Distinguished Faculty Awards Recognition

CELTSS honors Framingham State University's Distinguished Faculty with an event held annually during the fall semester. The four faculty members honored are the recipients of the university's Distinguished Faculty Awards for excellence in scholarship/creative activity, excellence in teaching, excellence in advising/mentoring, and excellence in professional service. Each award winner gives a presentation on his or her career trajectory and achievements.

The Distinguished Faculty event will be held on Thursday, October 25, 2018. The honorees are: 

Dr. Amanda Simons, Biology

Excellence in Teaching

Dr. Simons is an excellent teacher who cares about what her students are learning, how they are learning it, and the experiences that they have during their undergraduate education. She has been an innovator in investigating and introducing new teaching techniques in her classroom. This includes moving away from lecture-based classrooms and reducing the number of exams in her courses in favor of smaller assignments that focus on learning and applying material, rather than memorization. She has also introduced peer-led instruction in her genetics course, which utilizes peer-based assistance in small groups. Her assessment of class results and her positive student evaluations clearly demonstrate the success of these changes on student learning. 

Her biology seminar in Recombinant DNA Technology reflects the rapidly changing nature of biotechnology, and the importance of keeping students aware of recent developments in the field. As such, Dr. Simons has forgone the use of a textbook (which can be almost out of date by the time it is published) and uses primarily science literature to learn about the history and use of Recombinant DNA technology and ways to use this technology with the scientific method.

Dr. Simons was instrumental in the establishment of the Professional Science Masters (PSM) program on campus. In addition to overseeing the development of the program and the general design of the curriculum, Dr. Simons worked to establish an external advisory board.

Dr. Xavier Guadalupe-Diaz, Sociology

Excellence in Scholarship or Creative Work

Dr. Xavier Guadalupe-Diaz has been a Criminology professor within the Department of Sociology at Framingham State University since 2013. He earned his undergraduate degree at Virginia
Commonwealth University and his PhD from the University of Central Florida.

Despite being in the early stages of his career, Dr. Guadalupe-Diaz’s scholarly productivity at Framingham State is extensive. His areas of research specialization include violence in intimate relations; gender and sexuality; social inequalities and the criminal justice system; and applied sociology. The work has been published in several peer-reviewed journals, books and  encyclopedias. He also has two book manuscripts under contract at New York University Press that are scheduled to be published over the next two years.

Dr. Guadalupe-Diaz’s scholarship is best summed up by one of his mentors from Virginia Commonwealth University, Dr. Sara Jane Brubaker, as follows: “One of the most impressive things about Xavier is that not only is he a bright and talented scholar, but he combines scholarship with passionate and engaged social activism. His research matters not only in professional sociology circles, but it matters in the lives of vulnerable and marginalized members of our society.”

Dr. Guadalupe-Diaz has applied for two major fellowships and has three research projects in progress. In addition to his own scholarship and research, he has served as a mentor to students in research methods and beyond. He empowers students and leads them to achieve skill and appreciation for the conduct of social research.

Dr. Kelly Matthews, English

Excellence in Advising/Mentoring

Dr. Kelly Matthews has taught in the English Department at Framingham State University since 2009. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and her PhD from the University of Ulster.

In addition to being an outstanding teacher, Dr. Matthews puts an amazing amount of time and care into her role as an academic advisor on campus. She serves as one of three education  liaisons within the English Department. In this role, she advises a high percentage of Secondary Education minors, helping them navigate both the English major and the Massachusetts State Licensure process for Education. She has established a network of professional partnerships with school districts in the region, which allows her to serve as an effective reference for field placements and jobs after graduation. 

Dr. Matthews is also the Program Coordinator for Liberal Studies. This is a challenging role, as the major combines coursework from multiple academic disciplines, which requires her to keep apprised of the academic requirements of various departments. The role incorporates many of the duties of a department chair, including evaluating each student’s previous coursework and constructing individualized academic programs of study leading to graduation. 

English Department Chair Desmond McCarthy describes Matthew’s efforts as follows: “Helping each student identify his or her academic goals and then finding ways to make them concrete and attainable is work that is both innovative and practical. This is academic advising at its most
difficult, and Dr. Matthews is performing an invaluable service not only for students who are sometimes in distress, and often in particular need of guidance, but for the University community.”

Dr. Elaine Beilin, English

Excellence in Professional Service

Dr. Elaine Beilin has been an invaluable member of the English Department at Framingham State University for 33 years. She has a BA from the University of Toronto and a PhD from Princeton University.

Dr. Beilin was the founding co-director of the Center for Excellence in Learning, Teaching, Scholarship and Service (CELTSS) when it was established in 2007 and serves as the center’s director today. In both this role, as well as her role as the Chair of the English Department for many years, she has mentored dozens of faculty members who aspire to have careers as  impactful and rewarding as hers has been. Her role with CELTSS has included organizing orientations for new faculty members that provide them with an opportunity to meet with colleagues across many different academic disciplines. She also helped establish the CELTSS peer-mentoring program for new faculty and has overseen the awarding of hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to faculty members to support research, conference presentations, and innovation in teaching.

Nearly half of the English Department’s full-time faculty were hired during Dr. Beilin’s 11 years as Chair of the department and she has played an important role in their professional development as teachers, scholars and citizens in our community. In 2014, Dr. Beilin served as co-chair of the University’s 2014 Self-Study for reaccreditation with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. She has also guided the English Department through two successful outside reviews and has been an invaluable member of the committee leading the Reimagining the First Year Initiative. She also played a critical role in writing Framingham State’s updated Mission Statement in 2010.