“I was honored when I first heard that I had been selected for this prestigious award and the recognition by colleagues and students,” said adjunct faculty member Ron Signore who recently won the CSU Faculty Service Award. “It is times like this that make it all worthwhile and something you can’t put a price on.”
The award, which is given twice a year, recognizes faculty members, both adjunct and full-time faculty, who provide exceptional service to their students, to CSU, to their community, or to the profession in which they are engaged. Nominations may be made by any faculty members (including nominee), current or former students, or peers and supervisors from the nominee’s professional life.
Signore received several nominations, with one person noting, “he is an asset to CSU and has been for longer than most.” Signore teaches human resource management and human relations and development in the College of Business where he also received praise from Undergraduate Chair Sonya Rogers.
“He is respected by his students for being dedicated to his work, timely in his responses, and easy to work with,” she said.
Signore, who has taught at CSU since 2000, said his teaching method is heavily influenced by one of his graduate professors who believed in the “Socratic” method of learning.
“Socrates challenged his students to dig deep enough to learn and master topics to a point where they felt comfortable teaching it themselves. I set them up for success by providing as many tools and as much information possible to help them be successful. They know what is expected the first day and challenged to meet those expectations and standards by emphasizing critical thinking and analysis and applying it to what they read and learn from research, the material, and textbooks,” he explained.
The retired Naval command master chief added, “When I see a student be successful, it makes all the effort and sweat, especially on Wednesdays worthwhile. This is especially reinforced in week 8 discussion boards and when a student takes the time to send me a personal email thanking me for challenging him and forcing him to dig deeper and use critical thinking.”
Signore’s passion for teaching began in his youth. “I began my college career in the late 1960s with teaching as the goal, but the draft and financial issues changed those plans,” he said.
“I was fortunate to be able to pursue them in the military through instructor training and teaching courses earning the military training certifications and specialties. I felt comfortable in the classroom and teaching adult learners who are like sponges just absorbing everything and enjoying it,” he said.
His military background has been an asset to his work at CSU as it gives him insight and credibility with students.
“I would say that nearly half, possibly more, of my students are active-duty military, retirees, or veterans so my background helps me easily related to what they are experiencing balancing their military careers, family responsibilities, and educational pursuits during off-duty hours,” Signore said. “I was there and did it so I can be more sensitive to their needs and challenges than someone who might not be able to visualize what it is like being at sea or on the ground on a deployment.”
His transition from military to a civilian career in teaching human resource management was not difficult. “After reaching the rank of E-7 and above, you transition into management and leadership that is fairly similar in duties and responsibilities to human resource management. In many cases, the work is identical although it has different terminology and jargon. The bottom line: HR is about people and I love working with people.”
Signore’s love for his work at CSU is based on the university’s “honest and sincere commitment to the students and only goal of helping them.”
He added, “That same type of commitment is evident from the person at the reception desk up to and including the president of the university. The best customer service and support of any organization I have ever had the pleasure of being part of or experienced.”
For those thinking about pursuing a career in online teaching, this Faculty Service Award winner says to remember where you came from, especially the challenges and frustrations you faced as a college student and don’t make those kinds of mistakes with students.
“Always have the best interest of your students in mind with everything you do to help them be successful and be available to them more than just once per day or office hours. Don’t be afraid to reach out to those students who are struggling and might be embarrassed or hesitant to seek out help,” Signore advised.
“Finally, have thick skin and never take anything personal, always staying professional and remembering that students who struggle can easily become frustrated. You need to focus on helping them and not take anything personal when interacting with them.”