MCLA Announces Faculty Promotions


 NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) recently granted tenure to three of its faculty, and has promoted two faculty members to associate professor and three to full professor.

Faculty who received tenure this fall are Dr. Michael Dilthey, who also was promoted to the rank of associate professor of fine and performing arts, specializing in music; Dr. Dale Fink, an assistant professor of education; and Dr. Elena Traister, an assistant professor of environmental science.

Promoted to full professors are Dr. Maria Bartini in the psychology department, Dr. Michael Birch in the English/communications department, and Prof. Gregory Scheckler, a visual artist in the fine and performing arts department.

In addition, Dr. Anthony Daly of the History, Political Science and Public Policy Department was promoted to associate professor.

MCLA President Mary K. Grant said she was very pleased to support the faculty members in their promotions on campus.

"All of these educators have compiled strong records in teaching, service, and contributions to their disciplines, and are involved and concerned members of our community," Grant said. "Recognized for their excellent work by their colleagues, these faculty members have much to offer in the years ahead. We are fortunate to have expert faculty with a wide range of talents and diverse strengths to support and engage our students."

At MCLA since 2001, Bartini's research includes a focus on bullying and aggression in children and adolescents, and she has worked on developing intervention strategies to reduce these behaviors.

Bartini regularly conducts research with her students. She has mentored five students who presented at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research, and more than 30 who have presented at MCLA's own Undergraduate Research Conference.

A campus leader in developing undergraduate research opportunities, Bartini chaired the URC from 2005 to 2009, and following her sabbatical stepped back into this role. She recently published two articles in peer-reviewed journals and presented at nine regional or national professional conferences.

Birch joined MCLA in 2002. He recently published "Mediating Mental Health: Contexts, Debates and Analysis," and has served on the Academic Technology Advisory Group (ATAG) since 2004, which produced some influential work in planning for the longer-term needs of academic technology at the College.

He also served on the Honors Advisory Board, Curriculum Committee, and twice on All College Committee.

Daly, who joined MCLA in 2006, has a particular interest in Irish history. An avid supporter of undergraduate research, he has co-chaired the annual Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) and playing a critical role in helping to make the URC a campus-wide day of engagement.

Daly's service on campus includes work on the Faculty Research and Curriculum Awards committees, the Institutional Review Board and the President's Athletics Advisory Council. He serves as the advisor to the History Society and works extensively on advising within the department.

Dilthey, who came to MCLA in 2008, is an active composer with a particular focus on opera His compositions have been performed by professional musicians and he is an accomplished organist and piano player.

He is the music director of St. Elizabeth's Church in North Adams and for many years has participated in the Summit Music Festival during the summer. His paper, "The New Music Student: Music Teaching in a Liberal Arts Education," was accepted for presentation at two international conferences.

His service to the College includes chairing Academic Policies Committee and has included membership on the College's Curriculum Committee and All College Committee. He also participated in the Academic Technology Advisory Group and chaired FPA's Curriculum Committee.

Fink's scholarship includes work on a project examining the denial of recess in schools as a form of behavior modification. He is expanding the focus of this interest to look at recess in a broader context of adding to curriculum, and potential curriculum, in schools.

At MCLA, he examined the early childhood program - including planning, marketing and implementing two STEM modules for early educators, co- designing a new interdisciplinary studies concentration in early childhood education, and intensive networking throughout the county with providers and early educators.

His service to the College includes work with the Graduate Curriculum Committee, the Graduate Education Committee, the Faculty Incentive Awards Committee and the Faculty Incentive Awards selection committee. He also was elected to the executive committee of the campus chapter of the faculty union.

Fink's community contributions include ongoing participation in the Northern Berkshires Childcare Partnerships and participating in statewide meetings and conferences on early childhood education.

Scheckler, who came to MCLA in 2000, is a teaching artist who has provided courses from the introductory to the advanced levels. He has supervised many arts internships at regional museums.

Scheckler also founded the college's new art major, and aided the building of the new arts management major, both of which were implemented in 2008 and 2007 respectively. He served as coordinator of art programs until 2011. Scheckler served on the All-College Committee, the College Curriculum Committee, and on MCLA's Strategic Planning Committee. He was interim chair of the Fine and Performing Arts Department in summer and fall 2007 and has served on numerous college personnel searches. Externally, Scheckler has served on the MCLA Gallery 51 Arts Advisory Panel, and on Northern Berkshires Creative Arts, among other commitments.

Also a working artist, Scheckler has had shows at the local, national and international levels and created a body of work impressive in its scope and size, according to Grant. His work includes a commemorative show, "Remixed Messages," in MCLA Gallery 51, which marked his 100th gallery presentation, in September 2011. In December he will have a solo exhibit at the Bennington Museum, and then in Spring another show at the Soo Rye Gallery in New Hampshire.

Traister's research includes that on biotic stream communities, stream recovery and macroinvertebrates in streams. The recipient of a Faculty Incentive Award for her work in 2009-2010, her students participate in multiple service learning and experiential opportunities.

She also was a recipient of the prestigious Switzer Environmental Fellowship in 2008, which provided her with a stipend and continuing networking opportunities, and created the Green Living Series, which is open to the public.

At MCLA, she participated on the Curriculum Committee, Sustainability Committee and the Service Learning Operations Committee. She has represented the College and the environmental studies program at Open House and summer registration day, as well as New England Campus Compact Day.

In the wider community, Traister has worked with the Hoosic River Watershed Association, and on the Steering Committee for the Hoosic River Revival project, focused in North Adams. She continues to be involved with the Massachusetts Riverway Program, the Friends of Pontoosuc Lake and the Berkshire Community College Environmental Studies Advisory Board

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