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News & Info

Faculty and Staff Awards, 2021

The University of Providence handed out Faculty and Staff Excellence Awards for the 2020 – 2021 school year.

We would like to congratulate those recognized for their hard work.

Marich Outstanding Faculty Award: Jessica Martin

In recognition for overall superior performance and creative accomplishment as a faculty member. 

She is an excellent teacher, engaging students who are not majors in science through her enthusiasm and ready availability to help. Students go to her for career and advising support (often when their own advisors are unavailable) as well as for personal support when dealing with personal crises and losses.

With the loss of two colleagues this year, she has stepped right up to take on additional courses, many, many more advisees, and to help students keep up morale as they struggle with complex COVID situations.

Teaching Excellence Award: Dr. Stephen Muir

In recognition of outstanding classroom performance and deep dedication to teaching.

Dr. Muir has shown great flexibility in taking on courses to teach for the first time this year, which has significantly helped reduced the teaching workload of his colleagues both in and out of the STEM department. It’s a difficult balance in any field, but in math even more so. Stephen has shown incredible dedication to his teaching despite trying circumstances many times over in the past few years.

He finds ways to ensure he delivers the content in a way that every student in his course can understand. He has chosen to write up his thoughts and notes in the form of a textbook for his students. This provides a secondary way for him to communicate knowledge as well as being a cost-effective way for students in his classes.

Mentor Award: Hayley Harned

In recognition of outstanding mentoring to students through formal and informal interaction with students.

Her students consistently praise her for her empathy, kindness, and sound advice. She has guided many students through hard times and always puts their wellbeing above all else, even in the midst of working two jobs. She gracefully took on working and living in the dorms to help with our short fall in housing employment while also working in the ASC.

Hayley is funny, hardworking and a joy to be around. Her positive attitude and knowledge about the University reflects in her work with the students and the student’s wiliness to come to her for anything.

Sisters of Providence Mission Award for Staff: Twila Croft

 In recognition of positive contributions to the campus community as a whole, for personifying the University’s mission in character, competence, and commitment, and for contributing to the overall morale of the campus community. 

Twila goes above and beyond on a regular basis for her students in school and outside of school. Her commitment to continuing the legacy and spirit of the Sisters into her daily work is an inspiration.  She always speaks of the days that she worked with the Sisters, and how their impact on her continues to motivate her to do good and to continue their legacy.

Twila Croft, who will retire this summer after many years of service to the school, deserves high recognition for all of the work she’s done for this university.  Her commitment for filling any need of the University at any given moment, has been a summary of her career. Her character and commitment to the mission is reflected in MANY students, graduates, staff, faculty, and former employees.  The ripple effect of her presence will be felt for many years to come.

Outstanding Staff Award: Brad Beffert

In recognition of going above and beyond to provide high quality service to the University.

He is always willing to lend an ear and share his knowledge and insight with students and colleagues. He was instrumental as a voice on several Coronavirus Rapid Response Teams to discuss topics on housing, COVID testing, athletic competition, travel, mitigation, and so much more. He selflessly served on the President’s Coronavirus Task Force this spring and committed fully to the discussion on all proposals, which ultimately included every area of campus operations.

He did all of this, on top of committing to his “regular job.” On many occasions, you could find Brad working at 11pm, 5am, or any time in-between. It’s safe to say that many of us do not know how Brad got any sleep this last year. He simply made it all happen. He stepped up to serve and did so selflessly. It is the honor of the Committee to recognize Brad Beffert for the Outstanding Staff Award this year.

Sisters of Providence Mission Award for Faculty: Dr. Jonathan Nelson

In recognition of positive contributions to the campus community as a whole, for personifying the University’s mission in character, competence, and commitment, and for contributing to the overall morale of the campus community.

He is incredibly dedicated to encouraging and promoting students to think critically. When asked for nominations of faculty who most enriched their education, one student wrote that Professor Nelson goes “above the standards of a teacher to provide the best education for the student.” Another student said, “He does not teach as if there is one right answer, he encourages and requires us to come up with the answers ourselves.”

All of his service work beyond the classroom and direct work with students is to make us more rooted and able to appreciate our heritage and identity. He does much of this work quietly, behind the scenes, partly because he doesn’t love attention for such deeds and takes more satisfaction in the work than the praise or recognition that it deserves.

Marich Longevity of Service Award: Chet Pietrykowski

“When you think of longevity and commitment, Chet is one that comes to mind right away. His dedication to the university is unwavering, and you will often hear him say that serving the needs of our students is always top priority. He also knows more about the campus than anyone here, including the underground tunnels! Congratulations to Chet for the number of years of service he has provided to UP.”

Staff Contribution to Academic Excellence: Christopher Nelson

Christopher Nelson has contributed enormously to UP’s standards of Academic Excellence. He consistently goes above and beyond in his work, but he has especially shined during this past fall semester’s transition to fully remote learning.  His support during such a difficult time helped foster high standards of online learning and teaching, and his support of our students, faculty, and staff was instrumental to our school’s successes.



Dr. Alice Dupler, Nursing

Dr. Stephen Muir, Mathematics


Dr. Meredith Hecker, Mathematics (to Associate Professor)

Dr. Stephen Muir, Mathematics (to Associate Professor)

Dr. Rob Packer, Psychology (to Professor)

Ms. Tami Park, M.S. (to Professor)


*All monetary portions of the awards this year were anonymously sponsored by donors.