Bradley University Faculty and Staff Receive Awards

October 7, 2020

Traditionally, at the end of every summer, Bradley University kicks off the new academic year with a get-together and award ceremony for faculty and staff. This year, time is being set aside in the month of October to virtually honor those who would've been acknowledged and awarded in person. Continue below if you wish to read about each of the award winners.

The First Year Faculty Award recipient is selected by looking at student and peer evaluations, in conjunction with course innovation and instructional talent.

For her high-quality instruction, innovative and holistic approach to teaching as well as her dedication to the betterment of all her students, Dr. Claire McQuerry from the Department of English is Bradley's 2020 First Year Faculty Award recipient.

Claire is commended by her peers and her department chair for her classroom innovations, forethought and preparation as well as the relationship she builds with her students. As her nominator put it, “She is a high-caliber instructor who continually seeks to improve and who solicits advice from colleagues in and out of our department. She is a valuable asset to our students, department, college, and university as a whole.”

Her students enthusiastically agree. One noted that she “takes everyone’s perspectives into account and opens up new ways for us to look at things.” Another remarked, “She has a genuine interest in her students and wants us to grow as writers.” While still another said, “Because of her expertise and dedication, I have noticed an immense improvement in my own writing.”

The Theodore C. Burgess Award recognizes excellence in collaboration between departments. The collaboration must be innovative and synergistic, and the result must be significant.

For their innovative approach to solving real-world problems by working across disciplines and for inspiring their students to do the same, the Department of Nursing and the Department of Mechanical Engineering are awarded the 2020 Burgess prize.

When the nursing program needed learning tools that either did not exist or were too expensive, a connection with mechanical engineering opened the door to students in both departments. What began as a way for students to work together on the design and use of real-world health care solutions grew to a senior capstone engineering project, created in conjunction with two senior nursing students. The project expanded when local 5th through 8th graders attended an educational session featuring students in the two majors.

One participant said, “These collaborative efforts challenge students to develop and evaluate the products once they’re integrated into the simulation scenarios.” The work of these two departments represents “a unique collaboration between two entirely different disciplines allowing students to think creatively, interact to gain a mutual understanding of the task at hand, and create an opportunity for students in STEM fields to work in conjunction with those in the caring professions.”

Since the early 1990s, the Student Senate, in conjunction with the Student Activities Office and the Center for Orientation and Advisement, has recognized a member of Bradley’s faculty, administration or professional staff who provides exceptional service as an academic advisor.

For her dedication to students across campus and her tireless efforts in ensuring them the opportunity for a bright and successful future, the 2020 award for Outstanding Academic Advisor goes to Dr. Valerie Bennett, Director of the Health Professions Advising Center.

Valerie oversees approximately 750 students across all the university’s colleges as they prepare for graduate school. She stays current on emerging programs and their requirements so Bradley students will have the advantage in any graduate studies application and career exploration. In addition, she advises two student organizations. Her leadership with these groups has introduced students to professionals in their fields, developed mentoring and peer relationships and given them the opportunity to job shadow.

The student who nominated her says, “Of all advisors that I have had during my time at Bradley, she has made the greatest impact, and one that I will not soon forget as I enter graduate school (thanks to her help!). Without such experiences, I can confidently say that I would not be as prepared or excited to enter medicine upon my graduation from Bradley University.”

The Staff Excellence Awards acknowledge the contributions of exempt and non-exempt employees who model Lydia’s vision of practical application, philanthropic leadership, and overall success for young people.

For her positive energy, inspiring outlook and willingness to be there for people, the Excellence Award for Exempt Staff goes to Belinda Daly.

Belinda is an academic coach with the nursing program. She provides support for all undergraduate nursing students, academic help for those who need it and collaborates with faculty. “She has a knack for knowing how to help students regardless of the cause,” said one nominating letter. For example, Belinda created a study group that supports students for whom English is not their first language.

“She is a genuine, caring and supportive person, a creative and positive force. I have never seen Coach Daly turn a student away. She is a leader the university can count on,” said one of her nominators. Another shared, “She has taken the program to an entirely new level. I cannot think of any other staff member who has had a lasting impact on the lives of others like Coach Daly.”

For her dedication to her work as well as her ability to form positive relationships and perform at a high level, the Excellence Award for Non-Exempt Staff goes to Maureen Kelly.

Maureen works as the administrative assistant to the associate dean and director in the Department of Education, Counseling and Leadership (ELC). She played a very large role in merging the two departments into one. As if being the initial point of contact for more than 600 students and nearly 70 faculty and staff members isn't enough, she’s highly regarded for her detailed knowledge and the care and support she shows to everyone.

Maureen not only ensures the day-to-day smooth operation of ECL, but she is also an important factor in the department’s positive relationships with off-campus constituents. “She is a consummate professional and an individual of the highest caliber. She truly is an inspiration to us,” said one nominator. Another shared, “I consider her to be the most dedicated, thoughtful, and assiduous individual I have been fortunate enough to work with in my career. She is the heart and soul of the department. Our department and Bradley University are better places because of her.”