One of Ramapo College’s most valuable assets are its dedicated faculty members. Many professors and staff members go above and beyond to help make Ramapo an educational and impactful experience for the school’s students. This past Wednesday, four exceptional adjunct faculty members who have been working for the school for over 25 years were recognized for their hard work and devotion to the College.
The first two faculty members recognized were David Riscinti and Professor Eleanor Pulis, both of whom started working for Ramapo in 1989. Riscinti and Pulis work in Ramapo’s athletic department. Riscinti teaches scuba diving and Pulis teaches swimming and first aid CPR. Neither of them could be there to receive their awards, but faculty gave them a round of applause to show their appreciation.
Professor Patrick O’Connor was the next adjunct professor recognized. O’Connor has been working at Ramapo since January 1990. He teaches courses within the environmental studies program, including introduction to public policy, environmental policy and regulation, introduction to environmental studies, world sustainability and national parks and outdoor recreation.
O’Connor has also had an influential role in directing the environmental studies internship program to help get students out of the classroom and have hands on experience with their studies. He was presented with a plaque and a check in recognition for his years at Ramapo.
“It’s like the Hotel California – you can check out but you can never leave,” said O’Connor after receiving his reward in a small speech. He spoke about how he and his wife both graduated from Ramapo, and that his son went here as well. He then closed his speech by giving thanks to other professors.
The final adjunct faculty member honored was Professor Harold Katz, who began working at Ramapo September 1989. Katz teaches mathematics courses at Ramapo. He regularly teaches Math with Applications, Math for the Modern World and Elementary Probability and Statistics, as well as occasionally courses such as precalculus and discrete structures.
Katz also has also taught in Ramapo’s summer Educational Opportunity Fund program for the past four years. Many of his colleagues also were quick to point out that Katz writes a song for the courses that he teaches, and performs these songs for his students at the end of each semester. Katz was also awarded with a plaque and a check for his work.
Katz gave a small speech after receiving his reward as well. He thanked professors and expressed his gratitude for Ramapo’s community. He explained that he had dropped out of Columbia in the 1970s and took some time off before deciding to go back to school at Ramapo.
“Ramapo’s a really welcoming place for that,” Katz said. He then explained that after he graduated from Ramapo in May of 1989, he came to teach as an adjunct professor the following semester. He has been working here since due to the supportive community that he feels Ramapo offers.
Adjunct professors play an essential role in Ramapo’s success. These faculty members that were honored have shown a commendable amount of dedication to their students and their work, and their years of excellent work do not go unnoticed.
CORRECTION: The event described in the article was developed and organized by the Ramapo chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2274. "There is no mechanism at Ramapo to thank adjuncts for their many years of service, so we decided to do it ourselves," stated AFT union representative Jude Pernot to the Ramapo News. Local 2274 intends to host a formal recognition of adjunct professors' contributions on a regular basis.