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Three CEHD award plaques

Research, education and service are the three tenets embraced by the University of Delaware’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD). Each year, CEHD recognizes faculty and staff who have demonstrated superior commitment to their fields.

On November 13, 2018, during the All-College meeting, CEHD presented the Dean’s Research Award and the Dr. Rita M. Fillos award.

Dean’s Research Award

This year, the Dean’s Research Award was expanded to recognize both (1) an assistant or associate professor with a strong program of research published in high-quality scholarly outlets whose work has been externally funded, and (2) an assistant professor with a strong program of research who has applied for external funding and published in high-quality scholarly outlets.

The first award was presented to Steve Amendum, associate professor of literacy in the School of Education.

Steve Amendum’s research areas include early reading intervention, literacy development and instruction for English learners, and professional development for classroom teachers. In 2015, Amendum won the Early Career Achievement Award from the Literacy Research Association. Currently, Amendum is the principal investigator for an IES-funded efficacy project to test an early reading and professional development intervention to improve early reading outcomes for young English learners. He is also co-PI on a second IES-funded efficacy project to test a professional development intervention for classroom and ESL teachers. His research has been published in several prestigious academic journals.

The second award was presented to Mellissa Gordon, assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences.

Mellissa Gordon’s research examines the ways in which at-risk families and communities impact adolescent and young adult developmental outcomes. Since 2013, she has published 14 data-based peer-reviewed journal articles, two book chapters and has been invited to present at over 20 national and international conferences. She currently has several manuscripts that have been invited for revision and resubmission and several other articles that are currently under review. Since being at UD, she has actively sought grant support for her research, of which three grant proposals have been successfully funded.

A monetary award is provided to each recipient to support their research programs.

Dr. Rita M. Fillos Award

Rita Fillos first came to UD as a secretary and during her employment completed a PhD in Education, advancing to become the founding director of the Center for Educational Leadership and Evaluation, now known as CRESP. The Fillos Award was established to recognize a CEHD staff member who is pursuing professional development opportunities while making significant contributions to the college.

Angela Cerasaro came to the UD’s Office of Educational Technology (OET) six years ago as an administrative assistant. Since then, she has been promoted multiple times and now serves as OET’s administrative specialist. She is currently pursuing a bachelor of arts in art history at UD, with an expected degree completion date of May 2022.

Veronica Commodore has led the Professional Development unit of UD’s Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Child Care for the last six years, where she oversees a team of 15 employees that includes curriculum developers, master instructors and administrative assistants. In addition, Commodore is pursuing a master of public administration, with an anticipated completion date of Summer 2019.

Excellence in Teaching Award

On December 14, 2018, Carol Vukelich, dean of the College of Education and Human Development, presented this year’s Excellence in Teaching Award to Elizabeth Soslau, associate professor in the School of Education, and Cynthia Paris, associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences.

The award recognizes a faculty member who demonstrates an outstanding model of teaching that promotes excellence.

Elizabeth Soslau has contributed extensively to the quality of the School of Education’s programs for over eight years. During this time, she has set herself apart as a thoughtful, skilled and reflective educator, with complete dedication to student learning. Soslau has pioneered new approaches to student teaching, developed new ways of supporting teacher candidates and reexamined the student-teaching curriculum to better prepare teacher candidates for the demands of the classroom.

“Dr. Soslau has served as an outstanding role-model for both her students and her colleagues,” said Chrystalla Mouza, director of the School of Education and newly named Distinguished Professor in Teacher Education. “Her teaching exemplifies the qualities of excellence expected for this award.”

Cynthia Paris, director of UD’s The Laboratory School,exemplifies the qualities of a true teacher-scholar who is deeply committed to improving early childhood education and demonstrates a deep commitment to supporting quality educational experiences for children and families in the community. She has taught a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses and is also a dedicated graduate advisor.

“Dr. Paris is an exemplary teacher educator who has enhanced the careers of innumerable early childhood educators and enriched the lives of so many of Delaware’s children and families,” said Jennifer Gallo-Fox, assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences.

For more information on previous award recipients, visit CEHD’s Awards and Accreditations webpage.