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4 RCC Faculty/Staff to Receive Chancellor’s Awards Acknowledging Excellence

DATE: May 9, 2017

RAMAPO: Four faculty and staff at Rockland Community College will be honored on Sunday, May 21 at RCC’s Commencement Ceremony, receiving SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence. The awardees are: Kevin Barrett, PhD and George D. Repic for Excellence in Teaching, Patricia Zodda, for Excellence in Faculty Service, and Abigail Hunte for Excellence in Professional Service.

Excellence in Teaching

Kevin Barrett, PhD, Assistant Professor/Chair of Criminal Justice, who served in the Englewood Police Department for 32 years, brings his own and others’ experience as law enforcement professionals to the classroom, and his students reap the benefits. Every semester, Criminal Justice holds a Career Mosaic session where students learn about career opportunities from such agencies as the FBI, Rockland County Sheriff, Rockland District Attorney’s Office, the Center for Safety and Change, the NYPD, and private security.

Dr. Barrett takes pride in tapping what he calls “pracademics” – instructors who have expert practical know-how in the subject matter along with the required academic background – who use their real-world experiences to bring textbook concepts to life. As department chair, he has revised 17 Criminal Justice courses and added four to the curriculum, and introduced a semi-annual recognition ceremony for high-achieving students.

Prominent among his many activities on campus was Dr. Barrett’s co-chairing of the Middle States Re-Accreditation Self Study in advance of the Middle States team’s visit in March 2017. A full-time faculty member since Fall 2010, he holds a BA in political science from Montclair State College, and an MA, a Master of Philosophy and a PhD in criminal justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. He is a certified instructor at the New Jersey Police Training Commission.

“The ability to positively impact community college students by providing them a clear path to better their future is what teaching is all about,” Dr. Barrett said. “There is no better or rewarding profession than being a teacher.”

Excellence in Teaching

George D. Repic, Instructor/Chair of Business, has assumed numerous leadership roles since joining the faculty in Fall 2013. He has served as chair of Business, Economics and Office Technology since Fall 2015 and previously held the role of Coordinator for Marketing, Management and Multi-Cultural Studies. He also coordinates the SUNY Cobleskill BBA program at RCC.

One of Repic’s most noteworthy accomplishments was his development and teaching of a SUNY COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) course, with a La Salle University professor, in Mexico City, Mexico. A PhD candidate in global affairs at Rutgers University, Repic brought to RCC more than 20 years of corporate experience and five years’ experience teaching at community colleges and four-year schools, in multiple disciplines including business, economics and political science.

Evaluations by students and faculty colleagues at RCC consistently rank Repic in the highest echelon of instructional staff at the College. His understanding of the needs of a diverse student body, application of high standards, and availability and willingness to work with students at any time have elicited assessments as “one of the best and most caring professors” his students have had at RCC.

Repic, the faculty advisor for the Entrepreneurs Club, has presented at more than 20 conferences and workshops and co-authored two peer-reviewed papers. He received a BS in marketing and political science and an MA in political science, international relations concentration, both from Rutgers, and an MBA from Felician University.

Excellence in Faculty Service

Patricia Zodda, Associate Professor/Chair, Exercise and Human Performance, encourages her students to pursue lifelong fitness goals and structures her curriculum to maximize students’ enjoyment and appreciation of exercise activity, as well as its recreational and social benefits. An RCC faculty member since 1994 and full-time instructor since 2000, Zodda initiated and implemented the Fitness Specialist program and the AS degree in Human Performance Studies.

Zodda was instrumental in applying for and procuring a Perkins Grant, which gave the College funding to develop a Human Performance Lab. Her creation of innovative courses continues to provide her students with a dynamic program of study. A certified personal trainer, she has taught courses in exercise science, physical education, fitness and wellness, fitness counseling, and beginning swimming, among others.

Zodda also supports the College through her involvement in academic committees, including a key role on the Reapportionment, Tenure and Promotion Policy and Procedures Committee, and her voluntary service to charitable causes, such as the Evening of Hope fundraiser for Performing Arts student Melissa Dimataris.

“I have always felt it is my professional responsibility to strive to progress throughout my tenure in order to better myself, my department and the community,” Zodda said. She earned a BS in physical education from SUNY Cortland and an MS in exercise science from Long Island University.

Excellence in Professional Service

Abigail Hunte, Coordinator of New Media, has performed exceptional work not only in the technical aspects of her position but also in directly assisting students and the college community. She played a lead role in the redesign of RCC’s website and is responsible for the development and implementation of college-wide social media and website guidelines, policies and procedures, and web delegate training.

Hunte manifests her dedication to students in myriad ways. She supervises and trains social media interns, including assisting in the launch of a student-run Snapchat account and a student blog. She created and executed the Name that Café contest, with almost 700 voting participants resulting in the “Hawk’s Nest.” She also advises a student club called Humans of RCC, which aims to bring together students from diverse backgrounds.

Faculty and staff also benefit greatly from Hunte’s technical expertise and eagerness to make others’ lives easier. She has presented more than 20 workshops at RCC, in forums such as CETL, eLearning, RSVP and classroom sessions. Her presentations range from helping people with e-mail to assisting faculty with web-enhancing their courses. As a lifelong learner, she continues to take classes at RCC and attends SUNYCUAD and virtual conferences to enhance her skills.

Hunte joined Campus Communications as the Assistant Coordinator of New Media in 2013, after having earned a web development certificate (with a 4.0 GPA) from the College in 2010. She received a BS in computer science and BA in communication arts from Villanova University.