Excellence Awards - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

Faculty & Staff

Excellence Awards

Excellence in Teaching Awards

The Excellence in Teaching Award, selected by the Awards Selection Committee (composed of faculty and students), is presented annually to an instructor, both part time and full time, who display excellence in classroom teaching ability, educational leadership, creativity in teaching methodology, course and program development, and the enhancement of the educational climate and opportunities at Geneva.

Excellence in Scholarship Award

The Excellence in Scholarship Award, selected by the Awards Selection Committee (composed of faculty and students), is presented annually to an instructor who exhibits a breadth and depth of knowledge in their discipline in a way which significantly enhances the intellectual climate of the college; contribution to the advancement of their field and recognition beyond the Geneva campus; and stimulation and direction of scholarly activity among students.

Excellence in Service Award

The Outstanding Service Award, selected by the Awards Selection Committee (composed of faculty and students), is presented annually to an instructor who exhibits identifiable service activities for the campus or the broader community and the positive impact of the service events either internally and externally.


Dr. Rodney Austin

Dr. Rodney Austin

Excellence in Scholarship Award - Chemistry

  • Dr. Austin strives to increase his impact on the field of science, and he encourages students to do the same.
  • Since joining the faculty in 2005, he has often included undergraduate students in research projects and provided them opportunities to present their research and work.
  • He is also heavily involved in the study and presentation of research concerning active-learning strategies.
Dr. Holladay

Dr. Phil Holladay

Excellence in Teaching Award - Mathematics

  • Dr. Holladay is highly regarded by his students for his ability to make challenging material and work more manageable, interesting, clear and possible.
  • He is also loved by students for his ability to make time in the classroom more fun and engaging.
  • He has 35 years teaching experience at Geneva College.
Dr. Robert Reid

Dr. Robert Reid

Outstanding Service Award - Engineering

  • Dr. Reid shows exceptional service both locally and internationally.
  • Dr. Reid and his wife mentor and provide learning activities to local latchkey children in their home.
  • Internationally, he leads engineering projects in mission efforts to the Philippines, as well as teaching basic math and physics to orphaned Cambodian children.
Jenny Carter

Dr. Jenny Carter

Excellence in Part-Time Teaching award

  • Dr. Carter began teaching part-time at Geneva College in 2014.
  • Recognized by her students for creating a fun and engaging learning environment.


Eric Miller

Dr. Eric Miller

Excellence in Scholarship Award - History

Nominated by faculty, Dr. Eric Miller was awarded the 2017 Excellence in Scholarship Award. He joined the faculty at Geneva in 1999. Miller earned his Bachelor’s in Bible from Lancaster Bible College, a Master’s in Christian Thought from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Delaware. In 2016-2017, he contributed four articles to The Table, a website dedicated to a Center for Christian Thought, and published reviews of works from Matthew Tribe, Michael-Desh and Timothy Snyder. He is on the editorial board of Fides et Historia and is on the board of directors for Mars Hill Audio. In addition to his presentation of several lectures, Dr. Miller is currently working on a book on Brazilian evangelicalism.

Dr. Neikirk

Dr. Jay Neikirk

Excellence in Teaching Award - Political Science

The 2017 Excellence in Full-Time teaching Award recipient is Dr. Frederick “Jay” Neikirk, who has taught Political Science at Geneva since 1992. With a B.A. in Political Science and History and a M.A. in Political Science from the University of Delaware, as well as a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Illinois, he is respected and praised by many current and graduated students.  One student had this to say about Dr. Neikirk, "The best teacher I have ever had. The way that he makes the dense subject matter of political science easy to understand is simply astounding. Overall, Dr. Neikirik's class has forever changed the way that I interact with the world around me."

Dr. Brad Frey

Dr. Bradshaw Frey

Outstanding Service Award - Sociology

The recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Service Award was Dr. Bradshaw Frey. Working at Geneva since 1984, Dr. Frey received his Bachelor’s degree from Geneva College in Social Science and his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in Social Foundations of Education.

Currently, he teaches courses in Sociology and Higher Education at Geneva and helped launch the Beaver Falls community development corporation. Instrumental in the development of several community focused initiatives, Dr. Frey helped with the formation of City House, a living learning community for students in the city of Beaver Falls.


