CHSS announces 2022 Faculty Excellence Award winners

Tuesday, May 24, 2022
headshots of 4 Faculty Excellence Award winners

The College of Health & Social Sciences at San Francisco State University has selected the 2022 recipients of the CHSS Faculty Excellence Awards. These awards were established to underscore the College’s deep commitment to excellence in teaching, scholarship and service. The College will present the Excellence Awards at the CHSS Fall Opening Meeting in late August 2022. 

Read about this year’s awardees below.

Excellence in Teaching Award — Tenure Track

Gretchen L. George

Gretchen L. George receives this year’s Excellence in Teaching Award for tenure track faculty in recognition of the exemplary quality and impact of her achievements in pedagogy.

In her position as associate professor of Nutrition & Dietetics and program lead in the Family, Interiors, Nutrition & Apparel Department, she facilitates learning through nutrition education, metabolism, community nutrition and research courses. George is passionate about prevention and empowerment and provides an unparalleled level of commitment as a mentor, role model and advisor for Dietetics students and future dietitians. In the classroom, she includes students in her food literacy and basic needs research on the community and college students. More recently, she has begun exploring weight stigma in health-related majors from a social justice perspective, with the overall goal of eliminating weight bias in health professionals through incorporation of intuitive eating models in the classroom. Beyond the focus on eliminating weight bias, an imperative goal of hers is to strengthen the understanding of what health means, connecting individual, trauma, access, environment and biological mechanisms to dispel stigmatizing false information.

Excellence in Teaching Award — Lecturer

Sarah Pawlowsky

Sarah PawlowskySarah Pawlowsky, associate clinical professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, receives this year’s Excellence in Teaching Award for lecturers in recognition of the exemplary quality and impact of her achievements in pedagogy.

Pawlowsky has been a full-time lecturer in Physical Therapy at SF State for the past six years. She is a valued member of the team with her excellent teaching skills, musculoskeletal content knowledge and clinical expertise.

Students praised her thorough, well-organized lectures; her integration of material throughout the course; her great feedback on assignments; the clinical relevance of her teaching; her accessibility and approachability; her solid foundation of knowledge; her open-mindedness and her commitment to making sure all students’ voices are heard. They also noted her ability to adjust to the learning pace of each student and her willingness to go above and beyond as a teacher and faculty member.

Excellence in Service Award

Larry Vitale

Larry Vitale, lecturer in the School of Nursing, has been awarded the CHSS Excellence in Service Award for his dedication to service activities that impact student success and enhance the SF State community.

Vitale inspires students to seek community service, working tirelessly to create opportunities and broaden the students’ experiences beyond traditional health care settings. He is an exceptional educator and mentor to nursing students. Over years of collaboration with Vitale, the SF State School of Nursing has provided free preventative services to community members without access to care and health education from student nurses under his supervision. Vitale has established, maintained and expanded volunteer opportunities for our students in with a variety of organizations and communities in San Francisco. He created opportunities for our nursing students that enabled them to contribute to San Francisco’s response to the pandemic, while learning valuable skills and progressing through the nursing program. Vitale has since coordinated volunteer assignments for hundreds of student nurses, forming the backbone of support to meet COVID testing demands. He continues to lead and inspire a new generation of nurses.

Excellence in Scholarship Award

Elif Balin

The College has awarded Assistant Professor of Counseling Elif Balin the Excellence in Scholarship Award for her support of student-initiated research that evolves above and beyond the requirements for a degree.

Dr. Balin’s career priority is to train professional counselors who understand and apply career counseling and college counseling through systemic and culturally competent practices in various service and advocacy areas in the higher education, community mental health settings and beyond.

Her research projects and the related literature show that there is limited understanding and application of the multicultural and social justice counseling competencies, advocacy competencies, and international/global perspectives in career counseling and related educational settings. Counselors in these settings struggle to integrate such skills and advocacy into their work due to multiple organizational structure limitations. Her students’ feedback about their graduate training and internship experiences aligns with this finding.

Dr. Balin shared these student voices with the editor and author of several counseling skills textbooks, who offered her the opportunity to create a team with counselor educators and students to produce a series of training videos that are more culturally responsive, concise and relevant educational materials. In addition to her colleagues, Dr. Balin invited her graduate students (Atheena Haniff-Martinez, Alona Harris, Emily Jackson, Philip Payumo Jucaban, Zdravko Rozic and Paul Smith) to create a new series for the project, Moments of Excellence in Counseling and Therapy: Learning What Works for Relationship Building and Increased Effectiveness at Mindscape Commons.