Six faculty and staff from the College of Education were recognized for outstanding achievement for their work at the University’s Founders Day Convocation on Thursday, February 18.

Yojanna Cuenca-Carlino, assistant professor in the Department of Special Education, received the Outstanding University Teaching Initiative Award. Cuenca-Carlino started her career at Illinois State University in 2010. She provides in-depth instruction to pre-service teachers and graduate students on assessment for students with disabilities, evidence-based practices in the area of literacy, consultation and collaboration, and culturally responsive practices.

Outside of the classroom, Cuenca-Carlino is also involved with students as a faculty floor mentor in the residence halls, and she is a faculty advisor for a newly established campus student organization called B-BEST (Best practices for Bilingual/ESL Special Education Teachers). She received her undergraduate degree in special education from University of Puerto Rico, and she completed her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and her doctorate in special education at George Mason University in Virginia. Cuenca-Carlino previously received the University’s Research Initiative Award.

Dr. Cuenca-Carlino is passionate, sets high expectations for herself and her students, and models effective practices in her own teaching. She has made it a priority to encourage the development of culturally responsive practices in her students in an effort to fill classrooms with teachers that understand, respect, and value what ALL students bring to the classroom. —Stacey Jones Bock, professor and chair, Department of Special Education

Sarah Dolan, ’09, M.S. ’12, elementary education advisor for the School of Teaching and Learning, received the Outstanding New Undergraduate Advisor Award. During her first two years, Dolan stepped up during a time of transition for the school, successfully advising multiple majors and supporting administrative staff.

Outside of her advising work, Dolan has taken the lead in several initiatives for the School of Teaching and Learning, including the redesign of the Transfer Day program and the development of a student volunteer ambassador program to enhance recruitment. She also helps to coordinate a summer book program with approximately 300 students and, in collaboration with Derrek Drenckpohl, is creating a dynamic study abroad opportunity in Milan, Italy. Dolan earned her bachelor’s in social science education and master’s in college student personnel administration, both from Illinois State University.

In the short time Sarah has been with us she has become a leader in developing programs to meet the needs of our students, a trusted colleague in the revision and implementation of programs, and an advisor who cares deeply about meeting the needs of her advisees. —Tony Lorsbach, interim chair and professor, School of Teaching and Learning

Pamela Hoff, associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration and Foundations, received the David A. Strand Diversity Achievement Award. She joined Illinois State in 2009 and has provided service, teaching and commitment to the campus community and Bloomington-Normal area. Through her efforts she has demonstrated that she is a champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She teaches social foundations and multicultural perspectives to pre-service teachers, teacher leaders, and campus leadership.

She has helped support and positively impact student organizations including My Sister’s Keeper, Black Graduate Student Association, Graduate Student Association, Black Student Union, NAACP, and the Bowman Fellows. She also helped to create the Umoja: Celebration of Black Graduates ceremony. This program recognizes the journey black students have made to reach the goal of graduating from Illinois State.

Dr. Pamela Twyman-Hoff has had a significant influence on various registered student organizations including My Sister’s Keeper, Black Graduate Student Association, Graduate Student Association, Black Student Union, NAACP, Minorities in the Academic Workplace (MAW), and the Bowman Fellows. Dr. Hoff’s influence was very evident in her effort to creation Umoja: Celebration of Black Graduate ceremony. Collectively, her presence extends the department missions throughout the university. —Lenford Sutton, professor and chair, Department of Educational Administration and Foundations.

April Mustian, assistant professor in the Department of Special Education, received the Research Initiative Award. Mustian started her career at Illinois State University in 2010. Her research and teaching center on culturally responsive behavioral practices that mitigate the issue of disproportionality of African-American students in special education and disciplinary action. Her work has been published in numerous book chapters and articles in scholarly journals. Mustian’s studies have been supported with grants from the U.S. Department of Education and the Illinois State Board of Education. She has been honored with Teaching Initiative Awards in 2013 and 2014, and a Faculty Mentor Award in 2013.

Dr. Mustian’s aptitude for conducting research was evident upon her arrival to our department in 2010. She has far exceeded departmental expectations in the areas of teaching and service, and especially in the area of scholarly productivity. Her research abilities and efforts during her first years of higher education are remarkable. She is a strong researcher with a full agenda for even more promising works during her tenure here at Illinois State University. —Stacey Jones Bock, professor and chair, Department of Special Education

Jennifer O’Malley, program manager for the Chicago Teacher Education Pipeline, received the A/P Distinguished Service Award. Founder and Executive Director of the Chicago Teacher Education Pipeline Robert Lee turned to O’Malley as his first hire in 2005 to develop the program and partnerships of the effort. She has played an instrumental role in recruiting and training teacher candidates, as well as helping to ensure that young alumni secure teaching positions and receive vital induction and mentoring services.

O’Malley has also helped to refine the Pipeline’s course curricula over the years to ensure that it is preparing educators for the realities of teaching in urban districts. Her colleagues in Chicago and on Illinois State’s campus fondly refer to her as a leader and champion of urban teacher education and the University’s most valuable resource in the city of Chicago.

Beyond an employee and staff member in my unity, Jenifer is a ‘thought-partner’ and has consistently helped me immensely to develop and implement programs and meaningful policies that span multiple institutional boundaries. She works tirelessly for the program and has a major impact on the education of students, faculty, school, and communities. —Robert Lee, executive director of the Chicago Teacher Education Pipeline

Maureen Smith, M.S. ’91, director of enrollment and transition services in the Office of the Dean, received the Esprit de Corps Award. She has been working at the University since 1989 and has served the College of Education since 1994. She is known by countless alumni and current students as the person who helped them to realize their goal of attending Illinois State University’s nationally recognized teacher education program.

Her dedicated membership to the A/P Council Scholarship Committee goes above and beyond, much like her dedication to prospective student and committed collaboration with advisors at Illinois community colleges. She is also the Golden Apple liaison for the University and currently serves as the education commission chair for the international organization NACADA. She was awarded the Herb Sanders Outstanding Advisor Award in 2011.

Maureen is remarkably sensitive to the needs and questions of our prospective students and their parents.  She responds to them with warmth and enthusiasm, and she is able to clearly explain the options available to students to achieve their goal of becoming a professional educator.  Maureen has developed a strong advisory network among community college advisors to support the specific needs of students transferring in from community colleges so they are well equipped to graduate in a timely fashion.  She is renowned among her colleagues in advising for the depth of her knowledge and experience and the strength of her service ethic. —Amee Adkins, senior associate dean, College of Education