Professor Laurie Key

Excellence in Part-Time Teaching award

Prof. Lauraine Key accepted the 2017 Excellence in Part-Time Teaching Award. She began as a part-time faculty member at Geneva in 2013. After teaching a variety of courses in Math and Science in the Traditional Undergraduate Program, as well as the Online Adult Programs, Prof. Key has received praise as approachable, fair and as someone that is always available to students.


Dr. Beth Belcastro

Dr. Elizabeth Belcastro

Excellence in Teaching Award - Education

President Dr. Calvin L. Troup presented the 2016 Excellence in Scholarship Award to Dr. Elizabeth Belcastro.  Joining the faculty at Geneva in 2010, Dr. Belcastro significantly enhances the intellectual climate of the college, receiving numerous awards and distinctions as well as authoring publications and presentations on various topics.  With a B.A. from Fairmont State College, a M.A. from WV University, and an Ed.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Belcastro focuses her expertise in the areas of Reading, Special Education, and Elementary Education at Geneva.
Dr. Elaine Hockenberger

Dr. Elaine Hockenberger

Excellence in Scholarship Award - Communication

Dr. Elaine Hockenberger, the recipient of the 2016 Excellence in Full-Time Teaching Award, has taught Communication Disorders in Geneva’s Communication Department for over 30 years. After graduating from Bloomsburg University with a B.S. in Communication and a M.S. in Speech Pathology, she moved on to receiving her Ph.D. in Communication Disorders from the University of Pittsburgh. Well-equipped and dedicated to serving the students at Geneva, Dr. Hockenberger continually touches lives, encourages the down-hearted, lends a listening ear, invests time, and creates fun humorous learning environments. She is an inspiration to love God as well as neighbor.
Dr. Stephanie Schindel

Professor Stephanie Schindel

Outstanding Service Award - Psychology

  • Currently teach undergraduate students in the fields of human services and psychology, as well as the criminal justice minor
  • M.A. Professional Psychology, 1992, Geneva College
  • B.S. Psychology and Chemistry, 1990, Geneva College
Dr. Kathleen Austin

Dr. Kathy Austin

Excellence in Part-Time Teaching award

The 2016 Excellence in Part-Time Teaching Award was awarded to Prof. Mrs. Kathleen Austin.  With a B.S. from Mount Vernon Nazarene College and a M.Ed. in Science Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Cincinnati, she has taught courses in Science Education and Chemistry at Geneva since 2008.  By her students, she has lovingly been described as wonderful, friendly and helpful.  In 1998, she was awarded the National Board Certification for Adolescent and Young Adulthood Science/Chemistry.  With expertise and dedication, she serves Geneva to her utmost, giving her best for her students.


Joel WardFaculty Bio >>

Joel Ward

Exellence in Teaching

  • One student wrote “inside and outside the classroom, Professor Ward encourages us to think deeply and personally about everything we learn”.
  • Another wrote he “challenges you to really and truly think about the material at hand, never condemning you for your belief, yet giving sound advice where your thoughts may be weak.”
  • He received the 2014 Dissertation of the Year Award from the Religious Communication Association.
  • He joined the Communication Department of Geneva College in August 2014.
Sha Wang LuangkesornFaculty Bio >>

Sha Wang Luangkesorn

Exellence in Scholarship

  • This professor joined the Faculty at Geneva in 2006.
  • This professor has a Bachelor’s degree from Chapman University and a Doctorate from the University of Cincinnati.
  • Attends conferences several times a year to present papers in her discipline.
  • This professor was invited to join the distinguished roster of Yamaha Artists. To quote from the nomination form “The Yamaha Artists Roster is one of the most prestigious titles a musician can receive. It is offered by invitation from Yamaha Corporate to the most outstanding musicians and artists of the time. There are only 63 classical pianists in the world that hold this title.


