AVON PARK, Fla. – May 11, 2018 – Colleges and universities find a number of ways to honor and encourage faculty who go beyond the requirements of the classroom. To that end, four SFSC faculty have been appointed as endowed chairs in their respective disciplines with funds donated through the SFSC Foundation.

Darlene Saccuzzo, dental education professor, was appointed as the Highlands County Health Facilities Authority (HCHFA) endowed Chair in Dental Education, and Dawn Pisarski, nursing professor, was appointed as the HCHFA Endowed Chair in Nursing Education. The Norm and Laurie Stephens Endowed Teaching Chair went to Bob Sconyers, dental assisting professor, and the Carol Emery Endowed Chair in Mathematics went to Cheryl John, developmental mathematics professor.

Faculty members appointed as endowed chairs are awarded $5,000 per year for two years, with half going toward equipment, professional development, or to attend a conference related to the faculty member’s discipline of study. The other half is a salary stipend.

Saccuzzo plans to use part of her award to offer new technology that delivers more intense one-on-one instruction to dental education students. Students can be seated at their own operatories and watch instrumentation delivered by the instructor relayed via a computer monitor located at each operatory station. In real time, students are able to imitate instrumentation strokes and adaptation as it is being demonstrated.

The funds from Pisarski’s award will be used to send two or three SFSC nursing faculty to the American Holistic Nurses Association annual conference and bring back best practices on the importance of including self-care into one’s daily life. Faculty and students will be given the tools needed to live a fulfilling, balanced life, and avoid the pitfalls of burnout in a high-stress profession.

Sconyers plans to attend a conference that covers the latest in dental materials and equipment and will purchase cutting edge technology for the classroom. “By purchasing the latest and best equipment, not to mention the equipment our local dental clinics use, our department will continue to be on the leading edge of dental education,” he said. “We must stay ahead of the curve to offer the best to our students and the community at large.”

John would like to use her award to create and implement math boot camps for students to take prior to taking the diagnostic testing required for placement into college mathematics courses, if they have not been exempt. Three courses would last one to three weeks each. These courses would improve student testing in mathematics, particularly for those who have been out of school for several years.

Recipients for endowed teaching chairs at SFSC are chosen by a selection committee, with advice and counsel from college faculty. Selections are confirmed by Dr. Thomas C. Leitzel, SFSC president.

The idea of endowed teaching chairs at state and community colleges came from research chairs at universities. “This program gives us a way to show appreciation for excellence in teaching,” said Jamie Bateman, executive director of institutional advancement at SFSC, who oversees the SFSC Foundation.