University of Phoenix Honors Faculty of the Year

SAN DIEGO - The University of Phoenix San Diego Campus not only celebrated the accomplishments of 700 graduates at their 2009 Commencement Exercises on Sat., April 25, but also honored local business leaders and professionals as Faculty Members of the Year. Honorees are nominated by fellow faculty members, students and staff from the San Diego Campus, from learning centers in Chula Vista, Downtown San Diego, Kearny Mesa, San Marcos, Palm Desert and El Centro.

For the Criminal Justice Program, Sandra Rapalee is the 2009 Faculty Member of the Year. Rapalee is a San Diego Police Internal Affairs Investigative Sergeant. "Rapalee is very detailed with class interactions and presentations," remarked one student. "Her feedback on individual papers and group assignments were supportive and made learning the curriculum easier. Having a multi-degreed professional from the law enforcement career field makes the learning experience three-dimensional."

For the College of Nursing, Dr. Beverly Peterson is the 2009 Faculty Member of the Year. Dr. Peterson has been a faculty member of University of Phoenix since 1995. In addition to teaching in the College of Nursing, Beverly also teaches in the College of Health and Human Services. One student comment stated, "Beverly is an amazing well-educated nurse who had me on the edge of my seat wanting to learn more and get out in the world and advocate for nursing. I hope to one day teach as she has taught me. She has had not only me but my colleagues mesmerized from the beginning of the class right down to the end of class." Another student wrote, "This instructor has inspired me to become a better nurse." Dr. Peterson is a Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist and Psychotherapist in private practice in Cardiff by the Sea, Calif.

A resident of La Mesa, Calif., Pamela Hardy is the 2009 Faculty Member of the Year for the College of Human Services. Hardy, who is a consultant with First Step Consulting, Inc., is passionate and educates through sharing her knowledge, experience and examples which creates a contagious energy that her students cannot help but catch. "(She) is great," says one student. "She had me doing things I didn't know I was capable of."

Michael Reina, a marriage and family therapist, was named 2009 Faculty Member of the Year for the College of Human Services. Reina's end-of-course surveys submitted by students are always glowing and many students express a desire to have him in future courses. "Mr. Michael Reina is an excellent instructor, he explains the course in detail and makes the class very interesting as well. He provides really good feedback. I recommend him to everyone," says one student. Reina is a resident of San Diego.

The Faculty Member of the Year for the Colleges of Arts and Sciences is Ellen Polen. "Polen was my instructor and...I'm actually sad to move on to a different class," said one student comment from the surveys. "I really enjoyed being in her class and learned a lot about American Popular Culture." In addition to teaching at the University of Phoenix, Polen is an independent defense acquisition and training consultant and a resident of San Diego.

Carlsbad resident Tony Vianna is the Faculty Member of the Year for the College of Undergraduate Business and Management Program. Vianna's passion for teaching is seen by his dedication to his students. He takes a human interest in their progress and sees to it that he is a lifelong resource to our students. He will review resumes and run mock interviews for students seeking to put their degrees to use. Vianna offers consistent guidance and unselfish support to students inside the classroom and out.

David Sarnowski is the Faculty Member of the Year for the College of Graduate Business and Management. Sarnowski joined the University of Phoenix in 1999. Since that time, he has taught across colleges and, in the business school, he has taught marketing and communications courses. Sarnowski is known for the manner in which he carefully organizes his workshops, providing class to class consistency in his guidance of the learning process. As a result, he repeatedly receives 100% ratings on Student End of Course Surveys. Throughout the year, he has also volunteered to help promote student activities and workshops, lending his marketing skills to make sure our students enrich their educational experience with events such as Career Workshops, Global Management Workshops, and the Economic Summit. His quiet support of others has earned him this recognition. Perhaps one student said it best when he noted in his End of Course Survey, "Thank goodness for the instructor!" Sarnowski, a marketing and operations vice president at Reliant General, a property and casualty insurance organization in Rancho Bernardo. He also resides in the Rancho Bernardo community of San Diego.

For the College of Education, Ron Cordell is the 2009 Faculty Member of the Year. Cordell exemplifies his profession, that of an excellent teacher. His acknowledgements and critiques, whether positive or not, are carefully crafted to instill the needed desire to move towards professional behavior in the classroom. One student said, " Mr. Cordell is the professional I want to be." Cordell is a guidance counselor at Aviara Middle School in the Carlsbad Unified School District.

University of Phoenix, which has served working adults for 33 years, has made its mission to remove barriers to education for busy adults by providing accessible scheduling and rigorous degree programs centered on professional goals. The University is the largest private accredited university in North America and is owned by parent company Apollo Group, Inc. As of February 28, 2006, 310,800 students attend Apollo Group, Inc., institutions. The University's focus on small interactive classes, highly personalized teaching and comprehensive academic accountability systems has won praise and recognition by noteworthy academic and business leaders. The University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association.

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