Elmhurst College: Faculty and Staff Members Win Excellence Awards

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Faculty and Staff Members Win Excellence Awards

Elmhurst College recently presented excellence awards to two faculty members and two staff members.

The President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching went to education professor Judy Fiene and chemistry professor Colleen Munro-Leighton.

The award reflects a strong vote of confidence in a teacher’s contributions to the education of Elmhurst College students. Student organizations nominate faculty members and support their nominations before members of the Faculty Development Committee, which selects the winners.

“Dr. Fiene’s biggest strength is that she is compassionate about her students and passionate about teaching literacy,” wrote one student in support of Fiene's nomination. Other students wrote, “One of the most important things is that she believes in us and, therefore, we believe in ourselves,” and “If I can become half the teacher that Dr. Fiene is, I will be proud of myself.” 

Fiene, associate professor of education, began teaching at the College in 1999. A resident of Elmhurst, she earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago, her master’s at Concordia University, and her Ed.D. at National-Louis University.

Munro-Leighton, an assistant professor of chemistry, joined the Elmhurst College faculty in 2012. A La Grange resident, she received her bachelor’s degree from Butler University and her Ph.D. from North Carolina State University.

In support of Munro-Leighton's nomination, one student wrote, “Dr. Munro-Leighton is an excellent teacher who makes difficult material easy to understand.” Other comments included, “Her greatest strength is in fostering critical thinking in the minds of her students,” and “She goes above and beyond to help all of her students find success here at Elmhurst College.”

The awards were presented in May at the Elmhurst College Founders Faculty Awards dinner. 

At the annual College Retirement and Recognition Breakfast earlier that month, Intercollegiate Athletics Director Paul Krohn received the Administrative Excellence Award, and Annual Giving Coordinator and Events Specialist Linda Pohlman received the Staff Excellence Award.

Created during the 1998-1999 academic year, the Administrative Excellence and Staff Excellence awards recognize outstanding achievements by two important segments of the Elmhurst College community. The recipients are nominated by the eight officers of the College and recommended to the president.

Krohn, of Villa Park, has been with the College since 1993. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Mankato State University. As one colleague noted, “Paul is the basis for so much of the department’s success over the years. Belief in people and a mission to be exceptional are what drive him each day. He has a heart of gold and is one of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve ever met.”

Pohlman, of Lombard, joined the College staff in 2004 and received her bachelor’s degree from Elmhurst College. “Linda is passionate about everything she does personally and professionally,” said Joe Emmick, vice president for development and alumni relations. “Her passion makes her one of our most versatile colleagues. She is able to tackle work successfully in all areas of development services and alumni engagement.”               

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