College of Education celebrates faculty and staff success at award ceremony

Washington State University logo.

At its all-college meeting on May 1, Washington State University’s College of Education recognized the excellence of faculty and staff with its annual awards.


Faculty Excellence: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Closeup of Kunter Gunasti.

Chris Connolly

Department of Kinesiology and Educational Psychology

Chris Connolly is an associate professor of kinesiology. Since joining the College of Education in 2014, Connolly has valued diversity, equity, and inclusion. However, a trio of nominators for this year’s award cited Connolly’s ability to respond to an issue that arose last year, helping other faculty develop a program DEI committee and taking substantive action to eliminating these types of negatives experiences in the future. These efforts included spearheading grant proposals for DEI initiatives, implementing assessment tools to measure students’ sense of belonging in the program, as well as enacting bystander training with both graduate and undergraduate students.


Faculty Excellence: Service

Closeup of Kunter Gunasti.

John Mancinelli

Department of Educational Leadership and Sport Management

John Mancinelli has more than 30 years of experience as a teacher and administrator in the K-12 and university systems. In addition to being faculty in educational leadership at WSU Tri-Cities, he serves as the College of Education’s field services director on that campus. He was lauded by nominator Judy Morrison for “fulfilling the outreach mission of WSU with service that has encompassed program support, ensured student success, and has built and extended community partnerships and collaboration. WSU Tri-Cities serves a large number of school districts and Mancinelli has regularly placed around 150 students for student teaching, working with 28 school districts and 20 or more supervisors each year.


Faculty Excellence: Research

Closeup of Kunter Gunasti.

Holly Whittenburg

Department of Teaching and Learning

Coming to the College of Education in fall 2020 as an assistant professor of special education, Holly Whittenburg immediately showed herself as a top-notch researcher, focusing on improving employment outcomes for students with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability. Since that time, she has published more than 16 peer-reviewed journal articles and four book chapters and has sustained four years of continuous funding within the college, totaling more than $3.5 million. In her nomination, associate professor Marcus Poppen wrote: “Her research directly impacts the lives of young adults with disabilities and supports systems and policy change. I believe her contributions to the field are significant.”


Faculty Excellence: Teaching

Closeup of Kunter Gunasti.

Chad Gotch

Department of Kinesiology and Educational Psychology

Chad Gotch is an associate professor in educational psychology. He has been on the Palouse for years and a faculty member with the College of Education since he earned his Ph.D. from the college in 2012. Widely recognized as a flexible, student-centered educator who adapts his instruction to the tasks students will face in their future career, one student commented: “He was given the task to teach elementary education students about assessments, a rather boring, dry subject. He turned this into a class where I felt comfortable to share thoughts and ideas as well as a phenomenal job of facilitating learning in his classroom.”


Staff Excellence: Service

Closeup of Kunter Gunasti.

Corrie McGrath

Academic Advisor: Sport Management

Corrie McGrath came to WSU as a sport management graduate student in 2015. Her value to the program was evident from the start and when given the chance to join the College of Education’s Office of Undergraduate Student Services as an advisor to sport management students, she took it. Student Kinsey Kallaher wrote her support in the nomination: “It is apparent Corrie wants students to thrive during our time on campus and post-graduation.” In her role, she advises more than 340 students and is advisor for the Sport Management Club. Department chair Katherine Rodela said McGrath is able to bring a much needed, student-centric approach to meets where McGrath may be the only staff member present among a slew of faculty. “While I have known Corrie for many years as a fellow colleague in the college, I truly did not understand the true scope and impact of her work and leadership until becoming department chair this year.”


Staff Excellence: Service

Closeup of Kunter Gunasti.

C. Brandon Chapman

Director of Marketing and Communications

Brandon Chapman is closing in on 11 years as the College of Education’s director of marketing and communications. In his nomination, associate professor Don McMahon cited Chapman’s work within the college in supporting the WSU ROAR program, Three Minute Thesis, leading visiting groups on campus tours, helping students in Cleveland Hall on the first few days of every semester to find their classes, and contributing an overall welcoming and well-maintained environment. Chapman has also been heavily involved in several town-gown, civic group, and community events. McMahon: “Mr. Chapman’s role extends far beyond his official title, demonstrating an unparalleled level of job proficiency and leadership. Notably, his leadership in the marketing and communications domain has elevated our college’s visibility and reputation, both internally and externally.”

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