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St. Bonaventure professors Hoffmann and Brown honored by peers with professional excellence awards

Apr 28, 2023

In the photo: Professional Excellence awards are presented to Dr. Pauline Hoffmann (left) and Dr. Adam Brown by St. Bonaventure University President Dr. Jeff Gingerich.

Hoffmann and Brown with Gingerich for webTwo St. Bonaventure University professors have been honored by their colleagues with awards of excellence for the 2022-23 academic year.

Dr. Pauline Hoffmann, associate professor of communication, was awarded the Professional Excellence in Community Service Award, while Dr. Adam Brown, professor of elementary education, was awarded the university’s Professional Excellence in Teaching Award. 
They were recognized at the university’s Staff & Faculty Excellence Awards program held Thursday, April 27, in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on campus.
Hoffmann was nominated by a number of her colleagues for the Professional Excellence in Community Service Award, including Dr. Denny Wilkins, professor of journalism, who cited Hoffmann’s long-held commitment to helping others.
“Dr. Hoffmann’s life has been filled with community service at local, regional, and global levels,” Wilkins said. “She has a lengthy history of belief in sharing her time and talents in service of others.”
Another colleague, Dr. Mary Rose Kubal, associate professor of political science, cited Hoffmann’s service to the Western New York Faculty Coalition in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic when several regional colleges dismissed tenured faculty without demonstrating true financial exigency. “Pauline was instrumental in helping us get the word out, designing our webpage and coordinating press releases and a media strategy,” Kubal said.
Impressed with Hoffmann’s work with the coalition, Kubal recruited her to serve as the first communication director of the New York State Conference of the American Association of University Professors, a volunteer position. “Pauline created a communication plan for our organization, set up a press release system and coordinated several press releases for us,” Kubal said.
Dr. Robin Maria Valeri, professor of psychology, cited Hoffmann’s efforts to debunk misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic when she authored or co-authored columns in regional newspapers that addressed misperceptions about the virus.
Hoffmann would go on to start the podcast and associated blog/website Data Doyenne and a newsletter, WTF (What the Facts?), that “help people better understand science and data, learn how to separate fact from fiction, and to communicate more compassionately and effectively with people who hold opposing views,” Valeri said.
Hoffmann has put her communication skills to work as publicity chair of the Zonta Club of Olean, a chapter of Zonta International, a leading global organization of professionals empowering women through service and advocacy. She designed and created the club’s website and started its Instagram account. Through Zonta, she is mentoring a young woman in Germany.
“Pauline’s commitment to our work has been evident since day one,” said Ann Marie Sitter-Tompkins, Zonta Club member and former president. “She is impacting not only women in the community where she lives and works, but internationally.”
Hoffmann served as dean of St. Bonaventure’s Jandoli School of Communication from 2012 to 2017 and is a former dean of the university’s School of Graduate Studies. She is a member of the National Public Health Information Coalition, the international Society for Infodemic Management, and secretary of the Healthy Community Alliance Board. 
She is a founding member of Embrace it Africa, an organization that helps drive sustainable economic growth in the Kyotera District of Uganda, and a founding member of March Into Women’s History, a group that raises awareness of issues facing women.
Hoffmann formerly served as president of the Buffalo Niagara Chapter of New York State Women, Inc., as a member of the American Association of University Women, and as a long-time member of the International Communication Association.
Hoffmann earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure, with a major in biology and a minor in communication, and a master’s and Ph.D. in communication from the University at Buffalo. She has been teaching at St. Bonaventure since 2006.
Brown’s nomination for teaching excellence was advanced by a number of his faculty colleagues and students.
Dr. René Hauser, dean of the School of Education, said Brown has “a contagious passion for teaching and strives to be the best that he can be,” adding that students consistently give him high marks in course evaluations: “The delivery of the content was intriguing and fun,” wrote one student; “Thank you for teaching with great passion and skill,” wrote another; “He brings so much energy and life into any classroom he teachers and makes you excited to learn,” added a third.
In the classroom, Brown “bases everything he does on research, and not just on what makes him comfortable or what he thinks might work,” Hauser said. He is a founding member and co-director of the Center for Attention, Learning and Memory, which involves student researchers in its work and has delivered more than 20 presentations to the university community.
Brown has taught more than 30 courses in his tenure at St. Bonaventure, developing syllabi for each one as well as course materials that incorporate research-based practices. “He continuously updates his courses to incorporate updated research and meet the changing needs of the students,” Hauser added.
Dr. Charles Walker, professor emeritus in psychology, called Brown “an exemplary teacher,” noting that students seek his guidance with Honors projects and that “often the result of their work is presented at conferences.”
Dr. Heather McDivitt, a philosophy lecturer and co-director of the Honors Program, said Brown’s Honors courses in Human Development and Learning, and Special Topics: Pregnancy are popular with Honors students not because they are easy, but because they are rigorous.
Brown serves on the Honors Council, helps design Honors classes and course syllabi and advises other faculty on class activities and assessment. “His excellence in teaching can be seen in the classroom and in the way he mentors, encourages, and nurtures students throughout the process of completing their projects. He wants students to work hard and get a lot out of the Honors project process,” McDivitt said.
Natalie Watkowski, a 2022 St. Bonaventure graduate, served as Brown’s research assistant with St. Bonaventure’s Consortium for the Study of Pregnancy & Prenatal Development, which Brown co-founded. Watkowski credits the experience with helping her land her present role as perinatal care coordinator with the Deschutes County (Oregon) Health Department. “He has always been supportive of my career ambitions and was one of the catalysts that pushed me into going farther out of my comfort zone to become my best self,” she said.
Brown earned a bachelor’s degree with majors in psychology and philosophy from SUNY Fredonia. He received a master’s in educational psychology and statistics, and a Ph.D. from SUNY Albany. Prior to his arrival at St. Bonaventure in 2000-2001 he taught at the State University of New York College at Buffalo, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Fredonia and SUNY Albany.
Brown serves the university as a member of the Visiting Scholars Committee, the Tenure and Promotion Committee, the Executive Athletics Compliance Committee, the Individualized Major Program Committee, and committees ensuring university and School of Education compliance with national accrediting councils and commissions. 
Brown is also the co-founder of Science on Tap, a popular program that brings science out of the classroom and into the community with regular science-related presentations at Four Mile Brewing in Olean.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. St. Bonaventure was named the #5 regional university value in the North in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 college rankings edition.