Preparations underway for Outstanding Faculty Awards

Bianca Salgado

The nominations for the Outstanding Faculty Awards opened on Monday, Oct. 19 and closed on Wednesday, Nov. 25, leaving students, faculty and staff wondering who will receive the Outstanding Award and the Most Outstanding Award.

English Professor and faculty adviser for Black Student Union Damon Cagnolatti, provided the background of the Outstanding Faculty Awards.

“The Outstanding Faculty Awards originated back when the committee at first [had] been formed. It was a way for faculty members to acknowledge other faculty members and their successes; the efforts that they put in both within the school or within the college itself as well as to recognize their efforts that they put forth outside of Cerritos College.”

He added, “It was seen as a way for faculty members to recognize each others’ work and to give credit, show admiration, to give honor and even praise to those individuals who were going above and beyond the call of duty of what is typically expected as a faculty member as it is written in our job description.”

“So that was how the original faculty awards ceremony came into being,” he remarks.

Cagnolatti believes the group has been in existence “for about 12 to 13 years or so.”

Before it was called the Professional Committee of Ethics, professor of philosophy Joseph Van De Mortel was a part of the committee.

Cagnolatti mentions that “the announcements for who wins the faculty award and the most outstanding faculty award gets released in March.”

“There is an entire ceremony that occurs in April. It’s the fourth Thursday of the month. What usually happens is we get a set of biographies from the faculty members who end up winning the award and from their Deans too,” he adds.

He also explains the process it takes the staff to create and what they put into the ceremony itself.

“When we get the biographies, they have to be edited and put together in an Outstanding Faculty Award program book. Our staff here [at Cerritos College] end up putting the book together. It is a very well developed book; it’s elegant, classy, and has all the stylistic features from the popular award ceremonies you see on television.

“I think it is better because one, our staff actually puts it together and two, It’s put together with a lot more care, concern and even passion and love from our staff and the individuals who put this together frequently, who do more than what is typically expected.”

He further adds that after the programs are constructed, developed and composed in the book [Outstanding Faculty Awards program book], the award recipients receive a call.

This call is followed by another call by the Faculty Senate President Michelle Lewellen who congratulates them.

“She lets them know that they will be receiving an award, ‘You have won the award (most outstanding/outstanding award) and we would like you to come and join us on the fourth Thursday of April. You may bring a guest and we want to be a part of this time to recognize and acknowledge your achievements,'”he said.

Double major in paralegal studies and political science, Jessica Germata, nominated Bruce A. Greenberg, the Law Department Chair and Paralegal Program Director.

Greenberg was her instructor for two law courses she took back to back in one semester: Introduction to Civil Procedure and for Legal Research.

“He taught his class real-world practicum. And after you completed the program, he keeps a mailing list so he will send you updates through emails regarding jobs. He keeps in contact with recent graduates because he cares about student success,” she said.

Germata also adds, “He makes me want to continue in my education and that is how he inspires me.”