Outstanding Faculty Award

The PGAA Outstanding Faculty Award was established to acknowledge excellence among the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. One award certificate of recognition is presented at the breakfast prior to the commencement ceremony each spring. The nominee must be a current full-time faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg campus. The award winner is required to attend the breakfast prior to commencement and is given the opportunity to make a few brief remarks.

Candidates are selected by the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg Vice President of Academic Affairs based on student evaluations. The final list of candidates, including bios and CVs, are given to the PGAA executive committee to review and make a selection. A faculty member who wins the Outstanding Faculty Award is not eligible for nomination in the year immediately following the receipt of the award. A faculty member who was nominated in a previous year but was not chosen as the award winner, however, may be re-nominated.

Year Awardee
2017 Christopher Bartley
2016 Elizabeth Contreras
2015 Pamela Ondeck
2014 Dr. John H. Prellwitz
2013 Dr. Paul S. Adams
2012 Dr. Gary D. Hart
2011 Dr. Elisa E. Beshero-Bondar
2010 Dr. Nancy Estrada
2009 Dr. Melissa J. Marks
2008 Dr. Vickilyn Barnot
2007 Lori Jakiela
2006 Dr. Mary Grace O'Donnell
2005 Dr. Kristen N. Asplin
2004 Dr. Sayre N. Greenfield

Professor Christopher Bartley

Christopher Bartley is the 2017 PGAA Outstanding Faculty Award recipient. An instructor of Music, he teaches both Western classical and contemporary popular music and has developed cross-disciplinary curricula for Pitt-Greensburg, including Music and Film, Music and Society, and Music, Culture, and Technology. As the campus’ music director, he directs the Pitt-Greensburg Chorale and Chamber Singers and serves as the music director for campus musical productions, including Man of La Mancha, Urinetown! The Musical, and Eleanor—An American Love Story. Students nominating him for this award described him as passionate about music and willing to help students, both in and out of the classroom. One student noted, “Professor Bartley throws himself into his teaching methods. He is passionate about what he does. When he teaches, he engages his students in the best ways possible. He is inspiring.” A baritone/bass, Bartley actively participates in the wide range of music performances on campus and in the community. His doctoral studies in choral conducting and historical musicology at the University of Arizona have focused on the music of Handel’s Messiah and its relationship to the cultural context of its composition. He expects to receive a doctor in musical arts degree in spring 2017.

Professor Elizabeth Contreras

Elizabeth Contreras, a visiting instructor of Spanish, is the recipient of the 2016 PGAA Outstanding Faculty Award. With a bachelor’s degree in English Linguistics and a master’s in Translation with a Spanish Concentration, she has a passion for helping students to learn and use the Spanish language. For more than 20 years, she has combined her skills in translation and teaching to help others. Contreras serves as advisor for the Spanish Club, co-sponsor of the Spanish and Italian Conversation Tables that meet bi-weekly on campus, and will co-lead the May study trip to Florence, Italy. She also participates in a campus mentoring program for academically at-risk students. Her specializations include digital storytelling to enhance oral and written proficiency, technology in the classroom, and other areas of related to proficiency and literacy. Students praised her, writing: “If I am ever struggling, she always sits down with me and makes sure I understand. She really cares about you as a person as well as your academic success.” “She gives the classroom an inviting atmosphere that makes the student feel very comfortable participating in her class.” “She cares about what is going on in students’ lives, their well-being, as well as their futures and careers.”

Professor Pamela Ondeck

Pamela Ondeck, MBA, is the recipient of the 2015 PGAA Outstanding Faculty Award. Ondeck, an assistant professor of Management, combines 15 years of experience in the corporate accounting world with more than 25 years of classroom interaction to create a learning environment that develops the ability of her students to think in an independent and logical manner. She teaches the range of accounting classes, including intermediate accounting, advanced accounting, financial accounting, corporate financial accounting, accounting information systems, and auditing. While at Pitt-Greensburg, she developed courses in accounting methodology, accounting learning community, forensic and investigative accounting, and the senior capstone for the major. Her commitment to her students extends to serving as the advisor to the Accounting Business Network and the campus student chapter of the Pennsylvania Institute for Certified Public Accountants, as well as advising accounting students on scheduling, internships, employment, and graduate schools. Working to provide career development opportunities for her students, Ondeck initiated the Real World Business Insights Conference for business students in 2014, sponsors mock interviews for accounting majors each fall semester, and participates in preparing students for the Career Night sponsored by Career Services.


Dr. John Prellwitz

John H. Prellwitz, PhD, associate professor of communication at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, is the recipient of the 2014 PGAA Outstanding Faculty Award. The award was presented during a breakfast held Saturday, April 26, as part of the campus’ Commencement activities.
Prellwitz was recognized for his ability to help students to understand the art of persuasion and rhetoric through his classes in advertising, public relations, film and propaganda, visual rhetoric, and public speaking. A faculty member since 2005, he serves as co-advisor for campus chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, the National Communication Honor Society. His classes, which incorporate service learning opportunities, provide students with hands-on experience in advertising and public relations by having them work on projects for community clients. He is a founding member of the Center for Applied Research (CFAR), the Pitt-Greensburg faculty/student consulting group that provides social science research services to the campus and greater Greensburg community. He also serves as the faculty sponsor for Pitt-Greensburg Media, the newly founded group that promotes multi-media storytelling and media production on campus.

Dr. Paul Adams

Dr. Paul AdamsThe recepient of the 2013 PGAA Outstanding Faculty Award is Paul S. Adams, PhD. An Affiliated Faculty member of the  European Union Center of Excellence and Center for European Studies at the University of Pittsburgh (Oakland Campus), Dr. Adams is the Behavioral Science Division Chair and faculty advisor to the Pitt-Greensburg Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society. He is also a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and Gamma Theta Upsilon, the International Geographical Honor Society. He has authored or co-authored chapters or entries in texts such as New Directions in Comparative Politics (2002) , Authoritarianism and Corporatism in Latin America Revisited (2004), The International Encylcopedia of the Social Sciences, Second Edition (2007), Globalization: Universal Trends, Regional Implications (2008), and co-edited the text Western Europe and the United States: Foundations of Comparative Politics (2005).

Dr. Gary Hart

The 2012 PGAA Outstanding Faculty Award is given to Gary Hart, PhD, instructor of mathematics at Pitt-Greensburg. His specific areas of interest are optimization and numerical analysis. Dr. Hart's most recent research projects and thesis have involved using optimization for the simulation of nonsmooth rigid multibody dynamics with contact and friction. This allows him to blend optimization and numerical analysis with his general areas of interest, namely, functional analysis, linear algebra, and differential equations. Dr. Hart is faculty advisor for Math Club and the Diversity Student Coalition. He also serves on the President's Advisory Committee on Diversity, Faculty Welfare Committee, Math Placement, and the Technology Committee.