Faculty Recognized for Excellence

April 18th, 2013 | SMWC

Three Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College faculty members were recognized with the 24th annual Sister Mary Joseph Pomeroy Faculty Excellence Awards for their high ideals of teaching, scholarship, service and leadership.

In 1990, the Sister Mary Joseph Pomeroy Faculty Excellence Award was inaugurated, named in honor of the esteemed Woods professor of English who embodied the highest ideals of teaching, scholarship, and service. Each of this year’s awardees embodies the spirit of excellence, espoused by the College in its motto “Virtus cum Scientia” (Virtue with Knowledge United) in a particular aspect of faculty work.

Recipients of this year’s award are Tracy Richardson, Ph.D., professor of music, - for service; Robert Jean, Ph.D., assistant professor of ecology - for scholarship; and Ron Maurey, instructor of music, - for teaching.

Pomeroy Faculty Excellence Award for Service


Vice President Janet Clark, Tracey Richardson and President Dottie King

Tracy Richardson, professor of music, has been a member of the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods faculty since 1995. A Woods graduate, Richardson has demonstrated exemplary service to the College, to her profession, and to the community.

She credits Sr. Sue Pietrus with teaching her what it means to be a “servant leader” and she strives to follow in her footsteps. Her service to the community has included being a narrator for the Terre Haute Sinfonietta Pops Orchestra, singing for the Covered Bridge Road Scholar program and Hospice of the Wabash Valley, singing the National Anthem for the Wabash Valley Multiple Sclerosis Walk and serving as a music therapist for the Maple Center for Integrative Health in Terre Haute.  An avid songwriter, she has facilitated songwriting workshops for groups such as breast cancer survivors and those suffering from grief.

Richardson is well known in the music therapy profession as a pioneer and an expert. She serves her profession notably as the president of the Great Lakes Region of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) since 2011, where she has attended as a representative to the national AMTA Assembly of Delegates since 2006. At the annual AMTA meetings, she has made presentations, held workshops on songwriting and recently wrote and performed a song in honor of music therapy pioneer Clive Robbins, who passed away in 2011.

Her service to the college has included many committee roles such as the Graduate Council, the SMWC 175th Anniversary Planning Committee, the President’s Council and Faculty Compensation Committee. An active recruiter for the College, she often works exhibit booths on campus and at regional events, visits area high schools, and meets with prospective students. She currently serves as both the director of the Master of Arts in Music Therapy program and the Chair of the Department of Music and Theatre. Additionally, she serves as well as director of the new Music Therapy Equivalency Degree Program, a first of its kind, which she spent over ten years designing. Richardson also sings as a member of the Faculty Four Quartet, entertaining the campus with Christmas Carols.

Pomeroy Faculty Excellence Award for Scholarship

Robert Jean, Ph.D., assistant professor of ecology has been extensively active over the last two years with a wide variety of scholarship including published papers, manuscripts, grants, oral papers delivered at conferences, consulting, editing for journals and active research.  He also is a regularly invited speaker who shares his passion for ecology, sustainability and bees to local and national audiences.

Having been at The Woods for only two years, he has made significant progress in creating visibility for the College. He is the lead faculty on the Hollie and Anna Oakley Foundation Grant to restore LeFer Lake and create the Hollie and Anna Oakley Ecological Habitat.  He is also a content specialist on the Mobile Museum Developers, a grant funded by the Ball Venture Fund creating mobile apps for the Terre Haute Children’s Museum related to their bee exhibits.

On a national level, Jean is a subcontracted investigator on a multi-million dollar Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) grant at Michigan State University.  His expertise in bee identification will help address the important questions on augmenting specialty-crop pollination in the United States.  

Pomeroy Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching


Vice President Janet Clark, Ron Maurey and President Dottie King

Ron Maurey, instructor of music, epitomizes SMWC’s expectation of the type of faculty at a small liberal arts institution:  delivering personalized attention and caring about the student as a human being and the journey she or he is undergoing at Saint Mary-of-the-Wood College. He writes that “The personal satisfaction derived from knowing that one has touched another’s life, facilitated that person’s learning and ultimately helped that one’s development into becoming a more educated individual transcend all other benefits that may accrue.” 

His instructional materials are concise, well organized and easy to follow.  The materials have clear and challenging student learning outcomes – allowing students to gain an understanding of what they will gain in his courses.  The committee appreciated his classroom policies and high expectations as they indicated a balance and ability to be a supportive yet not a pushover or “easy.”

Students reported that Maurey’s “energy and enthusiasm for their learning was inspiring” and that his “intentionality toward meeting their needs in the classroom or during individual lessons made all the difference. Maurey, in countless ways, displays the qualities of a professor here at the Woods – dedication, genuine interest in his area of instruction and a high standard that is expected of himself and his students.


Jennie Mitchell and Alumnae Director Chanel Reeder

The Alumnae Faculty Leadership Award

The Alumnae Faculty Leadership Award is given each year for outstanding faculty leadership resulting in added benefits to students.  The National Alumnae Association believes that recognizing outstanding faculty leadership, will, in turn, aid in the strong future of Woods alumnae. Current students, faculty and staff members of SMWC submit nominations for the Alumnae Faculty Leadership Award. A selection committee is formed to review nominations and choose a recipient. 

Jennie Mitchell, Ph.D., professor of business, is the 2013 recipient of the Alumnae Faculty Leadership Award and has served the College community since 1989.  She models her leadership on the principles of positivity, teamwork, organization and listening. 

She is innovative, and has helped to bring SMWC into the technology era.  She leads the Curriculum Committee and the IRB and serves as co-advisor for Phi Beta Lambda.  Our recipient has been instrumental in developing the 3+1 Program to be launched this fall, and has also developed, designed and implemented a virtual internship class that has been offered for several years.  She also places a special focus on online learners and is described as being intentional about including them in developmental and leadership opportunities.

One nominator described her leadership by saying, “She makes everyone around her better and helps to ensure that others’ ideas are listened to and valued.”  Mitchell believes that leaders need to be transparent, empathetic, focused and enthusiastic.  She is an exemplary role model for Woods students, her peers, and the College.  

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