Vigeant-Haas recognized with Palmer Faculty Mentoring Award

March 26, 2024

Editor’s note: A version of this article originally appeared on Penn State News. 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Michelle Vigeant-Haas, associate professor of acoustics and architectural engineering in the Penn State College of Engineering, is the recipient of the 2024 Howard B. Palmer Faculty Mentoring Award.

The award honors and recognizes outstanding achievement by a faculty member with at least five years of service who effectively guides junior faculty. Palmer was the senior associate dean of the Graduate School at Penn State from 1984 to 1991.

Nominators said Vigeant-Haas is committed to mentoring junior faculty through formal programs and one-on-one mentoring. She’s someone who took advantage of professional development and mentoring opportunities and is now paying it forward, nominators said.

Vigeant-Haas began mentoring junior faculty since joining Penn State in 2012, but since her promotion to associate professor in 2018, nominators said, she’s committed even more time to mentoring.

She initiated a yearlong faculty development program — the AE Building Faculty Mentoring Program — for junior faculty in the Department of Architectural Engineering in 2020. The program consisted of formal workshops, presentations, panel discussions and a peer-mentoring program.

The program covered promotion and tenure criteria, proposal writing, difficult conversations, mentoring graduate students, teaching and academic culture. For the peer-mentoring program, faculty were divided into groups of three and discussed a challenge they were facing and how to solicit advice from their colleagues.

In 2021, Vigeant-Haas was awarded a grant from Penn State's Leonhard Center for Enhancement of Engineering Education for the Individualized Instructional Mentoring Program for Early Career Faculty. The goal of the program was to promote the instructional development of six assistant professors. Participants praised the experience for improving their teaching skills.

“The program offered me real-time coaching on my teaching to help identify areas of strength and opportunities for improvement,” an attendee said. “It helped me improve my course structure and also helped my students feel more engaged and rewarded during their time in the classroom.”

Vigeant-Haas contributed to some of the programming for last August’s Initiative for Faculty Success and Equity Workshop, including sessions on mentoring early career faculty. She also is collaborating with the Leonhard Center for Enhancement of Engineering Education within the College of Engineering to offer a series of workshops for faculty on best practices for mentoring graduate students.

“Dr. Vigeant-Haas has a tremendous record of achievement in junior faculty mentoring for a faculty member of her tenure,” a nominator said.


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