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Staff Achievement

Each year, the division of Student Affairs recognizes outstanding staff members for their work with students and contributions to important divisional and university programs. Student Affairs recently honored the following five staff members with divisional awards for their exceptional work during the 16-17 academic year.

2017 Divisional Award Recipients

  • Ellen Fingado

    Ellen Herion Fingado, Associate Dean of Students

    Excellence Award: With 7 years of combined service to DePaul, Ellen has elevated the student conduct process in terms of effectiveness, transparency and accountability for all campus stakeholders through training and leading our University Board to adhere to the university’s Code of Student Responsibility and state and federal laws.

    She has committed herself to professional preparation in both the field of student conduct as a leader in the Association of Student Conduct Administrators, but also as a generalist serving in the student affairs profession.

    She also led a university-wide team in reviewing and revising our Code of Student Responsibility.

  • Courtney James

    Courtney James, Assistant Director, Office of Student Involvement

    Collaboration Award: Since joining DePaul in 2015, Courtney has been deeply committed to building strong, collaborative relationships across the division and with campus partners in order to accomplish great things for students. This has been especially true over the past year.

    She built Blue Demon Week to be a successful celebration of DePaul by working with partners across the campus.

    She brought “Big Pink Volleyball” to DePaul, a fun, innovative volleyball tournament to help raise funds for breast cancer research, and invited the whole campus community to participate.

    She was a leading voice on our divisional Spirit and Affinity Committee to build the spirit and affinity our Student Affairs team.

    She knows that in order to be successful in our work serving students, she needs to work as mutual partners with others. Students, the Division of Student Affairs and the DePaul community have greatly benefitted from Courtney’s collaborative spirit and commitment, which makes her worthy of this important recognition.

  • Gina Leal

    Gina Leal, Chicago Community Engagement Coordinator, Vincentian Community Service Office

    Outstanding New Staff Professional: Gina has been working in the Vincentian Community Office for 18 months.

    From her first moments in VCSO, Gina chose to dedicate her time to creating a ministry of welcome and hospitality. She has developed various initiatives to establish small communities of student leaders, including for the service day program, DCSA coordinators, Chicago Peacemakers and International Student service opportunities.

    In her time at DePaul, Gina has proved herself to be an exemplary professional and team player. Whether she’s volunteering to speak at events with only a moment's notice, or serving at the Ignite retreat or on the Spirit and Affinity Committee, Gina gives her heart and soul to all in which she participates.

    Additionally, Gina has helped solidly establish Vincentian Service Day as a university-wide tradition with many more offices, staff and faculty currently being aware of the day than in the past.

  • Karl Nass

    Karl Nass, Assistant Director, Vincentian Community Service Office

    Lou O’Brien Spirit of Student Affairs Award: Karl’s 16 years in University Ministry’s Vincentian Community Service Office have been marked by a dedication to his work, a commitment to service and justice, and a care for people – not only students, but also colleagues throughout the division and university.

    Karl has been a servant leader behind the scenes – often behind the scenes in his gentle but thoughtful and persistent way – by creating and sustaining many of DePaul’s service oriented programs. Most notably, Karl has guided Vincentians in Action, or VIA, which serves as the vehicle for meaningful reflection and community building among students involved with VCSO programs, which serve hundreds of students each year and continues to support and develop some of DePaul’s most committed student leaders.

    When we think of people at DePaul and in the division who model a commitment to mission, to service, and to both professionalism and personalism, somewhere near the top of that list is Karl Nass.

  • James Stewart

    James Stewart, Director, Adult, Veteran and Commuter Student Affairs

    Innovation Award: Not only this past year, but since joining DePaul in 2013, James has demonstrated an ability to look at something and see the possibilities.

    He has a unique ability of exciting and engaging others around an idea that serves our mission and benefits all involved.  Many times it starts with “What if we…”

    James facilitated the Loop Initiative that resulted in the redistribution of resources for student staffing in the Loop.

    He oversaw the effort to move Veteran Liaisons and the Veteran Student Union to a new space to accommodate their growing needs.

    James was a key player in developing DePaul’s Off Campus Housing website to meet the unique needs of our students living off campus.

    Finally, he led a mid-year focus change to Student Success for AVCSA by beginning to immediately implement and change outreach and engagement, and to that end, landed a Commuter Edge Team.

2016-17 Divisional Achievement Recognition

The individuals that are recognized below for divisional achievements have conducted presentations outside the division, authored publications, received professional awards external to the division and attained significant academic achievements.



