Morales and Pallas Are This Year's Brantley Award Winners | Teachers College Columbia University

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Morales and Pallas Are This Year's Brantley Award Winners

Morales and Pallas Are This Year's Brantley Award Winners
Following the conclusion of President Fuhrman’s State of the College remarks and a brief interlude of jazz, Janice Robinson, Vice President for Diversity and Community affairs, presented this year’s Elaine Brantley Memorial Award for Community and Civility. The award recognizes employees who consistently promote a sense of community, culture and civility at the College.

This year’s Brantley award winners are Virgenmina Morales, the Helpdesk and Network Technician for Telephone Operations at the College; and Aaron Pallas, Professor of Sociology and Education in the Department of Education Policy and Social Analysis.

“Virgie” Morales only recently became a full-time employee, but she has been a presence at TC since 2008. She is known around campus for “doing her best for you” as she helps TC faculty and staff with sometimes daunting issues surrounding phone service, Robinson quoted a colleague as saying. “When people describe Virgie,” Robinson said, “they use words like ‘bubbly, smiling and helpful’—and those qualities are contagious. Being around Virgie usually leaves others smiling as well.”

Aaron Pallas is known among his colleagues and students for “fostering collegiality,” Robinson said, “in ways that range from simply learning all his students’ names to guiding classroom discussion with the same sensitivity and intelligence he brings to his widely read commentary on the most difficult educational issues of the day.” Pallas “breaks down barriers so that students are not intimidated by graduate school, and is also known for making them feel supported, both in and out of the classroom.”

The Elaine Brantley Memorial Award, sponsored by the Vice President’s Office for Diversity and Community Affairs, honors the memory of Elaine Webster Brantley, who was a model of civility and collegiality at Teachers College for 24 years. A cashier in the cafeteria for 24 years,  Brantley was a favorite among students, faculty and staff alike, and “a good friend,” Robinson said, always ready with sage advice when it was called for.

The Brantley Award winners are chosen by a committee consisting of Robinson; Jolene Lane, Director for Diversity and Community Affairs; John Saxman, Professor of Speech & Language Pathology; Rocky Schwarz, Assistant Director for TC’s Business Services Center; and Iraida Torres-Irizarry, Academic Affairs Director in the Office of the Vice Provost.

This year, as in years past, Brantley’s daughter, Ebone Chemise Brantley, and granddaughter, Bria Elaine Foster, attended the award ceremony, at which Bria was presented a gift from the College that looked suspiciously like a book.

The jazz interlude was provided by the Teachers College Jazz Quartet, featuring Gian Tornatore, a Music & Music Education student, on saxophone, Jeremy Hepner, an instructor in Arts & Humanities, on guitar, Dustin Kaufman, also a student in Music & Music Education student, on drums; and Matt Turowski on bass. They performed an instrumental version of “Without a Song,” composed by Vincent Youmans.

Published Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011


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