Ed DambachFaculty Bio >>

Ed Dambach

Exellence in Teaching

  • One student wrote he “is without a doubt the most exciting and effective professor I’ve had in my college career.”
  • Another wrote “He made us laugh, he cared about us, he labored over us, he challenged us, and he rewarded us”.
  • He has taught at Geneva in some capacity since 1986.
  • He spent thirty years teaching in Riverside and Blackhawk School Districts.
  • In August 2012, he accepted a position at Geneva as Instructor and currently teaches Calculus I, II and MAT 095.
Dr. Ralph Ancil

Dr. Ralph Ancil

Exellence in Scholarship

  • B.A. from Grand Valley State University and Masters and Ph.D. from Michigan State University
  • Is an expert scholar on Wilhelm Roepke and is the President of the Roepke Institute.
  • Attends conferences several times a year to present papers in his discipline.
  • Is a regular contributor to the Imaginative Conservative which is an online journal that addresses culture, politics, political economy, literature, the arts and the American Republic.
  • Is often invited to speak in courses outside of his discipline.


Dr. Diana RiceFaculty Bio >>

Dr. Diana Rice

Exellence in Teaching

  • "Her teaching style is very fresh and relevant. She makes it not only possible, but easy to relate to her on a personal level. She treats her students with respect and dignity. She tests at the same level that she teaches and in both cases, she calls students to rise to their full potential. She is good at listening to students and working with them individually to discover exactly what is needed to finish a paper or fully understand a theorist."
  • "She likes getting to know her students in a personal way".
  • She is a very efficient teacher that is intelligent, very well educated, and someone to look up to. She multitasks. She always has time if you need to discuss things with her and is very prompt to."
Dr. David EssigFaculty Bio >>

Dr. David Essig

Exellence in Scholarship

  • His breadth and depth of knowledge has been recognized nationally. His research is funded by the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Energy.
  • His knowledge of this new level of genetics places Geneva among a handful of colleges where such research is being done. As a result of his efforts, Geneva College was been assigned to annotate the genome of the bacteria Pedobacter heparinus.
  • He includes Geneva students in his research. He mentors senior research projects, takes students to symposiums, and directs summer research projects


John GalloFaculty Bio >>

John Gallo

Exellence in Teaching

  • "There are few people that I have come to respect as much as this person. His depth of character is evident in whatever class he sets his hand to teach. The additional encouragement that he has given me over the years has helped propel me in my studies, encouraging me to dig deeper and discover more. His passion for his teaching material is clearly evident but his passion for God is even more clearly evident. ... He disciples as he teachers."
  • "He comes to class prepared every day and has obviously put a lot of time and effort into his lectures. ... He works very hard to ensure that his students have the tools needed to excel and he makes himself available to answer questions and help struggling students. He makes the information he is teaching relevant and ties in a Biblical perspective with each topic. His classrooms foster learning and growth both professionally and spiritually."
Dr. David SmithFaculty Bio >>

Dr. David Smith

Exellence in Scholarship

  • Taught at Geneva since 2004
  • In 2010, he participated in the International Symposium of Sacred A Cappella Music at Pepperdine University where he presented a paper entitled House of the Rising Psalm: How to Cultivate A Cappella Psalm Singing in the Praise-Band World of College Worship
  • "His musical research demonstrates his scholarship of discovery, his clear application of music to the created universe and the redeemed community demonstrates his integration, his teaching and leading student in composing, arranging and presenting their music demonstrates his scholarship of teaching, and his use of his gifts in leading the singing in Chapel for the last six years demonstrates his scholarship of application".


Dr. Terry ThomasFaculty Bio >>

Terry Thomas

Exellence in Teaching

  • Known for a creative approach to teaching and a passion to see students actively engaged in their learning.
  • Possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience that is passed on to students in fun and relevant ways.
  • His humble sense of humor is something that none of their students will forget.
  • Has a BA in Philosophy from Grove City College, an MA in Religion from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and a PhD in Foundations of Education from the University of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Esther MeekFaculty Bio >>

Dr. Esther Meek

Exellence in Scholarship

  • Taught at Geneva since 2004
  • Earned a BA in Interdisciplinary studies/Philosophy from Cedarville College, an MA in Humanities/Philosophy from Western Kentucky University and a PhD from Temple University in Philosophy


Stephanie SchindelFaculty Bio >>

Stephanie Schindel

Exellence in Teaching

  • began teaching at Geneva College in 1997 on a part-time basis.
  • “Finally, dedication, commitment, diligence and her passion for God and for Geneva College are what make her an excellent candidate for the excellence in teaching award.”
  • “Her strong sense of professionalism in all of her dealings has influenced me both as a student and as a young person.”
  • “In the short time that I have known her, she has taught me what I should strive to be as a woman of God.
Dr. Jim DittmarFaculty Bio >>

