Ivy Leaf - Spring 2004
Faculty Achieve Highest Honors
More than 5,300 full-time faculty members teach throughout the Penn State system, which includes Penn State Altoona and all other locations that are part of the University. Each year, four Penn State faculty are honored with the highly prestigious George W. Atherton Award for excellence in teaching at the undergraduate level.
For one Penn State location to boast one Atherton Awardee would be an honor. To have two of the four honorees for a single year come from just one location would be almost unimaginable… unless that location is Penn State Altoona and the faculty members are Roselyn Costantino and Mike Weiner.
The George W. Atherton Award, named after Penn State's seventh president, was established in 1989 as a continuation of the AMOCO Foundation Award. It honors excellence in teaching at the undergraduate level and is presented each year to four Penn State faculty members who have devoted substantial effort to undergraduate teaching.
Costantino and Weiner join an accomplished group of Penn State Altoona faculty who have received this honor. Five additional Penn State Altoona faculty have been recipients of the Atherton award since its inception in 1989. These include William G. Engelbret, associate professor of accounting, in 1992; Lori J. Bechtel, professor of health education, in 1993; Douglas Brown, associate professor of mathematics, and Dinty W. Moore, professor of English and liberal arts, in 1998; and Lee Ann DeReus, associate professor of human development and family studies and women's studies, in 2003.
Costantino, an associate professor of Spanish and women's studies, has been a faculty member at Penn State Altoona for 11 years. She is recognized for her leadership in shaping the foreign language programs at Penn State Altoona and her success in combining teaching, research and service to enhance the educational experiences of her students and colleagues.
Costantino's expertise in language and culture studies and her desire to enhance students' education with real-world experiences led her to develop a number of international study opportunities. In that same vein, she has led Penn State Altoona's international studies initiative since 2002. In addition to designing numerous programs to introduce English-speaking students to other cultures, she has started a program to help Latino students integrate more fully into the Penn State Altoona community.
Weiner, an associate professor of mathematics, is lauded for enriching his students' learning experiences through his enthusiasm, energy and sense of humor––characteristics that create a relaxing and enjoyable classroom conducive to learning.
Since arriving at Penn State Altoona in the fall of 1996, Weiner has taught a variety of mathematics courses. Colleagues have noted that not only are Weiner's classes clear and well-prepared and presented, but he also has a way of engaging students so that virtually all attending his classes become involved willingly and actively in learning.
Weiner's philosophy is to get students to visualize mathematics problems while maintaining the traditional emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving. To this end, he has researched new methods of visualization using computer animation and has been an advocate of using computer technology as an educational tool across the mathematics curricula.
In addition to his teaching and research accomplishments, he serves as the program coordinator for Penn State Altoona's baccalaureate science degree, associate science degree and the natural science minor––programs he was instrumental in establishing.