University celebrates teaching, service to students
October 19, 2021
Centers and Institutes
The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Service to Students recognizes the exemplary work of our faculty and staff who bring to life the vision and strategic plan of Quinnipiac.
Support and celebrate excellence
The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Service to Students recognizes the exemplary work of our faculty and staff at Quinnipiac University. Each year, six distinguished members of our community are honored for their dedication to students and their significant contributions to Quinnipiac's evolution as the University of the Future.
The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Service to Students serves an important role in supporting President Judy Olian’s strategic plan and its four pillars — to build an institution-wide mindset that prepares graduates for 21st-century careers and leadership; to create an inclusive, excellence-driven community; to nurture and positively impact internal, local and global communities; and to foster lifelong connections and success.
To this end, the Excellence in Teaching Award and the Excellence in Service to Students Award reflect the highest professional standards at Quinnipiac. The university holds a formal celebration each fall to honor the recipients.
October 19, 2021
Professor Deanna Proulx-Sepelak, MHA, OTR/L is a clinical professor and director of the dual-degree bachelor of science/master of occupational therapy program at Quinnipiac. She is a 2021 recipient of the Excellence in Teaching award. Proulx-Sepelak has been affiliated with Quinnipiac for the last 30 years in roles including as an undergraduate and graduate student, part-time instructor, clinical coordinator, full-time faculty and assistant dean for the School of Health Sciences. One of Proulx-Sepelak’s nominees shared: “She is hands down the absolute best professor” and commended Proulx-Sepelak's ability to put content into context and real-life situations. Proulx-Sepelak is recognized for going above and beyond to help any student who needs extra assistance, especially during the challenging months of the pandemic. Proulx-Sepelak earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Quinnipiac.
Jose Riofrio, associate teaching professor of mechanical engineering, joined Quinnipiac in 2015. He is a 2021 recipient of the Excellence in Teaching award. His nominators described him as an enthusiastic, energetic, funny and knowledgeable professor. He is recognized for his engagement and extraordinary commitment to helping students learn even the most difficult content. One student nominator noted that Riofrio’s projects were always something interesting (musical arduinos, spinning encoders, or fancy LEDs) and the labs never felt like work, but more like “adult recess,” where they learned about circuits. Riofrio earned a bachelor’s from Elizabethtown College and a master’s and a PhD from Vanderbilt University.
Thomas Army, a part-time professor of history, joined the College of Arts and Sciences in 2017. Army is noted for his willingness to talk about all aspects of our country’s history, even the “difficult” parts. He is credited with giving voice to stories that often go voiceless in the textbooks and curriculum. On the first day of class, Army said that he hoped the class would change lives — or at the very least he hoped students would develop a deeper appreciation of connecting with the past. A student nominator noted that Army “didn't just make us actually excited to go to an introductory level history class... he really did change our lives, and I know that his teaching will change history because of what he taught us.” Army earned a PhD from the University of Massachusetts.
Mike Medina began his career at Quinnipiac in July 2004 as an assistant director for intramurals, and is currently the director of campus life for recreation. Medina has been selected as a recipient of the Center for Excellence in Service to Students award for his work establishing and growing club sports at Quinnipiac — and for the inspiration he provides to our students. He is described as professional, kind, dedicated and helpful by those who nominated him. Medina earned a master of business administration from Quinnipiac, a master’s degree in journalism from Northeast University and a bachelor of science degree in broadcast journalism from University of Maryland College Park.
Laura Mutrie, director of field education and clinical assistant professor in the masters of social work program, began her career at Quinnipiac in February 2013. Mutrie has been selected as a 2021 Center for Excellence in Service to Students recipient. Mutrie has expertise in the use of simulation in social work education and inter-professional education. She has been commended for her dedication to the well-being of our students. Mutrie has used her clinical expertise and extensive network of community agencies and social work professionals to locate field experiences that meet our students’ needs and professional goals. She works collaboratively with faculty field liaisons to support students and troubleshoot difficulties when they arise. She is credited with recognizing our students’ strengths, supporting their goals and personal and professional growth, and providing students with flexibility and empathy. Mutrie earned a bachelor's degree from Fairfield University and a master’s of social work from Fordham University.
Jill Martin, professor of legal studies, began her career at Quinnipiac in 1985. Martin is a 2021 recipient of the Service to Students awards for her unyielding dedication to the university. Martin’s careful organization of the annual holiday dinner, a tradition she established at Quinnipiac in 1985 where faculty, staff and administrators serve undergraduates holiday dinner — with all the fixings. Martin has also been recognized for her work as chair of legal studies for 34 years and as a long-time faculty adviser for several women’s sports teams, including ice hockey and softball. She earned the James Marshall Award for Outstanding Service to the Quinnipiac community from the Faculty Senate in 2003. One nominator noted, “Jill is an advocate, in the best sense of the word, for the students and faculty in our department.” Martin earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Keuka College, a master’s degree in history from Yale University and a JD from Albany Law School, Union University.
We believe education doesn’t begin and end inside the classroom. We live in an increasingly diverse and complex world that demands the knowledge, collaboration and empathy required to deliver meaningful impact.
Whether it’s turning ideas into viable business applications, or digging through human history by analyzing ancient artifacts, each of our centers and institutes pairs our students and faculty to transform academic theory into real-world solutions.
Our broad liberal arts core complements deep expertise across more than 100 degree programs to provide an education that equips you for an extraordinary career. Whether you are in high school and ready to pursue your undergraduate degree, currently in the workforce and looking to advance your career through one of our graduate programs or have ambitions of becoming a lawyer or doctor, we have the schools, programs and faculty that will help unlock your potential.