Part-time faculty, full-time contributions

Submitted by on March 23, 2012

Fairfield University has many dedicated part-time faculty members who inspire students every day. In addition to their dedication inside the classroom, many were recognized last year for their outstanding contributions to their fields and their communities.

Michael Cooney

Music professor Michael Cooney, won the American Society of Composters, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) Writer’s Award for “creative contributions to American music this past year,” for his setting of five Emily Dickinson poems for voice and piano.


Bidyut Das, a part-time faculty member in the Department of Physics, and his wife founded Rtapalli Vidyapitha, a free residential high school for disadvantaged, but gifted students. Student attending the school do not pay any tuition and receive a top-notch education in science but also are trained in classical music and dance. Graduates of the program go on for degrees at universities, mostly in the fields of medicine, engineering, and science. Das, who has had more than forty articles published on his research and holds three patents, visits the school every August to teach and attend to administrative work.


Following up to her success of chairing the Fairfield University’s Women’s Studies Program, Professor Elizabeth Hohl has been invited to serve on the CT Women’s Hall of Fame Consulting Scholars Committee, which is an educational outreach organization whose mission is to honor publicly the achievement of Connecticut women, preserve their stories, educate the public, and inspire the continued achievements of women and girls.



Janet Krauss

Janet Krauss, part-time faculty member in the English Department, has been invited to share her poetry in many different venues: In August she was a guest at the Westport Historical Society, in November she recited her poems at Naugatuck Community College and at St. Basil College, in Stamford. In addition she has served as a mentor to seven students in the Creative Life Residential College at Fairfield University, is a mentor to a student attending Roosevelt School in Bridgeport, Conn., and serves as an advisor to the Creative Writing Club at Bassick High School in Bridgeport.


Dawn Pilotti ’97, who teaches part-time in the Art History Program and is a middle school mathematics and social studies teacher at St. Ann School in Bridgeport, Conn., has been recognized for two prestigious honors: She and her St. Ann students were awarded the International Big Dreamers Award, through Free The Children, for their work and dedication to raise money to build a school in Kenya.  This award consisted of a monetary donation to their cause and an invitation to an international conference in Toronto, Canada. Professor Pilotti, who teaches “Art of Asia, Africa, and the Americas,” has also been named the National Geographic/National Park Service National Teacher Ambassador.


Christopher Poulos, who teaches Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, was named a 2012 Aspen Teacher Leader Fellow. The Aspen Teacher Leader Fellows program is a new, two-year fellowship designed to cultivate and support of cohort of progressive teacher leaders. Professor Poulos, who is a teacher at Joel Barlow High School, in Redding, Conn, will be part of an elite team of classroom teachers, union leaders, and other advocates who will work together to strengthen and improve the profession of teaching and the educational outcomes of America’s K-12 students.


Julie Scher-Smith

Cycling 200 miles in two days to raise funds to find a cure for cancer was no small feat, but part-time faculty member Julie Scher-Smith, who teaches in the Communication Department, took part in the Pan Mass Challenge, along with 10,000 other riders, and helped raise $8,000. One hundred percent of the proceeds went to the Dana Farber Cancer Center. Scher-Smith, who lost her husband, Chet, to non-smoking lung cancer six years ago, noted that he was an avid bike rider and had ridden his bike across the country in 29 days when he graduated from business school. In remembrance of him, Scher-Smith, who said she would continue training and take part in the challenge this year, wore a photo taken from his trip on her back during hew own journey.


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