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Faculty Trio Receives ‘Excellence in Teaching’ Awards

Pennsylvania College of Technology bestowed Excellence in Teaching Awards upon three faculty members during commencement ceremonies held May 15-16 at the Community Arts Center in Williamsport.

As part of the Distinguished Teaching Awards program, Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour presented Excellence in Teaching Awards to Roy H. Klinger, instructor of collision repair; Charles R. Niedermyer II, instructor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts; and John G. Upcraft, instructor of machine tool technology/automated manufacturing.

The Distinguished Teaching Awards are presented to full-time faculty at Penn College who have been nominated by their students and colleagues for excellence in instructional performance. Since the program’s inception in 1982, awards have been presented to 100 honorees (30 Master Teacher Awards and 70 Excellence in Teaching Awards).

“At Penn College, we are blessed with knowledgeable, dedicated faculty who share their wisdom and craft with the students who constitute tomorrow’s workforce,” Gilmour said. “Reviewing the many glowing comments from students who nominated the faculty members being honored this commencement weekend, I am reminded of why we say, ‘Teaching is at the heart of our mission.’”

Excellence in Teaching Awards awards are presented each May to full-time faculty members who have been nominated by their students and colleagues for excellence in instructional performance.

From left, Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour with Excellence in Teaching Award recipients John G. Upcraft and Roy H. Klinger and Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost Paul Starkey.
From left, Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour with Excellence in Teaching Award recipients John G. Upcraft and Roy H. Klinger and Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost Paul Starkey.

Klinger, who began his employment with the college in 2005, holds a bachelor’s degree in workforce education and development from Penn State. He is co-department head for the collision repair program.

As the faculty member teaching and overseeing students in the automotive restoration technology major, Klinger directs the refurbishing of iconic and sometimes priceless vehicles, restoring them to award-winning, museum-quality condition. Four such vehicles were test-driven recently during a campus visit by celebrity car enthusiast Jay Leno.

His student nominator had this to say about Klinger:

  • “Shows more enthusiasm for the subjects he teaches than any other professor I have ever met.”
  • “Always pushes students to achieve better results with projects they work on in class.”
  • “If he is not an expert at the subject matter, he is willing to put ego aside and ask a professional.”
  • “His enthusiasm is an inspiration to all of us to be so involved with the subject material long after we complete the program.”
Excellence in Teaching Award recipient Charles R. Niedermyer II is joined by Gilmour and Starkey.
Excellence in Teaching Award recipient Charles R. Niedermyer II is joined by Gilmour and Starkey.

An alumnus who earned degrees in baking and pastry arts and technology management, Niedermyer has taught at Penn College since 2005. He specializes in baking and pastry arts, teaching several classes in artisan bread and pastry, chocolate works, and restaurant dessert production. His industry experience spans bakeries, restaurants, hotels and clubs, including The Penn State Bakery and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co.

He was an inaugural recipient of Penn College’s Excellence in Academic Advising Award in 2012 and delivered the David London My Last Words Lecture (a student-nominated honor) the same year. He was the Judges Prize Winner in America’s Best Raisin Bread Contest in 2009, sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board, and he was a finalist in competition to represent the United States at the 2016 Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie (the “World Cup of Bread Baking”) in 2016.

Remarks from Niedermyer’s student nominator include:

  • “He has pushed me to achieve my goals many times because he knew that I was capable of doing so. … He taught me – and so many of my peers – so much, not only about our field but also ourselves.”
  • “Asks for criticism from students and colleagues and uses it effectively, pushes himself and others to be their best, (and) is always looking for new concepts to try.”
  • “Evaluates students in a fair manner, pushes students to their full potential, has an organized system to allow students to know what they will be graded on, and provides feedback in a timely manner.”
  • “Shows students how to apply his lectures and lab instruction to real-world problems and situations.”

Upcraft, also an alumnus of Penn College, has been employed at the college since 1993. He holds an associate degree in toolmaking technology and a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering technology. He mentors the college’s SAE Baja race vehicle team and was honored by Student Activities as Adviser of the Year in 2006.

His student-nominator comments include:

  • “Does not just teach from the book; he uses real-world examples to make it more useful.”
  • “If (he) believes something is important in this trade, he makes sure you do it over and over until you get it.”
  • “If you need to stay and work, he will stay with you. To me, (he) is the perfect instructor here.”
  • “I find (him) to be an exceptional teacher, and I consider him to be my friend. I know I can always get help from him if I need it.”

For more about Penn College, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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