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Kathi Paluscio Receives 2012 Distinguished Teaching Award


West Windsor, N.J. -- For Kathi Paluscio, public speaking is not just a course she teaches: it’s a way of life.  Her devotion to teaching the craft was recognized at Mercer County Community College’s Commencement ceremonies on May 24, when MCCC President Patricia Donohue presented her with the 2012 Distinguished Teaching Award.

The recipient of the annual award is chosen by students, faculty and staff, and is unveiled to the college community on Commencement day.  In her introduction to the assembled students and guests, Dr. Donohue had many complimentary words to describe the associate professor of Communication.  Among them were “down to earth,” “likeable,” “full of energy,” and “simply amazing.”

Pictured is Distinguished Teacher awardee Associate Professor of Communication Kathi Paluscio.

Known for encouraging her students to think outside the box, Paluscio was described as “one of the most loved and respected professors on campus.”

After majoring in Speech/Theatre/Media for her bachelor’s degree at Kean University, and then focusing on theatre for her master’s degree at Villanova University, Paluscio was asked by a former professor at Kean to teach a public speaking course at Mercer.  It wasn’t long before she realized her passion for teaching, and began to pursue a career in the field. 

After holding adjunct teaching positions at Kean, Rider University and MCCC, as well as a part-time position at Drama Works in Yardley, PA, Paluscio became a full-time instructor at Mercer in 2001.

Given the “public” in public speaking, Paluscio is a firm believer in students’ using what they learn outside the classroom.  She has given her students numerous opportunities to practice their skills throughout her time at Mercer by creating public speaking festivals on campus such as "Carnival of Cheating" and "Survivorfest."

She also created MouthWorks, an oral interpretation comedy troupe that was inspired by a vocal exercise she had her students perform in class.  Along with performing at the Blackbox theatre on campus, MouthWorks students took their show on the road a few years ago to rotary clubs and firehouses, as a service learning experience and to help nonprofit groups raise funds. 

More recently she took a group of students called the Mud Pie Players to perform at the Cherry Tree Club, a preschool serving homeless and at-risk children in Mercer County.

Among the awards Paluscio has been honored with during her time at Mercer is the Human Relations Award, as well as the Student Activities’ Woman of the Year Award.

More here on MCCC's 2012 Commencement.

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