Three outstanding professors have been named recipients of Middlesex College’s annual Excellence Awards. They were recognized at a virtual ceremony in April.
Natural Sciences Professor Phalguni Ghosh (Piscataway) was selected as the 2021 Faculty Scholar Award recipient; Crystal Quillen, History and Social Sciences Department, has been selected as the Excellence in Fulltime Teaching Award recipient; and Maria Crecenzio, ESL, Languages and Cultures Department, has been selected as the Adjunct Excellence in Teaching Award recipient.
Last year’s recipients Claire Condie of the Natural Sciences Department (Scholar award), Richard Thompson, Visual, Performing and Media Arts Department (Teaching award), and Mathew Siegel, English Department (Adjunct award), were also recognized at this ceremony because the pandemic canceled their program in 2020.
Dr. Ghosh’s award cited his academic and scholarly contributions.
“The committee was greatly impressed with Phalguni’s collaborative approach to scholarship,” said Middlesex College President Mark McCormick. “He brings his research into the classroom and encourages students to develop their own research projects.”
Dr. Ghosh is also a reviewer for publications such as the American Journal for Undergraduate Research. His scholarship directly benefits his students at Middlesex College, as he has encouraged, mentored, and collaborated with them on their research projects.
Dr. Quillen’s award recognized her innovative teaching practices.
“The committee was greatly impressed with the ways Crystal embodies the spirit of faculty excellence in teaching due to her drive to provide students with a state-of-the-art, pedagogically sound classroom experience,” Dr. McCormick said. “Crystal crafts courses that seek to engage students as thoroughly as possible, whether in person or remote.”
Dr. Quillen uses a range of pedagogical tools to stimulate student interest, including discussing practical case studies that connect the classroom to the field, drawing out the psychology concepts present in popular culture, scaffolding assignments to give students time to process and retain information, and having students craft their own sample exam questions to enhance higher-order thinking.
“Crystal’s innovative approaches provide a sturdy foundation on which her students can build a lifelong love of learning,” Dr. McCormick said.
Professor Crecenzio is an expert in engaging students in the classroom.
“The committee was greatly impressed with the way Maria injects innovation in her courses distilled from her own experiences as an ESL student,” Dr. McCormick said. “She champions a teaching philosophy centered on flexibility that she honed over 35 years of teaching ESL in both Uruguay and the United States.”
Professor Crecenzio’s enthusiastic approach engages students through the use of scaffolded assignments with practical applications.
“Her focus on preparing students to use English confidently in their daily lives provides them with a path to understanding that sets her students up for success in her class and beyond,” Dr. McCormick said.