Faculty – Past and Present – Honored at Annual Reception

News Story: May 23, 2014

Sacred Heart University’s faculty was celebrated May 7 at the University’s annual Faculty Reception. During the festivities, University Provost Laura Niesen de Abruna announced the winners of the University’s prestigious Faculty Awards. This year, in addition to the Excellence in Teaching and Excellence in Scholarship awards, two additional awards were given—the Service Learning Award and the Global Awareness Award. These awards honor the professors who best reflect the high-impact practices the faculty has been focused on this year.

Sociology Professor Jerry Reid of Wallingford received the Service Learning Award for his early adoption of integration of service-learning into a large number of his classes. “He has embodied the part of our mission that talks about service by asking his students to work on projects that benefit low-income residents of Bridgeport as part of their classwork,” Niesen said.

Professor Robert McCloud of Milford, who teaches computer science and information technology, received the Global Awareness Award for his work on SHU’s behalf for the American Council on Education (ACE) Internationalization Laboratory program. The Internationalization Laboratory is an invitational learning community of the ACE that helps participating colleges and universities to achieve comprehensive internationalization. McCloud has also been instrumental in developing SHU’s relationship with the Fulbright Committee.

History Professor Gregory Viggiano of New Haven was the winner of the Excellence in Scholarship award and Donna Bowers of the Physical Therapy Department took home the Excellence in Teaching award.

“There were many outstanding nominations for all four awards. The committee had a tough time selecting the winners,” Niesen noted.

Accounting Professor Alan DelFavero of Monroe received the Faculty Excellence award, which is given to the professor chosen by the students enrolled in the programs offered by University College.

In celebration of Sacred Heart’s 50th anniversary, four retired faculty members were awarded the prestigious Bishop Walter Curtis 50th Anniversary Medal. The medal is given to those who embody the central elements of the University’s core values in their lives. The winners were:

  • English Professor Ralph Corrigan of Trumbull, who was founding editor of the Connecticut English Journal and served for five years as chairperson of the English department. He was adviser to the Spectrum for 14 years and took special pride in the staff’s accomplishments and national awards. He also participated in SHU’s first delegation to El Salvador in 1992 and returned to Bridgeport with a recharged commitment to community service, helping to start Operation Bridgeport, a working retreat that introduced faculty and staff to the problems of the inner city.
  • Rawling A. “Pete” Fairbaugh of Trumbull, who started at SHU as an adjunct professor of business in 1973 while working at Pitney Bowes Corporation. After retiring from corporate life, he became a full-time associate professor of business in 1987. In 1988, he was appointed MBA director and, in 1991, he conceived and founded the Luxembourg MBA program. From 1991 to 1994, he and his wife lived in Luxembourg to assure the successful implementation of SHU’s first international venture. He also founded the Center for Strategic Planning for Not-For-Profit Organizations, which was implemented through the capstone MBA class by assigning projects to graduating students who would assist needy not-for-profits with their strategic planning processes.
  • John Kikoski of West Hartford, who colleagues say epitomized the phrase “student-oriented professor.” He was always focused on student growth and development. As the sole full-time faculty member in the History & Political Science Department in 1980, he increased the number of majors from six to 26 in just two years. By 1986, when he became chair of a separate Political Science Department, that number had increased to 44. He established the internship programs that placed SHU students in Delegations of Sovereign State, with members of the United Nations; the Connecticut State Legislature and departments of the State Government; city and town managers across the state as well as international non-profit/helping organizations. Healso served the students as pre-law adviser and adviser to the Young Democrats, College Republicans, Student Government and Pi Omnichron Lamda Honor Society. He first initiated the three-day trip to the Washington, D.C., for the presidential inaugurations, which continues to this day.
  • Constance Young of Milford, who joined Sacred Heart at the startup of the baccalaureate nursing program. Her knowledge, philosophy and previous experience influenced the design and ongoing improvement of the program, which has grown from an initial cohort of 30 to more than 300. She was co-chair of the Statewide Articulation Plan for Nursing Education in the 90s and helped to facilitate the transfer of nursing credits to baccalaureate nursing programs from associate degree and hospital-based nursing programs. She was the recipient of the Connecticut Nurses Association’s prestigious Josephine Dolan Award for Outstanding Contribution to Nursing Education in 1998. Upon her retirement, she started the iFun—an incidental fund for undergraduate nursing students to help them pay for needed books and supplies. That fund has since grown to be an endowed fund.

Niesen announced that six faculty members have been awarded tenure by the Board of Trustees. They are:

  • Susan DeNisco of Oxford, associate professor of nursing who has been serving as interim director of the School of Nursing. DeNisco’s professional interests include primary care with focus on internal medicine, health promotion and disease prevention, and medically underserved populations. DeNisco is on the Board of Directors for the Mercy Learning Center and was published in 2012 for her research on advanced practice nursing.
  • Matthew Moran of Branford, assistant professor of exercise science and director of the undergraduate exercise science program. His research interests include autistic movement patterns, running mechanics on performance and injury and computational prediction of running performance through improved optimization algorithms. In 2013, he was published in Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience multiple times for his various projects on autism spectrum disorders and trained distance running.
  • Richard Pate of Trumbull, assistant professor of business law. His professional interests include human resource law. He is licensed to practice law in Connecticut, the United States District Court of Connecticut, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the United States Supreme Court. 
  • Julie Stewart of Greenwich, assistant professor of nursing. Her professional interests include nurse practitioners, HIV, hepatitis and sexual abuse/assault. Her research interests and grants range from interpersonal violence and sexual abuse to HIV and epidemiology.
  • Geoffrey Stopper of Hamden, assistant professor of biology. His professional interest is evolutionary biology.
  • Deirdre Yeater of Stratford, assistant professor of psychology. Her research interests and grants include marine mammal behavior and cognition and the study of self-awareness and theory of mind in animals. 

Moran, Pate, Stewart, Stopper and Yeater also received promotions from assistant professor to associate professor, while De Nisco was promoted from associate professor to full professor. Other promotions were Lenore Frost, professor of occupational therapy, from clinical assistant professor to clinical associate professor; Linda Strong of Stratford, professor of nursing, from assistant professor to associate professor; and James Castonguay, director of the MACOMM program, from associate professor to full professor. 

If you are unable to view the photo gallery below, click here.