Fairfield University names Teachers of the Year


Two popular and respected professors were named 2012 Teachers of the Year at Fairfield University, based on student nominations and review by a student-led committee. Laura McSweeney, Ph.D, associate professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, is the Undergraduate Teacher of the Year and Diana Hulse, Ed.D., professor and chair of the Counselor Education Department, is the Graduate Teacher of the Year.

"I feel honored, humbled and deeply touched by my students' outpouring of support," said Dr. Hulse, who teaches in Fairfield's Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions. "My students have taught me what I know about teaching and I look forward to many more years learning from and with my students."

Drs. Hulse and McSweeney received their honor at Fairfield's annual reception welcoming 32 students into Alpha Sigma Nu (ASN), the honor society for Jesuit universities.

Image: Laura McSweeneyDr. McSweeney joined the faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences as an assistant professor in 1999. She received tenure and was promoted to associate professor in 2005 and is the co-director of the University's Mathematics Center. A Bridgeport, Conn., resident, she has also served as a consultant and fellow for Project NExT, a professional development program of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and as a faculty mentor for Fairfield's BASE Camp (Broadening Access to Science Education), a summer research camp fostering a love of science for local high school girls.

"Mathematics and statistics can be intimidating to some students and I try to make my classes interactive and create activities that help students see the relevance and beauty of the subjects I love," Dr. McSweeney said. "I have learned effective pedagogy from teachers and professors that I had throughout my education. And I continually pick up new ideas and techniques from my colleagues here at Fairfield."

Dr. McSweeney's research has been published in the Journal of Sound and Vibration, the Journal of Statistical Computation and Simulation, Quality Engineering and other publications. She received her bachelor's degree from Bridgewater State University and holds an M.S. and a Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire.

"Dr. McSweeney loves teaching and loves the core curriculum at Fairfield," said Robbin Crabtree, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "She has been among our most engaged and innovative faculty members with regards to the Core Integration Initiative. We're very pleased with her selection for this wonderful honor."

Image: D Hulse KillackyDr. Hulse came to Fairfield five years ago and is completing her 30th year of teaching in counseling programs at the graduate level. Currently a Fairfield, Conn., resident, she has also served on the faculty at Ball State University, the University of Maine, and the University of New Orleans. Active as a leader in national professional counseling associations, she has authored or co-authored two textbooks and more than 30 refereed publications, including work for the Journal of Counseling and Development, the Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision and the Journal for Specialists in Group Work.

Also an accomplished pianist, she holds a B.Mus. from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and an M.S. and an Ed.D. from Indiana University. She is an inaugural fellow in the American Counseling Association and her research interests include group work and corrective feedback. She has won several awards for both her writing and her mentoring skill.

"Dr. Hulse is a superb teacher and excellent mentor to her students," said Susan Franzosa, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions. "I'm delighted that she was named graduate teacher of the year."

Rev. Charles Allen, S.J., executive assistant to the president, said the teachers were selected because of their outstanding academic achievements, concern for their students and loyalty to the Jesuit ideals of education.

Alpha Sigma Nu was founded in 1915 at Marquette University, and the purpose of the society is to reward and encourage scholarship, loyalty, and service to the ideals of Jesuit higher education. Alpha Sigma Nu chapters are active at all 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S., at American Jesuit seminaries and at Sogang University in Seoul, Korea. In joining ASN, a student becomes a member of a very active, service-oriented, organization with a variety of activities and regional clubs across the U.S.

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Media Contact: Meredith Guinness, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, mguinness@fairfield.edu

Posted on May 16, 2012

Vol. 44, No. 296