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Faculty of The Teachers College Honored by Peers at Emporia State

Five members of the faculty and staff at Emporia State University received awards on Jan. 13 for their work within The Teachers College.

Melissa Gerleman received the Excellence in Instruction Award. Gerleman, an instructor in the elementary education, early childhood, and special education department, was given the award for her work in preparing trauma-informed educators. As a teacher educator, she has learned that passion, collaboration, and curiosity drive the authentic learning opportunities which create higher student engagement. As a testament to her effectiveness, two words continually emerge in her overwhelmingly positive student evaluations — those words are “caring” and “competent.” Recognized as an ESU Assessment Champion in 2020-21, she routinely develops highly effective mentoring relationships that support, sustain and inspire students to become the best teachers possible.

Dr. Damara Paris received the Excellence in Service Award. Paris, an associate professor in the counselor education department, has served as a faculty mentor, search committee member and acts as liaison and accreditation coordinator for her program’s re-accreditation process. At the university level, she has served on the Emporia State Research Studies Editorial Board and the ESU Learning Technologies Advisory Committee. Additionally, she has voluntarily served as one of the few Quality Matters certified reviewers for ESU’s online courses. On the state and national level, she is a very active participant in numerous professional associations including the National Deaf Center, the American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association and Sacred Circle for Deaf Indigenous Peoples, frequently serving in key organizational roles.

Clara Corn received the Darrell E. Wood Service Award. The award recognizes the outstanding and unique contributions given by an individual in supporting the mission of The Teachers College. Corn, an instructor in the counselor education department, previously was involved with Emporia’s Plumb Place and recently brought to life a holistic residential center offering transitional housing for adolescents (particularly displaced LGBTQIA+ teens). This center, called Bloom House, opened on Jan. 1, 2022, in Emporia and will provide shelter and services for up to 12 homeless and runaway youth. Corn also served as president of the Kansas Art Therapy Association, as a member of the Emporia Services Offering Safety Women’s Shelter (SOS) programming committee, on the board of directors of the Continuum of Care Homeless Coalition and on many master’s project committees.

Dr. Mark Stanbrough received the Ervay Family Award for Applied Scholarship. Stanbrough, a professor in the health, physical education, and recreation department, leads an effort to involve more sport psychology training for both coaches and athletes. His project includes the E-Sport Psychology Team where ESU students travel to middle and high schools as well as state and regional conferences to provide information about sport psychology. The training fills a void as psychological skills training is often not an important component of training because very few teachers/coaches and students are ever formally exposed to mental skills and drills.

Carleen Dvorak received the inaugural Staff Service Award. Dvorak, the administrative specialist for the counselor education department, was praised for her “care, attention and thoughtfulness” and it was said “when department alumni return to campus for a visit, it is this person with whom they want to have lunch.” Dvorak trains and supervises student workers, handles department budgets and paperwork and is “truly the glue holding the department together.” This was the initial year for the staff service award.

Recipients for these recognition awards are nominated by their respective academic departments and selected by a university-wide committee. Each winner receives a plaque and a monetary award to be used by the recipient.

To view a list of previous recipients of these awards, visit