NCC Educator Named PA Professor of the Year

By Myra Saturen
November 21, 2011

For the second time in three years, a Northampton Community College (NCC) faculty member has Dr. John Leiserbeen named the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Pennsylvania Professor of the Year.  The recipient is Dr. John K. Leiser, associate professor of biology.  His selection was announced on November 17 in Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, the U.S. Professors of the Year awards program celebrates outstanding instructors across the country.

Dr. Leiser is an enthusiastic devotee of the study of wildlife biology, behavioral ecology, and fish biology who has involved many students at the Monroe Campus in research and service learning projects having to do with watersheds, bird populations, invasive plant species, and community supported agriculture.

"One of the first things a student of Dr. Leiser's learns is that you are going to gain more knowledge than any textbook can teach you," says Maia K. Rossiello, who graduated from NCC with both biotechnology and biological science associate degrees.  "We had so much involvement in our education that it became more than just a class, but an entire learning experience."

"John Leiser gracefully combines the multiple facets of faculty life to provide the highest quality of Dr. John Leiser with student Kevin Comiskey.instruction to his students, remain an active scientific professional and be a concerned citizen of his community.  He diligently works to create rich teaching and learning opportunities for our students both in and outside of the classroom," says Carolyn Bortz, dean of Allied Health and Sciences at NCC. 

"John is a phenomenal teacher," says Erin Reilly, assistant professor of sociology at NCC.  "He has an uncanny ability to teach as though having a conversation with a friend." 

A resident of Henryville, Leiser graduated from East Stroudsburg University summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in environmental studies, with concentrations in chemistry and German. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in biology from Lehigh University. 

He began teaching at Northampton as an adjunct professor on the Main Campus during the spring 2002 semester.  On August 19, 2004, he was hired into a tenure track position as an assistant professor at the Monroe Campus.

In 2010 Leiser received Northampton Community College Christensen Award for Excellence in Teaching and the U.S. Secretary of the Interior's Partners in Conservation Award.

Speaking about science and teaching, Leiser says, "The roots of scientific inquiry are not new, but science itself is transitive, ever-plastic, growing.  Pursuing science, educating beyond lectures, beyond facts and obtuse text, I aim to provide students with the courage to experiment, to excel."

The earlier NCC recipient of the Pennsylvania Professor of the Year Award is Dr. Vasiliki Anastasakos, an associate professor of political science, who was selected in 2009. 

Local news organizations have reported on Leiser's Professor of the Year award. Click on the links below to read:

Morning Call

Express Times

Pocono Record


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