Every year, Hiram College recognizes the dedication and service of our faculty with the presentation of the Paul E. Martin Awards. The achievements of our faculty represent their passion for educating others and expertise within their field.

The Paul E. Martin Award is given to faculty members who have made outstanding contributions to Hiram College’s academic programs by introducing diversity in educational life and faculty teaching models during the preceding year. Made possible by an endowment gift established by Paul Martin in 1990, the award provides faculty with a stipend that can be used for future professional development. 

This year’s Paul E. Martin award recipients included:
Cathy Erbes
Cathy Erbes, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics  

Cathy Erbes is an exemplar of service at the College, recently ending a long tenure leading the Academic Review Board, serving as a key member on NC4, and providing great leadership in accreditation work with the Higher Learning Commission. Her work in the classroom is just as impressive. Erbes works to maintain math offerings at the College, teaching key courses for students across the sciences like calculus, discrete mathematics, and linear algebra. She also supervises our statistical offerings, including traveling to observe our College Credit Plus faculty. She is continually innovative in her teaching, this past year experimenting with oral examinations, which she felt allowed her to better gage student comprehension of conceptual material early in the semester. Finally, Erbes has been accepted to work on the National Science Foundation grant on “Framing Mathematics as a Foundation for Ethical STEM,” a three-year commitment to develop and disseminate course materials incorporating ethical decision-making into mathematics education.  

Laci Fiala
Laci Fiala, Ph.D., director of the eclectic scholars honors program, assistant professor of criminal justice and sociology  

In many ways, it is hard to believe that Laci Fiala has only been at Hiram since the fall of 2021. Since arriving, she has hit the ground running, working to support a robust criminal justice major, taking on a tremendous teaching and advising load, and serving as director of the Eclectic Scholars Honors Program. Laci has already proven herself an indispensable member of the assessment committee and the Higher Learning Committee Assessment Academy team, providing thoughtful insight and careful use of statistical analysis for the benefit of the College and our accreditation efforts. Fiala is also dedicated to her scholarship goals in the area of Millennial Financial Management Behavior.  

Annie Matz, M.S.N., R.N.
Annie Matz, M.S.N., R.N., instructor of nursing  

While it’s clear that student care is a daily practice at Hiram, Annie Matz takes that principle to another level with her work in the nursing department. Annie works with students to develop educational and mentoring plans based on their career goals and personal interests. She spends hours outside of class time working with nursing students to improve their skills. She works as simulation lab coordinator and oversees adjunct clinical faculty for Fundamentals of Professional Nursing. In the classroom, she is responsive to student feedback, going so far as to move some lectures into lab space so that students can see skills actively demonstrated as they are being explained. As with all our nursing faculty, Matz maintained her critical nursing skills through continuing nursing education credits, keeping her up to date on practice standards–which she then shares with her students. She has served as an advisor for the Hiram Student Nurses Association, as well as on the study away committee. 

Courtney Mauck
Courtney Mauck, Ph.D., director of writing across the curriculum, assistant professor of English

In her first year at Hiram, Mauck made significant inroads in the first-year program and Writing Center. She has redesigned what was the basic exposition course curriculum to a transition to college writing model and significantly changed the course structure. She instituted broader schedules in the Writing Center and worked to provide numerous faculty workshops on writing pedagogy. She has worked diligently to ensure that the Writing Center works in coordination with Student Academic Support tutoring and athletics. In addition, Mauck published an article on Multimodal Assignments and has another article in revision, along with two external conference presentations.  

Romeva Precela
Romeva Prcela, M.S., assistant professor of accounting  

Romeva Prcela is known for her steadfast dedication to her students and to the accounting department. In the past year, she has taken up teaching advanced accounting, as well as taking on a heavy advising load. Prcela has recently focused on developing her courses to address what she saw as a disconnect between the skills practiced in classes and the real-world applications tied to those skills. To address this, she instituted daily case studies in managerial accounting, and developed a webcast assignment in her federal tax group project, a change that asked students to educate the listeners on the implications of tax law. Prcela has been working to incorporate data analytics skills and assignments into her coursework, meeting a need that she sees will be more and more essential for graduates moving forward. Prcela was selected to present on Developing Oral Communication Skills for Accounting Majors at the AAA Conference on Teaching and Learning in Accounting.

Hailee Yoshizaki-Gibbons, Ph.D.
Hailee Yoshizaki-Gibbons, Ph.D., assistant professor of biomedical humanities  

When we think about faculty who are everywhere on campus, Hailee Yoshizaki-Gibbons is among the first to come to mind. She serves on the CARE team, the Enrollment Task Force, the Diversity Committee, and as an advisor to PRYSM. She is a dedicated teacher and advisor, team-teaching four courses through the fall and spring of 2022 and 2023, including a new course, and managing a large advising load in biomedical humanities. She’s an innovative teacher, working last year to incorporate information on collaborative note taking and using Padlet to allow students to share their responses to course questions and needs.  While doing all this, Yoshizaki-Gibbons has managed a robust publication agenda. She has been working on the publication of two peer reviewed articles regarding disability justice and the care, confinement, life, and death cycle during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

By Taylor Cook