If you’re not first, you’re last

First, second and third place awards are given out in just about every competition, even ones involving faculty.

The Professional Development Committee will be reviewing applications for the Professor of the Year and Adjunct Professor of the Year awards. Each first place award comes with a $1,000 prize, along with a certificate of recognition from the Academic Senate.

The Professional Development Committee also discussed whether to give out second and third place awards.

While no one disagreed with the awards, there was a debate over whether or not second and third place awards were necessary. Some faculty at the Academic Senate believed that there should only be a first place and that the rest of the nominees should simply receive honorable mention certificates.

Instructor of Psychology Angela Belden said that she would prefer if those who didn’t place first got an honorable mention certificate instead of a numerical ranking.

“I think that if we have second and third place it makes this seem like a beauty pageant, which it isn’t” said Belden. “It just seems a little weird to me.”

Chairman of Mathematics Edouard Tchertchian said that having honorable mentions rather than second and third place categories would be more advantageous for a faculty member’s resume.

“I was nominated once. I placed second or third, but I wouldn’t put on my professional resume that I placed second or third in a Professor of the Year race, because that looks bad,” said Tchertchian. “But I would say that I was an honorable mention. I could say that I was nominated and that wouldn’t quantify where I stood. My vote would be not to have a second or third [place], but to honor everyone that applies.”

But not everyone agreed with this position. Instructor of English Yvonne Cooper said that there was nothing wrong with coming in second or third.

“When I think of these awards, I think of like sports,” Cooper said. “In sports, we do honor first, second and third.”

Chair of Modern Languages Fernando Oleas said that the rationale behind a second and third place option was that it exists in all competitions.

“Whether it be academically, or in sports, or in speech competitions; you always honor first, second, and third,” Oleas said. “We came to the conclusion that this would be the most reasonable thing to do.”

Oleas also explained how he made sure that the awards would be fairly judged.

“Usually what I do for the awards is that I retract the names of the nominees, so [the committee] receives an application not knowing who the person is,” said Oleas. “You have to look at the qualifications and their participation.”

Oleas said that he will take the Academic Senates suggestions to the committee so they can further discuss the awards.