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Faculty honored at appreciation event


Professor Scott Wheeler of Performing Arts hugs PA Chair Melia Bensussen after receiving an award for 25 years of service at Emerson on October 1. (Photo by Zack Mills '17)

Faculty members whose work at Emerson has spanned four decades were honored at the Bordy Theater on October 1 for the first annual Faculty Appreciation Event, organized by The Spirit of Emerson and the Office of Academic Affairs.

President Lee Pelton shared remarks with faculty at the well-attended event shortly after a performance of the Emerson alma mater by four student a cappella singing groups: Noteworthy, Treble Makers, Acappellics Anonymous, and Achoired Taste.

“I hope this will grow in wonder and joy as we continue to do this on an annual basis,” said Pelton. “Teachers can effect eternity because they can never tell when their influence stops…Emerson especially demands much of its faculty, and it takes a very special person to teach at Emerson.”

The event was to honor all faculty, but eight faculty members were singled out for their years of service: Mary Ellen Adams of Performing Arts (45 years); John Anderson of Communication Studies (25 years); Robin Fast of Writing, Literature and Publishing (25 years); Jane Shattuc of Visual and Media Arts (25 years); Mike Weiler of Communication Studies (25 years); Scott Wheeler of Performing Arts (25 years); Tom Kingdon of Visual and Media Arts (20 years); and John Skoyles of Writing, Literature and Publishing (20 years).

Michaele Whelan, chief academic officer, in her remarks thanked Professor Tom Cooper of Visual and Media Arts for being a key organizer of the appreciation event.

“I think the idea of celebrating faculty is wonderful, important, and needed,” Whelan said. “Faculty really are the heart, center, and origin of learning.”

Whelan spoke about the 230 nominations for faculty awards she received last spring from students “who wrote with great passion.”


Associate Professor Michael Weiler receives an award for 25 years of service from Chief Academic Officer Michaele Whelan and Communication Studies Interim Chair Gregory Payne. (Photo by Zack Mills '17)

“You were responsible for significant alterations in their identities and career paths. It was incredibly moving,” she said. “It’s important to celebrate because you all spend so much time here—so much time teaching and running around—and when we get together we usually gather to do work. But tonight it’s time to meet and talk to colleagues and feel proud…It’s time to celebrate.”

The Office of Development and Alumni Relations solicited numerous comments on LinkedIn from alumni who shared thoughts about faculty who inspired them, changed their life, or went the extra mile. Some of these comments were read during the appreciation ceremony:

Natalie Jarman ’93:

“Jane Shattuc taught me deconstruct and analyze images and to not make presumptions and assumptions, to think as an individual and make a healthy and strong case for your arguments and analysis.”

Shannon Clouter ’07:

“John Anderson shared such a genuine passion for teaching with his students. He opened up to us about his own personal experiences, which created a special kind of sincerity in every lesson. He was excited to teach us and appreciated the opportunity to do so. His kindness and support on every level has inspired me to approach each teaching and learning experience with compassion. In my time at Emerson, John's positivity reminded me that there are great people in this world. Each class with him left me smiling!”

Mary E. Allard ’76:

“Dr. Ken Crannell is by far the best teacher I ever had. He is brilliant, creative, and completely hilarious. He had the ability to focus on the individual while teaching the entire class. He could find the holes in any argument or performance and pull out the best from anyone. A wonderful performer himself and a wonderful man.”

Matthew Barone ’99:

“There were a few really memorable professors at Emerson. I tried to always take Professor Robert Hilliard’s classes on media. He was so intelligent without being arrogant. In fact he did the opposite. He treated all of us as if we were colleagues. Breaking down theories, challenges in broadcasting, and always playing the devils-advocate game. I still have a copy (somewhere) of the FCC ascertainment rules change that he encouraged me to submit to the regulatory agency. I felt brave enough to finish the project and submit it thanks to his confidence.”

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