Each year, Keuka College honors a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence and commitment to teaching, mentoring, and serving as a role model to students and colleagues alike.
For Dr. Athena Elafros, assistant professor of sociology, that person is Dr. Janine Bower, associate professor of criminology/criminal justice. Dr. Elafros says that Dr. Bower, “simply put, is an outstanding faculty member who has been an exemplary mentor and role model for me as a tenure-track assistant professor.”
Dr. Bower’s mentorship was one reason she was named Keuka College’s Professor of the Year at this year’s Commencement.
“I believe that Janine is an amazing colleague, mentor, and person, and that is why I believe she has earned the honor of Professor of the Year,” says Dr. Elfafros in her nomination letter. “During my time at the College, I have had the pleasure of interacting with Janine on a regular basis. From my early days at the College, Janine provided me with invaluable advice on classroom instruction. She has shared assignments, grading rubrics, and tips on ‘best practices’ in the classroom. I have used many of Janine’s assignments and grading rubrics in my classes with great success.”
For example, Dr. Ealfros says one of the most unique assignments Dr. Bower created was a drug scare poster assignment in SOC 202 Deviance and Social Control.
“In this assignment students are asked to create a poster explaining how alcohol, opium, marijuana, and/or crack/cocaine, are historical examples of drug scares,” says Dr. Elafros. “It is an assignment enjoyed by students, and I use it every time I teach that course.”
Dr. Elafros says she had only taught two classes prior to joining Keuka College, so she was grateful to have Janine as a mentor.
“My success at the College is owed in no small part to the generosity of colleagues such as Janine, and other colleagues in my division,” she says, adding she also sees Dr. Bower as a leader outside of the classroom. “She is an excellent advisor, has helped grow the SCCJ program, and is actively involved in the assessment of our majors.”
Dr. Elafros notes that as a faculty member in criminology and criminal justice, Dr. Bower has a high number of advisees and she meets with them regularly.
“During office hours, she often has students waiting to ask her for advice or just chat with her, and she often goes above and beyond for students in our major,” says Dr. Elafros. “She has a reputation on campus for being tough but fair, and has helped place many of our majors into successful careers, and has assisted many students to get into graduate school.”
In addition, Dr. Elafros says, Dr. Bower regularly keeps in touch with many sociology and criminology/criminal justice alumni, and often asks them to return to campus and speak with current students, help grow the major, and assist current students in securing Field Period® opportunities.
The director of the sociology and criminology/criminal justice on-campus program, Dr. Bower completes all assessment goals and objectives related to the program, and is always striving for improvement.
“Janine is also a role model in regards to professional behavior and academic standards,” says Dr. Elafros. “She gave me advice and guidance on how to navigate the first semester, and was someone I could always turn to for advice on professional matters. Since that time, we have developed a very good working relationship, and she is one of the first people that I seek counsel with on issues related to the sociology and criminology/criminal justice program or professionalism more broadly. In terms of scholarship, Janine regularly presents at conferences, gives talks within the community, and is currently on sabbatical conducting research.”
According to Dr. Elafros, there are few faculty members who are as engaged and committed to serving the College as Dr. Bower.
“She has served on committees such as the Faculty Liaison Committee, divisional committees and a wide variety of heavy workload ad-hoc committees,” says Dr. Elafros. “She was one of the authors of the TAPP report, and served on the Workload Taskforce Committee. Janine is a hard worker and is well respected within our division and across campus.”
Adds Dr. Elafros: “Janine leads by example, has high standards, works tirelessly on behalf of her students and fellow colleagues, and is a positive role model.”