It is my pleasure to introduce you to the recipients of CCRI's Teaching Excellence awards. Every year, members of the College Community gather to honor the work these teachers perform. They strive to do their best to educate our students here at the Community College of Rhode Island. Please join myself and the other members of the office of Academic Affairs in recognizing their skills, talent, and contributions to our students.
Rosemary A. Costigan, PhD, RN
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Associate Professor Elizabeth DaCosta is a wonderful colleague in the math department at the Liston Campus, Elizabeth is a team player as well as a wonderful role model. She willingly shares her knowledge with all she encounters- including, faculty, staff, and students. Every day, Elizabeth's patience and kindness may be seen and heard. Her students adore her! Anyone can witness the time and energy she spends making sure her students are given the best instruction and advice. Professor DaCosta serves on many college committees including four search committees, the faculty executive committee, academic advisory committee, and mathematics curriculum committee. She was a commencement marshal in 2016 and is a member of NEMATYC. She has also participated in numerous conferences since she began at CCRI in 2005. She has taught courses including Math 0500, 0600, 1700, 1420, 1430, and 1600. Giving Professor DaCosta the CCRI Teaching Excellence Award would be a fitting tribute to her work at our institution.
Elizabeth DaCosta makes math accessible to all students, ensuring that even those for whom math is a challenge are confident and have the ability to master the skills they need. She is warm, friendly, and encourages her students to ask questions, learn from their mistakes, and persist to mastery. Elizabeth is student centered and adept at working with students of all levels; she truly is an asset to CCRI and an excellent example of all a teacher should be.
Melissa Saccoccio served as a Center Coordinator for Clinical Education at a large teaching hospital where she coordinated clinical experiences for CCRI students from the Rehabilitative Health Programs for over 10 years. Despite challenges from hospital administration to reduce their commitment to the student program, Melissa worked hard to make sure that continued placement opportunities were available for CCRI students. In 2012 Melissa received the New England PTA Consortium Clinical Faculty Excellence Award, which is a prestigious honor bestowed on one clinical educator per year throughout the New England region. Melissa has always gone above and beyond in all that she did in this role, and despite her busy schedule found the time to be personally involved with each student who came to the hospital by attending ongoing meetings with students and their clinical instructors to review progress toward goals, and to assist with developing learning experiences that meet each individual students needs. Melissa has worked in various teaching capacities in the Rehabilitative Health Programs since 2005.
As a clinician, she brings real time experience to every course that she teaches. She can give patient examples from many clinical areas such as inpatient, outpatient, hospital-based, and private practice, which provides an exciting environment for students to build enthusiasm for future careers. Over the years Melissa has expanded her involvement in our department to include being Adjunct Faculty and/or Supplemental Instructor for several courses. She has faced the challenge of taking on each new class with ease. She has also been sought out to provide individualized supplemental instruction for students in many courses, who struggle with skills and concepts. Students love Melissa and she receives superior student evaluations. She has a very pleasant and friendly demeanor so she is approachable, yet she has high standards so her expectations for her students performance are also high. Melissa monitors her students performance in class and lab and provides remediation and tools such as recording her lab demonstrations and lectures to optimize student performance. Melissa effectively directs her instruction in an interprofessional manner while teaching the Kinesiology course, taken by PTA, OTA, and Therapeutic Massage students. Students describe her as knowledgeable and compassionate, and through her actions she always demonstrates dedication to their success as exemplified by writing and sharing practice test questions and lesson summaries with the class. Melissa has strong communication skills that are evident with her students, as well as keeping program faculty aware of any student performance issues in her classroom that may impact program enrollment.
Last year when the PTA Program was writing the Self Study Report for re-accreditation and during the visit by the accreditation team, Melissa helped to gather information from employers and met with the team to answer question and provide information that was requested. In terms of personal attributes, Melissa approaches all situations with good energy and a positive attitude. She has a high degree of professionalism and is a strong role model for our students, as well as a strong leader in the profession of physical therapy. It is rare to find an individual who possesses so many extraordinary qualities, and CCRI is fortunate on many levels for our relationship with Melissa, and grateful for all that she has contributed toward our program.
Barbara Nauman challenges & inspires her students to excel. Barbara has taken the traditional Business Plan activity (Team Project) in the Introduction to Business course, to the next level. Her assignments support and encourage students as they build an impressive plan. In her marketing classes, Barbara brings important contemporary concepts to light, incorporating both individual and team activities.
Barbara has demonstrated extensive knowledge in her field, keeps current through a rigorous reading ritual, and imparts her knowledge in terms that students easily understand and apply. She provides students with all materials they need to be successful including supplemental materials to complement the text and creates a classroom to work-ready environment by teaching relevant skills such as writing and presenting business, sales, and marketing and advertising communication strategies. She engages students to explore and to analyze current business trends/conditions by incorporating The Wall Street Journal and Advertising Age magazine into the curriculum.
Barbara has recently joined the General Studies Task Force, which has been reconstituted to continue the work originally begun in 2014. I highly recommend Barbara for the Teaching Excellence Award.
Rebecca consistently surpasses all expectations for adjunct instructors: She frequently consults with the department chair about matters of pedagogy, seeks recommendations for classroom management strategies, and communicates effectively with Advising and Counseling, and the Dean of Students regarding student issues. In addition, Rebecca sponsored and worked with an award winning honors student who presented at a regional honors conference. Rebecca is among the most dedicated and responsible adjuncts at CCRI.
Mary Costa joined the Nursing Department at CCRI in 2013. As a junior faculty member, Mary took on a leadership role as co-chair of the Nursing Curriculum Committee, charged with responsibility of monitoring all aspects of the Nursing Curriculum. Over the past two years, the Nursing Department has been in the process of a major curriculum revision to a modified concept-based format. This daunting task included writing a new mission and philosophy, developing core organizing concepts, and restructuring the program to include twelve new, 1-6 credits courses from four, 10-11credit courses.
While a curriculum consultant facilitated this process, Professor Costa immediately emerged as a leader. She guided the nursing department by organizing meetings, creating timelines, and mapping courses for the first semester of the new curriculum. Additionally, she updated Blackboard with the latest curriculum revisions to keep communication lines open, conducted textbook reviews to determine resources best suited for the new curriculum, as well as developed a lesson plan template.
Mary was not part of the Nursing Department for very long before it was realized what an incredible asset she is to the program. Any member of the Nursing Department will say she is highly respected by all who know her. Mary's greatest fans, however, are her students as revealed by consistent, superior student ratings of instruction (SRIs).
In addition to exemplary teaching and her significant contribution to the development of our concept-based curriculum, Mary Costa is enrolled at URI, working toward her Ph.D. in Nursing. Mary Costa is a tremendous asset to the profession of nursing and to the nursing program at the Community College of Rhode Island.
Charles McGrath teaches the College Success course (LRCT 1020) and receives consistently positive Student Ratings of Instruction for his teaching style and commitment to the students.
Originally from New York City and graduated from St. Anselm College in New Hampshire. After Teaching and Coaching Basketball on the secondary school level in New York City moved to Rhode Island after being named Assistant Basketball Coach at the University of Rhode Island. He worked part-time in Advising/Counseling at CCRI and has been working as an Adjunct Instructor since 2004 teaching College Success.
Given that success courses seek to connect students to the college, instructors, and to each other as a way to promote overall persistence, Professor McGrath’s efforts are especially important and pertinent.