Keuka College Names 2019-20 Professor of the Year and Staff Member of the Year

Dr. Debra Dyer is a “respected and supportive colleague” and David Dial is “the wizard behind the scenes.”

Friday, September 4, 2020

Dr. Debra Dyer (l) was named Keuka College's 2019-20 Professor of the Year, and David Dial was named Keuka College's 2019-20 Staff Member of the Year.

Keuka College’s Professor of the Year and Staff Member of the Year awards are typically announced at Commencement, which was postponed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. So this year’s recipients were named at the College’s bi-annual Community Day, held virtually on Aug. 17.

The College named Professor of Education Dr. Debra Dyer as the 2019-20 Professor of the Year and David Dial, senior instructional designer, as the 2019-20 Staff Member of the Year.

Professor of the Year: Dr. Debra Dyer

“Dr. Dyer has been an important member of the Educational Studies Division and the Keuka College community since arriving in 2006,” says Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Dr. Brad Fuster. “She is well-respected by her students and her colleagues, and has been instrumental in developing and maintaining a strong Early Childhood program.”

To her students, Dr. Dyer is known as a tough—but fair—instructor who sets high expectations for them. As a result of these efforts and her high expectations, Keuka College’s Early Childhood majors have a 100% pass rate on the performance assessment required for New York State Teacher Certification.

An active Early Childhood Education advocate and scholar, Dr. Dyer has attended many professional conferences, both as a participant and presenter, and has published an Early Childhood textbook, now in its second edition. She has also served as a consultant for a Rochester-area school district as it worked to re-imagine its early childhood curriculum.

On campus, she has been an active member of the community, serving on the Faculty Development Committee and Faculty Council. Within the division, she has worked with the National Association of the Education of Young Children to develop a pathway for our students to earn the Infant/Toddler Credential.

“Dr. Dyer is a positive, respected, and supportive colleague, is always willing to step up and help where needed, and is loved by students,” says Dr. Fuster. 

Staff Member of the Year: David Dial

When David Dial first arrived on the Keuka College campus in 2016, his initial role was as the Learning Management System Support Specialist in the Wertman Office of Digital Education (WODE) group. 

At that time, he was one of many staff working in WODE. Over the next few years, his work and scope of responsibilities increased, while the size of the WODE declined and, in May of 2018, he became the entire WODE office.

“Despite being a one-man show, he handled all of the responsibilities of the WODE office and continued to make improvements in operations and instructional design,” says Dr. Fuster. “During this time, the WODE office handled all of the College’s Moodle courses, for both on-campus and Adult and Online Education (AOE) courses. But he kept the ship afloat and running smoothly with his characteristic calm and optimistic attitude.”

Then, in early 2020, the coronavirus pandemic hit, and the entire College—including all on-campus courses, all AOE courses, and all courses at Keuka College’s China partner institutions—needed to move online in the blink of an eye.

“David led the way to get everything done,” says Dr. Fuster. “He’s the wizard behind the scenes that has allowed Keuka College to weather many storms and emerge even stronger. His nimbleness is the epitome of the College’s value on striving through change.”