Student Engagement Network announces newest members of Faculty Academy

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Five new members were recently added to the Student Engagement Network’s Faculty Academy, and one previous fellow was awarded a two-year scholar position.

The SEN Faculty Academy funds projects developed by Penn State faculty that result in transformative experiences that complement student engagement. Funded projects advance engaged scholarship, with results that can be disseminated to other educators. Fellows serve one-year appointments and scholars serve for two years. Faculty in the academy are expected to be leaders and mentors in student engagement and help to cultivate a community around engaged scholarship.

The 2020-2021 faculty fellows are Melina Tanya Czymoniewicz-Klippel, Marly Doty, Amy Lorek, Katherine McLean and Gregory Pierce. Hailley Fargo will be a two-year faculty scholar.

Melina Tanya Czymoniewicz-Klippel

Czymoniewicz-Klippel first joined the Department of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State 10 years ago to develop the new Global Health minor and is now an assistant teaching professor.

Her Faculty Academy project, “Students as Teaching Partners: The Global Health Virtual Tours Project,” will focus on “bridging residential and online teaching, and integrating affordable and accessible virtual immersive experiences into Penn State World Campus, through application of a ‘students as teaching partners’ model” by engaging Penn State undergraduates in the creation of 360-degree images for virtual tours that will be incorporated into global health and other Penn State courses.

This would be especially helpful, Czymoniewicz-Klippel wrote, for students who may not be able to gain field experience and travel abroad. The first course to incorporate such a virtual experience will be BBH 305: Introduction to Global Health Issues, which Czymoniewicz-Klippel is working to convert to an online course starting in summer and fall of this year.

Czymoniewicz-Klippel’s project began from a Teaching and Learning Scholarship Grant from the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence.

Marly Doty

Doty is a former student affairs assistant director at Penn State Dubois and currently a lecturer of human development and family studies, and education.

For her project, “Leveling Up — For First Year Students,” she will create a model to help first-year students be informed in their journey as they participate in a first-year seminar or first-year experience course.

“I’d like to further develop a three tier system of student engagement: introductory, exploratory and immersive. In the model, I would identify which types of activities are at each level and an assessment tool to be used in measuring skills attained by participating in each level,” perhaps through a badge system to see if students buy into gamification, she said.

“My objective is to clearly discern between the different types of activities offered to first-year students,” Doty said. “This would also incentivize students in ‘collecting’ different types of events to better inform their trajectory as an engaged student in their college career.”

Hailley Fargo

Currently a fellow with the Faculty Academy, Fargo was awarded the two-year position of scholar for her project “Keeping Students at the Center: Expanding Our Understanding of Student Engagement.”

Fargo has been the Student Engagement Coordinator with University Libraries since 2017, where she has worked to scale engagement opportunities within the libraries across the University.

As Faculty Scholar, Fargo will build her work on mapping the student engagement journey, with the first year spent expanding research outward from the University Park campus to Commonwealth Campuses.

“We know that our students that attend our campuses have different needs and experiences,” Fargo wrote. “My research would uncover those pathways and shed light on what is currently unknown.”

Fargo said she intends to create a more widespread survey and allow the Student Engagement Network to gather more data on individual journeys across all of Penn State. This will be done with the help of paid undergraduate research assistants.

Amy Lorek

Lorek is an assistant research professor at the Center for Healthy Aging, College of Health and Human Development. Over the last four years, Lorek has taught intergenerational courses that mix undergraduates with older adult community members that she said have received enthusiastic response and requests for more such courses.

Her project, “Connecting Generations — A multigenerational approach to learning,” will be to develop an instructor guide to “assist faculty in designing classroom experiences and course assignments that include and leverage older adult expertise to enhance student learning.”

Gregory R. Pierce

Pierce, an associate teaching professor of finance in the Smeal College of Business, has been engaging sophomore Schreyer Scholars in the development of five-year strategic plans with outside clients as part of his course Finance 301H. This experience allows students to use the skills learned in accounting, marketing, finance, supply chain management, business law and risk management classes.

His project for the Faculty Academy will be “The Strategic Business Plan: A Tool for Student Engagement and Entrepreneurial Success in the Community.” This will continue the development of business plans, as well as returning to the 102 past clients to see how successful they’ve become.

Katherine McLean

McLean is an assistant professor of administration of justice at Penn State Greater Allegheny.

She has participated in the inaugural cohort of the CTL Scholars Program through the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence. This participation, McLean said, led her to more formally incorporate inquiry-guided learning strategies and redesign the signature research project in her CRIMJ 100 course, Introduction to Criminal Justice. This project involved initially surveying perceptions of crime and victimization in a student’s permanent or current neighborhood. This was then broken down into a series of smaller projects that progressively implemented different phases of the scientific method.

The project, titled “The Crime on Campus Study: A Multi-Campus Project Using Inquiry-Guided Learning” proposes to expand the crime study to several regional campuses offering CRIMJ 100 in the 2020-2021 academic year.

To learn more about the Student Engagement Network and the Faculty Academy, or to learn about other projects, visit

The Student Engagement Network is a joint initiative between Undergraduate Education, Student Affairs and Outreach and Online Education. The mission of the Student Engagement Network is to advance the power of participation by connecting students with experiences that empower them to make a positive impact as citizens and leaders of the world.