Celebration of Scholars recognizes faculty research

Libby Bullinger, Copy editor

One of the aspects that makes Mercyhurst unique is that faculty and staff are focused on their students first, unlike at other institutions where professors are more interested in conducting their own research and teaching on the side.  

Despite this student-centered approach, Mercyhurst faculty members are still highly engaged in their own scholarship in addition to teaching.  

On April 19, the Faculty Scholarship Committee hosted a Celebration of Scholars to recognize and honor this kind of academic achievement for faculty around campus.  

The event took place from 3-5 p.m. in the Mercy Heritage Room and was open for all faculty to attend.  

The Celebration of Scholars is a Mercyhurst tradition dating back over a decade.  

Dr. Phillip Belfiore, who currently serves as the Director of Graduate Special Education and Applied Disability Studies, helped to establish the initial Celebration of Scholars in 2010.  

At the time, Belfiore was working as Vice President for Academic Affairs, but now the celebration is organized through the Faculty Scholarship Committee on the Faculty Senate.  

Despite the change in organizations, Belfiore is still highly involved in this event by collecting and organizing the works of scholarship into a booklet that will document all work at the Celebration.  

The structure of the event was informal and allows faculty from across various areas of campus to admire one another’s scholarship. Although there have been some brief presentations in the past, most of the work was displayed on tables that allowed attendees to walk around and view each display throughout the event.  

The Celebration of Scholars is inclusive of faculty from a wide range of disciplines on campus.  

“In the past we have had films/videos of dance performances viewed on laptops. It is designed as a casual gathering of folks to refresh, have a drink, and talk with colleagues from across the university,” says Belfiore.  

Some of the research and projects that were presented are solely faculty conducted, while others involve some degree of student participation.  

Each year the Celebration honors work from the previous calendar year, so for this year’s event faculty submitted research from 2021.  

Although there were many submissions presented by 30-40 faculty members, some notable contributions this year are from Jodi Staniunas Hopper, Rich McCarty and Chris Magoc, who all wrote entire books last calendar year.  

Dr. Christy Rieger, English professor and co-chair of the Faculty Scholarship Committee also spoke briefly on the importance of faculty scholarship at a teaching-oriented university.  

This event was a great opportunity for faculty to congratulate and celebrate one another on academic achievements in addition to expanding their horizon outside of just their own academic area of expertise.  

One way this was done was through extending invitation to academic administrators, the president of the university, and the Athletic Director and coaches on campus.  

Encouraging campus employees to come together for events like this one is just one of the ways of creating a sense of community at Mercyhurst.  

The goal of the Celebration of Scholars is to be as inclusive as possible with recognition of works of scholarship in various forms including book and chapter publications, journal articles, conference presentations, juried art exhibits, performing art shows, grant awards, and anything else that demonstrates scholarship at Mercyhurst. 

 The Celebration also included regional, national, and international works.