DUNMORE, Pa. — Janet Melnick, teaching professor and program coordinator of human development and family studies at Penn State Scranton, was recently awarded the University College Faculty Service Award (UCFSA).
When Melnick received the news that she was this year’s University-wide award winner, she said she was surprised and also “extremely honored as well, given the caliber of the other nominees.”
As a social worker by profession and a college professor, service is the bedrock of who she is and what she does, said Melnick.
“Helping others, in whatever capacity, is why I became a social worker,” Melnick said. “I believe in giving back for the many blessings I have, whether that is in my professional or personal life.”
The UCFSA is an inclusive award that is presented to a faculty member in recognition of overall excellence in service in more than one category of the following:
- Service to the campus
- Service to the college
- Service to the University
- Service to the discipline and profession
- Service to society as a representative of the University
- Service to the student body through advising and student affairs activities
Melnick will receive a plaque and a stipend in the amount of $1,000.
“Professionally, I am the highest level I can go for promotion at the teaching professor level, so it is just more about giving back then looking at how it can help me, although there is a service component in our annual reviews so continued service will help me in that regard,” Melnick said.
Since joining Penn State Scranton in 2000, Melnick has grown in service in all six categories, making her a significant recipient of this award.
Service to the campus
Melnick is an active member on campus and has held various positions throughout her years working at Penn State Scranton, including secretary, vice chair and chair for the campus’ Faculty Senate. She was also instrumental in the development of both the HDFS and psychology majors, as well as the development and administration of the Child Maltreatment and Advocacy Studies minor program, for which she is also program coordinator.
Melnick has participated in numerous faculty and administrative searches, promotion committees and chaired the committee that developed the non-tenure track faculty promotion guidelines for the campus.
She also has a love for singing — which she shares as part of the campus chorale’s music program, where she takes the stage each semester for its holiday and spring concerts, she said. She is also an active member of the campus’ Diversity Council and has served as its past chair.
Service to Penn State
An active participant in the HDFS University College Faculty Committee, Melnick has helped coordinate its annual meeting and the internship part of the program, and is also the University College HDFS representative to the University Park HDFS Program Planning, Development and Evaluation Committee.
She also developed four courses, including the development of syllabi, for the bachelor’s degree of social work (BSW) program at Penn State Greater Allegheny, for which she was a proposal reviewer for the development of this new major. She also developed an elder-abuse prevention training program for HDFS at University Park.
In addition, she has been a reviewer on many faculty promotion committees and pre-reviewed a large number of faculty dossiers prior to submission for promotion; served as an HDFS reviewer for transfer courses in the CSRS system; and served as a University consultant on the development of a master’s degree in social work for Penn State’s World Campus. This has involved developing the program from the ground up including consulting on the Council on Social Work Education’s Accreditation process, hiring faculty and curriculum development, according to Melnick.
Service to society
Melnick stays actively involved in her profession through the National Association of Social Workers; as a reviewer for the Gerontological Society on Aging International Conference; and as a board member and past president of both the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeast Pennsylvania and Family Services Association of Lackawanna County. Throughout this initiative, she organized and developed through the United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties a Teachers Behavioral Training program in conjunction with faculty from Penn State Scranton and Marywood University as trainers for local teachers and school districts.
Service to the student body through advising and student affairs activities
An active participant in the campus’ academic advising program for students, Melnick has written the faculty training portion of the campus’ advising manual and chairs the Advising Subcommittee of the Faculty Senate. Additionally, she has been involved with New Student Orientation every year she has been at Penn State Scranton and has helped train new faculty in advising activities, as well as developed and presented training programs on advising for the Scranton faculty.
Melnick said that as long as she is a Penn State employee, she will continue to do service for her campus, college and University.
“I will also continue my personal service that I do in my private life,” Melnick said. “The award is wonderful and very much appreciated but that is not why I do service. I like to be active and involved and help where I can.”