Dr. Jim Dittmar

Exellence in Scholarship

  • Employed since 1989 and taught since 1991
  • Collaborated on many books
  • Several hundred students through their applied research projects
  • Served on 5 doctoral dissertation committees


Dr. Jeff ColeFaculty Bio >>

Dr. Jeff Cole

Exellence in Teaching

Dr. Bob FrazierFaculty Bio >>

Dr. Bob Frazier

Exellence in Scholarship


Dr. Adel AikenFaculty Bio >>

Dr. Adel Aiken

Exellence in Teaching

  • Has been teaching at Geneva in one form or other since 1987.
  • Has a bachelor’s degree from Geneva, a masters degree from a school who must not be named – but which is located 30 minutes to the north, and a doctoral degree from Pitt.
  • One students wrote “I have never been more enthralled, interested, or challenged in any of my classes before the one I had with Dr. Aiken. … In every topic, Dr. Aiken brings it back into a Christian perspective.”
  • Another student wrote “Dr. Aiken’s passion for learning radiates through the classroom, the enthusiasm in inspiring. Dr. Aiken integrates Christianity into the classroom each day in a way that is not forced but flows from a deep walk with Christ and a strong belief of His place in the classroom.”

Dr. Don Opitz

Exellence in Scholarship

  • Has an undergraduate degree from that same college which must not be named, a masters degree from Gordon-Conwell, and a Ph.D. from Boston University.
  • His doctoral dissertation has this catchy title The Social Vision of Johann Eberlin von Gunzberg: From Utopian Humanist to Evangelical Reformer.
  • Co-authored the book The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness.


Dr. Mark Haas

Exellence in Teaching

  • Dedicated himself to better thinking and teaching
  • This professor has served the educational endeavor in a variety of ways so wide that it only underscores how deeply rooted his commitment is to realizing the vision that Geneva is founded on
  • Was an active member of the Core forum, a member of the Panel on General Education, the faculty coordinator of the FYRE program, and a member of the team that revised the Humanities curriculum in 2001-2002
Dr. Byron Curtis Faculty Bio >>

Dr. Byron Curtis

Exellence in Scholarship

  • Began teaching in Geneva’s Bible department in 1991
  • Had his dissertation on the authorship of Zechariah published by Scholar’s Press under the title “Up a Steep and Stony Road: The Book of Zechariah in Social Location Trajectory Analysis”
  • Described by his department chair as passionate – passionate about Biblical studies, passionate about the Hebrew language, and passionate about scholarship throughout the academy


Todd Allen

Todd Allen

Exellence in Teaching

  • Was first a student, joined the admissions office even before he graduated, then student development, and later before becoming a fulltime member of the faculty in 1996.
  • Directs Geneva’s forensics team.
  • Has arranged to bring prominent leaders in the civil rights movement to campus
Dr. Eric MillerFaculty Bio >>

Dr. Eric Miller

Exellence in Scholarship

  • Started in 1999
  • His essays appear with regularity in national publications such as Christianity Today, First Things, Books and Culture, the New Pantagruel, and the Cresset.
  • Co-editor of several books including Christian Faith and Historian's Vocation and Hope in a Scattering Time: A Life of Christopher Lasch
  • Regularly teaches at the Reformed Presbyterian Seminary in Pittsburgh.


Donald (Coach) KephartFaculty Bio >>

Donald (Coach) Kephart

Exellence in Teaching

  • Hired to be Geneva's first Director of Bands in 1983.
  • Grew the band from its' inital size of 41 to 120+
  • To quote one nomination letter “His very presence demanded respect while he also showed a heart of compassion for all students”.
  • Coach developed a concert band, marching band and stage band.
Dr. Jonathan WattFaculty Bio >>

Dr. Jonathan Watt

Exellence in Scholarship

  • Has written innumerable scholarly articles and is a journal editor.
  • Travels globally to present at conferences on topics ranging from linguistics, to globalism, to obscure Hebrew constructions.
  • Usually teaches more than a full load of classes.
  • Regularly teaches at the Reformed Presbyterian Seminary in Pittsburgh.