU community for her dedication to teaching writing, supporting students and inspiring other educators. Through the Plymouth Writing Project, she directs invitational summer institutes for teachers; writing camps, publications and competitions for youth; and professional development workshops throughout the year for teachers of writing at all levels.
“You are a truly inspirational teacher, going above and beyond what is required and providing for your students the maximum in learning experiences,” Dr. Dennise Maslakowski, associate vice president for the College of Graduate Studies, told Petersen at the awards presentation.
William “Bill” Benoit, a professor of business at PSU, was presented with the Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award for the Master of Business Administration program. Benoit has served the PSU community for 25 years, sharing his expertise in project management, quantitative analysis, quality control and operations management with students, faculty and community members. During his time at PSU, Benoit has been a leader in the business department, serving as chair of the department and director of the MBA program, and helping secure professional accreditation for the department’s programs.
Benoit was commended by Maslakowski for sharing his own diverse life experiences and passion for “all things business” with students, and for building relationships with students “which go beyond the classroom and with them into their chosen careers.”
In addition to today’s awards presentation, Petersen and Benoit will be honored at the Graduate Commencement exercises on May 13. Palmquist will be honored at the Undergraduate Commencement ceremony on May 20.
Plymouth State University (PSU) is a regional comprehensive university offering a rich, student-focused learning environment for both undergraduate and graduate students. PSU offers 42 majors and 62 minors in programs that include education, business, humanities, arts, and natural and social sciences. The College of Graduate Studies offers coursework that promotes research, best practices and reflection in locations on- and off-campus as well as online. For non-traditional students, PSU’s Frost School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers working professionals opportunities to pursue an undergraduate degree by attending classes in the evenings, weekends and online. Located in a beautiful New England setting, Plymouth State University has been recognized as one of the “Best in the Northeast” by The Princeton Review.