Two Bloomsburg University Faculty Named 2019-20 Outstanding Teaching Award Winners

For Immediate Release

Date: August 11, 2020

Contact Tom McGuire, Director of Communications/Media Relations                        

BLOOMSBURG—Two Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania faculty members, Carolyn LaMacchia and Erin Brummett, were named the university's 2019-20 Outstanding Teaching Award recipients by the Teaching and Learning Enhancement (TALE) Center.  

LaMacchia is an associate professor in the Department of Information and Technology Management in the Zeigler College of Business, while Brummett is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies in the College of Liberal Arts. The faculty were nominated by graduating seniors and selected by the TALE's Outstanding Teaching Award Committee.

LaMacchia teaches undergraduate courses on developing databases, analytics, and programming skills and also teaches in the MS in information technology program. Students who nominated her for the award used the phrase "above and beyond" when describing her work. They wrote of her "dedication to teaching, not stopping at the classroom door."

Students note that LaMacchia always makes classes engaging by using a variety of teaching techniques that make content relevant. Drawing upon her experience in the corporate world, LaMacchia creates opportunities for students to apply course content to the "real world." In addition to an engaging teaching style, students also note she supports their learning outside of class. As an adviser to the Association for Information Systems student organization, LaMacchia encourages students to network in preparation for their future careers.

“Each time I experience a student's growth, whether it be academically or professionally, I feel rewarded knowing that I may have played a part in the student’s development,” said LaMacchia. “Receiving the Outstanding Teaching Award is very inspiring.”

LaMacchia, who was a consultant in information technology prior to working at BU, got into teaching after serving as an adjunct instructor.

“I taught a single programming class as an adjunct instructor, and while I enjoyed the variety and the technical challenges of the consulting position, it did not bring me the same joy that I experienced in the classroom working with our students,” LaMacchia said. “I left the industry position to pursue a permanent position with Bloomsburg University. I love interacting with our hardworking students as their teacher, academic adviser, and student organization adviser.”

Brummett was lauded for her ability to make “every classroom an accepting and open environment” in her nomination. She teaches courses in the interpersonal communication area of the major, including interpersonal communication, conflict management and resolution, a special topics course on interracial communication, and a course that she developed for the department curriculum titled “Communicating Identity and Difference.”

Students noted that Brummett’s inclusive environment creates transformative learning experiences. The passion for her discipline, and her authentic teaching personae, allows students to build confidence while holding them up to high standards.  If students struggle with content, she finds ways to help them deepen their understanding.  Her teaching style is driven by a philosophy that empowers students to take responsibility for their learning.

“To know that my students nominated me for this award means more to me than I can put into words,” said Brummett. “I love my job because of the students. Everything I do in this profession is to encourage them to be the best versions of themselves that they can be in life and provide some tools that they can use in their journeys along the way. Knowing that the students understand and value my teaching philosophy as well as the connections we have made means that I'm achieving my goals as a professor. There is nothing more satisfying than that."

Discovering a passion for teaching came along during her time as an undergraduate.

“I remember having an epiphany in my junior year of my undergraduate studies that I wanted to be a teacher, specifically a communication studies professor,” said Brummett. “My goal had always been to make a difference in the world, but it struck me that I could do just that by helping to educate individuals about the importance of communication in their interpersonal relationships. Additionally, I have always been passionate about communicating with others in a way that is inclusive and celebrates human differences.” 

All recipients will receive a plaque and be acknowledged by the Provost Diana Rogers-Adkinson at a future date. In addition, recipients are awarded a professional development stipend, sponsored by the BU Foundation. 

Members of the 2019-20 Outstanding Teaching Award committee are Victoria Geyfman, finance; Michael Hickey, history; Craig Young, Teaching and Learning; Jeff Brunskill, environmental, geographical and geological sciences; Jerrold Harris, IT survey assistance; and Lisa Stallbaumer-Beishline, TALE Director.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education. We believe opportunity belongs to those who are ready to work for it and unafraid to do something great with it. But it’s not just for us. As a Husky, every step you take pulls the whole pack forward. Serving approximately 8,200 students, BU offers comprehensive programs of study in five distinct colleges: College of Education, Zeigler College of Business, College of Liberal Arts, College of Science and Technology, and Honors College.