For Immediate Release
Date: September 7, 2020
Contact Tom McGuire, Director of Communications/Media Relations
Written by: Eric Foster, Marketing and Communications
BLOOMSBURG – Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania has honored Cathy Pickett, guidance counselor at the State Correctional Institution at Muncy, with a 2020 College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Salute to Excellence award.
Pickett is Bloomsburg University’s first partner in delivering college-level instruction to incarcerated students through the Rehabilitative Justice Certificate Program. Established in 2016, the 24-credit Rehabilitative Justice Certificate provides education and training and a foundation for incarcerated individuals to complete two-year and four-year degrees in preparation for employment. To date, more than 40 individuals have participated in the program.
“The Rehabilitative Justice Program has allowed me the opportunity to work with a group of educators and administrators who share a true compassion for helping others. Their excitement for the program and our students energizes me and challenges me to push a little harder,” said Pickett. “It reminds me of how blessed I was to have had individuals during my college days who encouraged me and who showed a genuine interest in my learning. I have a front-row seat to see firsthand the emotional, social, and academic growth that students experience as a result of this program. Watching students develop self-confidence, and seeing them become advocates for themselves and others is very rewarding.”
“Pickett’s patient and passionate commitment to this program has been key to the success of the Certificate in Rehabilitative Justice,” said James Brown, dean of the College of Liberal Arts.
“I have a lot of respect for Dean Brown, so to have him say, ‘good job’ was very rewarding, but it truly is a team approach that makes this program work,” said Pickett. “There are many, many individuals, including past and present students, as well as Department of Corrections and Bloomsburg professionals who make this program a success. I am just fortunate to be part of a winning team.”
The Dean’s Salute to Excellence award was established by Dean Hsien-Tung Liu in 1998 to recognize distinction in the areas of teaching and professional responsibilities, scholarship, and service. Since then, the college has recognized select individuals each year for their achievements, with selection of faculty based on performance reviews. Until 2013, the awards were in the form of glass apples; and with the unanimous support of the department chairpersons, the last glass apple was awarded after his retirement to Dean Liu himself.
Since then, the awards are maroon and gold pens crafted by dean Brown.
“The pens represent the work that the recipients do,” said Brown. “We’ve also come to recognize that the College of Liberal Arts is not just its faculty, so recently, we’ve begun to include members of our staff and the community in this annual recognition.”
As the facility’s educational guidance counselor, Pickett is responsible for ensuring that students receive the appropriate educational, vocational, and emotional services. She offers individual and group counseling sessions to students with mental health issues and learning difficulties, as well as guidance into career and college programs.
“As a Bloomsburg University grad, I am extremely proud of Ms. Pickett’s work with the university in a program that partners university students with inmates,” said Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel. “This partnership is a shining example of dedication and commitment to furthering inmates’ education. Ms. Pickett and Bloomsburg University are providing inmates and university students with a one-of-a-kind educational opportunity. I applaud everyone involved for leading the change in inmate post-secondary education. This experience will positively impact everyone involved for years to come.”
This year, Salute to Excellence Awards were also presented to Betina Entzminger, professor of English; Jing Luo, professor of languages and cultures; and Arian Moghadam, professor of economics.
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.