    Adult, Veteran and Commuter Student Affairs
    James Stewart

    Adult Learners and Students with Children Knowledge Community
    Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA)


    Dean of Students Office​

    Bernard Little
    2017 Regional Conference Committee
    NASPA IV-East

    Chief of Staff
    Advisory Board

    New Student and Family Engagement

    Tom Menchhofer
    Orientation Professionals Institute (OPI) Facu​lty
    Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in Higher Education (NODA)

    Planning, Operations and Assessment

    Carrie Don
    Registration Chair
    NASPA IV-East 2017 Conference Committee

    NASPA IV-East Advisory Board

    Tyneka Harris Coronado
    NASPA IV-East Technology Knowledge Community

    Ellen Meents-DeCaigny
    Liaison to the National Knowledge Communities
    NASPA Professional Standards Division

    Board of Directors: National Director of Knowledge Communities Elect

    Scott Tharp
    National Advisory Board

    Residential Education

    Rod Waters
    NASPA IV-East 2017 Conference Committee, Corporate Sponsors

    Student Affairs

    Peggy Burke
    NASPA 2017 Mid-Level Administrators Conference

    NASPA IV-East

    Eugene Zdziarski
    NASPA Foundation Board

    Student Involvement

    Courtney James
    National Association for Campus Activities (NACA), 2018 National Convention

    University Counseling Services

    Jeff Lanfear
    ​Association of University & College Counseling Center Directors – Directors at Catholic Schools



    Planning, Operations and Assessment
    Scott Tharp
    Imagining Flipped Workshops: Considerations for Designing Online Modules
    ​Multicultural Education

    ​Exploring First-Year College Students’ Cultural Competency
    ​Journal of Transformative Education

    ​Student Affairs 
    Gene Zdziarski
    Campus Crisis: It’s not just about responding
    The Presidency

    Campus Crisis Management
    The Handbook of Student Affairs Administration

Presentations (external)

Adult, Veteran and Commuter Student Affairs 
Megan Burda
Veteran Transitions to Careers
Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA)—Military Connected Students

Dean of Students
Ashley Knight
Supporting College Students Experiencing Homelessness and Housing Insecurity
University of Illinois at Chicago, Pride Action Tank

Trading Spaces: Transitioning from Four to Two Year Colleges and Back Again
NASPA Region IV-E/W Annual Conference

New Student and Family Engagement
Ziena Miller
New Trier Parent Night
New Trier High School
Transitions to College Night
Jones College Prep High School

Planning, Operations and Assessment
Tyneka Harris Coronado
Knowledge Community Presentation: Technology
NASPA IV-East/West Annual Conference

Jessica Peterson
Social Media as a Place for Difficult Discussions: Managing Discourse and Taking Advantage of Teachable Moments
NASPA IV-East/West Annual Conference

Scott Tharp
Workshop: Designing Social Justice Education Workshop Curriculum
National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE)

Workshop: Using Critical Discourse Analysis to Assess Student Resistance

Pre-conference Institute:  Writing and assessing student learning outcomes for social justice education 

The future of higher education: Why we need a focus on social justice education curricula
Association for the Study of Higher Education Conference

Religious Diversity
Diane Dardón
College Bound
Our Saviors Lutheran Church

Abdul-Malik Ryan

Islam and Advice for Connor McGregor
Internet Islamic Educational Broadcast

Religious Diversity in the Workplace
True Value Company

Islamic Law and Religious Disputes in Divorce Cases
Circuit Court of Cook County Domestic Relations Division

Social Justice Model of the Prophet Muhammad
Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago

Clearing up Controversy: Understanding Shari’ah
Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago

Introduction to Islam and American Muslims
Trinity Christian College

Hope through Faith and Community: Prophetic Response to Hard Times
Illinois Institute of Technology

Muslim perspective on the Bridge Report on American Catholic attitudes towards Islam and Muslims
Chicago Catholic-Muslim Scholars Dialogue Group

Ask Muslims Anything: Controversial Issues Involving Islam and Muslim Experience in Legal Profession
Chicago Kent School of Law

Who is Abraham? Islamic Perspective for Interfaith Panel
University of Chicago

Concept of Beauty in the Qur’an
Qur’an Conference Purdue University

Qur’anic Perspective on Social Justice
Qur’an Conference Purdue University

Islam and Muslims: An Introduction for Catholics
St. Teresa of Avila Parish

God does not intend difficulty for you: the Causes of and Cures for Religious Extremism
Muslim Students Association National ​Conference

When the Activists Become Silent: Keeping Young Adults Engaged in Muslim Communities
Muslim Students Associaton National Conference

Healing Grief, Inspiring Hope: The Prophetic Practices of Ramadan
University of Chicago

Student Affairs
Peggy Burke 
Follow the Money: Mastering Fiscal Management at the Mid-Level
NASPA 2017 Mid-Level Administrators Conference

Leading from the Middle: How to Make the Best in Your Mid-level Position
NASPA 2017 Mid-Level Administrators Conference

The Student Affairs Mid-Level Administrator: The Power & Strength of Leading from the Middle
The NASPA Center for Women Online Briefing Session

Gene Zdziarski
Care Teams: A Decade of Critical Incident Response and Management on College Campuses
ACPA webinar

Crisis Management:  Managing from the Middle
NASPA 2017 Mid-Level Managers Institute

Student Involvement
Courtney James
Be a Better Facilitator

Understanding Archie Bunker’s Neighborhood: Understanding Power, Privilege and Oppression
Dominican University

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