First-round of faculty development grants approved

Mar 11, 2011

By Annmarie Ely

Twenty eight DelVal faculty members have been awarded a total of almost $55,000 in professional development grants that will allow them to bring fresh ideas and approaches to their classrooms.


In September, President Joseph S. Brosnan announced that $125,000 would be made available for the grants. The investment in faculty development was part of the college’s strategic plan that called for academic expansion and the attainment of university status.

Every grant applicant was approved for funding, which will continue to be available on an ongoing basis.

“The fund enables the faculty to not only remain active professionally and advance themselves, but it enables them to bring experience back to the classroom in both lectures and laboratories to give our students opportunities that they otherwise wouldn’t have had,” said Dr. Benjamin Rusiloski, dean of Business, Education, Arts and Sciences. “The president and academic administration are so pleased to be able to support the faculty in their professional development.”

Grants will be used to get new certifications, attend conferences and meetings, present research, take classes, conduct new research, produce creative works, and even visit a prison.

In the past, faculty members had to apply for such funding from their limited departmental operating budgets. The new funding offers much more opportunity for development and comes from the college’s operating budget.

“It’s really a new endeavor for us,” Dean Rusiloski said. “We’re really being open to look at professional development on all levels.”

Dr. Audrey Ervin, of the counseling psychology program, used a $1,500 grant to take a group of her students to the annual Association for Women in Psychology conference. Four of the students who went did a presentation on multicultural counseling and awareness on college campuses.


“I’m very proud to be part of an institution that is proactively investing in the research of faculty,” said Dr. Ervin. “I was able to present my research at competitive national academic conferences, but most importantly I brought my students at this last conference.”

Dr. Ervin, who received several grants, said the funding allowed her students to go to the conference and network with other professionals, speak with directors of graduate training and meet with the theorists they read about.

“The faculty development funding seems like a really good fit as we make that shift from college to university,” said Dr. Ervin.

Other recipients include:

  • Dr. Donna Kochis, chair of the criminal justice department, who will visit Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, N.Y., the locale of a book her students are reading.
  • Angelo Telatin, director of equine studies, who will lecture at the Equitana Equestrian Sports Worlds Fair in Germany.
  • Dr. Barbara Muse, chair of the Natural Resources and Biosystems Management department, who will travel to Honolulu to attend  a joint meeting of the American Phytopathological Society and the  International Association for Plant Sciences.
  • Dr. Ronald Petruso, a chemistry professor who will use the grant for research on making biodiesel fuel from tobacco leaves.
  • Assistant professor Veronica McGowan, who will use a grant to become a Certified Online Instructor.
  • Dr. James O’Connor, of the media and communications department, who will produce a play with his grant.