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Clarke Faculty and Staff Recognized with Special Awards

By Clarke News  |  April 23, 2020

Clarke University takes great pride in its annual Faculty and Staff Award ceremony. This year, due to current circumstances, the ceremony was postponed; however, Clarke recognized these award recipients virtually in a personal video from President Thom Chesney, Ph.D., and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Susan Burns, Ph.D.

In addition to promotions, tenures, and emerita status, and longevity employment recognitions, Clarke awarded the following three prestigious awards.

The BVM Core Value Award is presented annually to a current full-time member of the faculty, staff, or administration who strongly exemplifies the BVM Core Values of Freedom, Education, Charity, and Justice, as well as the quest for self-knowledge and the application of knowledge for the greater good.

This year, BVM Core Values Award was presented to Mary Gitau, Assistant Professor of Social Work. An excerpt from her nomination said, “In the classroom, Gitau teaches a variety of social issue topics helping to promote justice for the victimized groups (Education & Justice). In her research II class, she guides students through the research process, and IRB, helping them complete in-depth research projects for agencies in the community (Education & Charity). She has taken multiple student groups to Kenya for service learning trips (Education, Charity, Justice). She is a living example of the BVM core values inside and outside the classroom.”

The Rose O’Toole Staff Recognition Award is given annually to acknowledge outstanding achievements that have impact on institutional success and contribute significantly to the mission of Clarke University. This year, the Rose O’Toole Staff Recognition Award was presented to Colin Muenster, Director of Audio/Visual Services. An excerpt from his nomination said, “Colin has taken on an integral role transitioning Clarke to Sharepoint and other online systems, designed to make working and communicating more efficient. He routinely volunteers to meet with faculty and staff to instruct on the features of Sharepoint, Teams, and the new e-portfolio system, individual instruction when needed, and frequently assists with issues outside of normal work hours. He accomplishes all of this with a healthy dose of humor that keeps us all laughing.”

The Meneve Dunham Award for Excellence in Teaching is awarded annually to a full-time faculty member who has completed three years of service at Clarke University and who embodies excellence in teaching.

The Meneve Dunham Award for Excellence in Teaching was given to Jennifer Mai, Professor of Physical Therapy. A student said about Mai, “She has become one of the professors I have come to appreciate the most. She always brings an infectious positive attitude to every class period, motivating her students to make the most out of every day.”

A colleague of Mai’s shared, “I have always found her to be the voice of experience, reason, and creativity in every endeavor, particularly in class. She is challenging and nurturing at the same moment, providing a safe environment in which her students can experiment and succeed and/or fail as they navigate their career path.”

Clarke congratulates their outstanding faculty and staff and looks forward to a gathering at a later date when they can celebrate together in person.

Please visit for a complete listing of faculty and staff recognitions.