Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Faculty honored with teaching awards at Lycoming College Honors Convocation

Faculty honored with teaching awards at Lycoming College Honors Convocation

(l-r) Phil Sprunger, Ph.D., provost; Hickoff-Cresko; Zajack; Kent Trachte, Ph.D., president

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Two members of the Lycoming College faculty were recognized for teaching excellence at the annual Lycoming College Honors Convocation, held on Sunday, April 21, at Williamsport’s Community Arts Center.

Plankenhorn Alumni Award for Faculty Excellence

The 2024 Plankenhorn Alumni Award for Faculty Excellence was presented to Rachel Hickoff-Cresko, Ed.D., associate professor of education and chair of the department.

Hickoff-Cresko has taught for twenty-six years and spent the first half of her career teaching in a large, under-resourced, public school setting. Her research interests include sources and development of reading self-efficacy, the education of historically-underserved students, and teacher preparation. Hickoff-Cresko has presented at international, national, and regional conferences, including conferences for the International Literacy Association, the Association for Middle Level Education, the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division of Early Childhood, and the Keystone State Literacy Association. Hickoff-Cresko serves as the Pennsylvania state representative for the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education.

Hickoff-Cresko earned a doctor of education degree with a specialization in reading and language arts from Widener University. She has a master’s of education specializing in teaching English learners from Universidad del Turabo, and a bachelor’s degree, a reading specialist certification, and elementary and special education certifications from Kutztown University. She is a fellow of the National Writing Project and a previous Fulbright-Hays Scholar.

Junior Faculty Teaching Award

Mark Zajack, Ph.D., assistant professor of business administration, was awarded the 2024 Junior Faculty Teaching Award. His work focuses on management and organizational behavior.

In addition to teaching introductory management and organizational behavior, Zajack teaches upper-level courses, including decision making, quantitative research methods, and leadership in theory and practice. He also leads seminars on stress and resilience at work for Lycoming’s Institute of Management Studies.

Combining his interests in work performance, organizational decision making, and statistics, Zajack studies sports via what is often referred to as a “Moneyball” approach. By quantitatively analyzing team and player performance, he uses predictive models to teach students about data-driven decisions and the perils of cognitive biases.

His interest in exploring innovative teaching methods has led him to present at the National Institute of the Teaching of Psychology and the Society for the Teaching of Psychology conferences. His teaching is informed by 10+ years of corporate experience in employee development. He continues to work with organizations on leadership, motivation, and stress-resilience programs.

Zajack earned a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University, a master’s degree from San Jose State University, and a doctoral degree from Clemson University.

Lycoming College’s talented and committed professors continue to add to the culture of student learning while advancing the College’s goal of offering a 21st-century liberal arts education.