President's Award for Excellence logo

The President’s Award for Excellence was created in 2022 by President Thomas Isekenegbe, on behalf of the College Senate, to recognize the incredible hard work and dedication of the BCC faculty and staff.

What are the awards?

In Spring 2024, the President’s Awards for Excellence Committees will be accepting nominations for the President’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Creative Activities, and Service. Any faculty member, full-time and adjunct, hired prior to Spring 2021 may apply for the Excellence in Teaching or Research and Creative Activities Awards. Any employee hired before January 2021 may apply for the Excellence in Service Award. Questions about any award can be directed to the chair of the committee, Dr. Seth Offenbach.

Award winners will receive a $200 award and will be honored at the annual commencement in June. In addition, they will be asked to present about their work to the BCC community. All application packages will be reviewed by the President’s Award for Excellence Committee which includes stakeholders from throughout the BCC community. The Committee is chaired by a faculty member from the Academic Senate. The Committee will carefully consider and weigh all the evidence submitted of an applicant’s record of excellence. All material should be submitted by the applicant, including the letters of support (which will remain unsealed to the applicant). The Committee will recommend award recipients to the President, who will make the final determination of Excellence Awards for the year. Recipients will be notified prior to June convocation. Applicants who are not selected for awards are eligible to re-apply in future years; award winners are ineligible to apply for the same award for the next ten years.

Nomination Process

Any member of the BCC community may nominate someone for any of these awards. Self-nominations are accepted, but not required.
Nominees will be asked to submit supporting materials to the President’s Awards for Excellence Committee.

The nomination period is now closed.

Awards for Excellence Winners 2023

President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching
Full time

H. Elizabeth Smith Ed.D

Dr. H. Elizabeth Smith, Professor of English, has taught composition and literature at Bronx Community College since 2003, when she began as a lecturer in the English Department. Smith has earned degrees from Marlboro College (BA/International Studies), the University of Houston (MA/English), and Teachers College, Columbia University (Ed.M and Ed.D/English Education). For Smith, teaching is a vocation; over the course of her career, she has taught middle and high school students as well as community college, university and graduate students. Born in India, Smith spent her formative years as a “third culture kid” and American expatriate in Tanzania, Nepal and Switzerland before moving to Vermont for college. Smith brings a distinctly international worldview to her teaching practice and, with this, a belief in the transformative possibilities of global literature to connect humanity across worlds. Smith views the composition process as a profoundly personal form of critical thinking and is committed to pedagogies of inclusivity, community-building and individual empowerment.

President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

Propa Atker

Propa Akter is an adjunct professor in the Education & Academic Literacy department at Bronx Community College. She is a first-generation Bangladeshi American raised in the Bronx and a proud product of CUNY. After graduating from BCC in Childhood Education, she went on to earn a bachelor’s in Childhood Ed. and a master’s in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the City College of NY. She holds several NYS teaching certifications ranging from Childhood Ed., Students with Disabilities, and English as a Second Language. Professor Akter uses her experience as a teacher in the NYC Department of Education working with students with disabilities and multilingual learners to prepare future educators at BCC.

President’s Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activities

Professor Jacqueline Jiménez Polanco

Jacqueline Jiménez Polanco is Associate Professor of Sociology at Bronx Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY). She holds a Ph.D. “Cum Laude” in political science and sociology from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid with a concentration in political changes in contemporary democracies. Dr. Jiménez Polanco is the author of Los partidos políticos en la República Dominicana: Actividad electoral y desarrollo organizativo and Corrupción y cartelización de la política en la República Dominicana. In 2023 she co-edited and co-authored the book Dominican Politics in the Twenty First Century: Continuity and Change and the anthology Divagaciones II: An Anthology by Dominican Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Women/Divagaciones II: Una antología de mujeres dominicanas lesbianas, bisexuales y queer. Her latest authored book Dominican American Politics: Immigrants, Activists, and Politicians was published by Routledge in 2024. She was granted a CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Research Award and a PSC-CUNY Award in 2022-2023.

President’s Award for Excellence in Service

Dr. Jordi Getman-Eraso (faculty)

Dr. Jordi Getman-Eraso, a Professor in the History Department, was named inaugural Director of Online Learning at Bronx Community College in 2021. Dr. Getman-Eraso has extensive experience teaching online and with faculty development, having led faculty seminars for BCC’s Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology for the last decade and a half. Along with two BCC colleagues, in 2014 he developed the New Faculty Seminar integrating pedagogical and assessment best practices, as well as career development strategies for all new faculty at BCC. Before that, he created BCC’s Honors Program and the ePortfolio Program. He chaired the college’s Institutional Effectiveness Committee and Co-Chaired the Middle States Self-Study submitted in 2019, which received a commendation for educational effectiveness assessment from the Middle States Commission.

Albert Robinson (staff)

Albert Robinson is the Director of Online Support and Learning Management System at The Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology. Albert has been at BCC for 16 years and has worked closely with BCC Presidents, VP’s, Deans, Directors, Department Chairs, Faculty, Students, and Staff. Albert was born and raised in the Bronx. He is a graduate of Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education (M.S. in Education) and The College of New Rochelle (B.A. in Psychology and Business). Some of his accomplishments at BCC include: creation of the LMS support rapid response team, the faculty, staff and student Audio/Video studio located in BC Room 309D and the 3D Printing lab. He also serves on several committees at BCC and CUNY central. During the pandemic, he and his team were instrumental in making sure faculty and students were prepared to teach and learn remotely. Currently he is the Co-chair of the BCC Blackboard to Brightspace LMS transition team. 

“Working together and being involved in campus activities will make the college community stronger.” Albert Robinson 

There shall be two separate Teaching awards, one for adjunct faculty and one for full-time faculty members. For the full-time faculty award, nominees must have taught at Bronx Community College in a full-time capacity since at least Spring 2021. For the adjunct faculty award, nominees must have taught at least one class a semester at Bronx Community College since at least Spring 2021.

Nominees will be asked to demonstrate their dedication to the craft of teaching, while guiding and inspiring our students. As teachers, they should foster classes that are intellectually enriching environments while using inclusive and innovative pedagogies that facilitate the acquisition of knowledge for all students.

Nominees will be asked to submit:

  • Your CV
  • 250-500 word statement of teaching pedagogy
  • 1-2 teaching observations
  • Letters of support from former students
  • Faculty may also choose to include examples of student assignments or projects, assessment instruments, documentation of student learning, or letters of support from a peer
  • Letters from current students should be excluded due to the appearance of impropriety

For the Research and Creative Activities award, nominees must have served at Bronx Community College as a member of the faculty in any capacity since at least Spring 2021. Nominees will be asked to demonstrate that they have contributed groundbreaking and outstanding scholarship which has contributed to the creation of knowledge and furthered their academic field. Those in the creative arts will be asked to demonstrate the importance and value of their contributions to the field.

Nominees will be asked to submit:

  • Your CV
  • 500-750 word summary of the research or creative activity and its importance for the field
  • 1-2 letters by a colleague at BCC or someone outside of the college supporting the importance of their work
  • Examples of the material referenced in the summary and letters

For the Service award, nominees must have served as employees at Bronx Community College in any capacity since at least January 2021. Nominees will be asked to demonstrate that they have worked to make the college a more welcoming community and that this employee goes the extra mile to help us become a growing, vibrant, and inclusive workspace.

Nominees will be asked to submit:

  • Your CV
  • A 250-500 word statement of your excellent service
  • 2-3 letters of support by a member of the BCC community


All questions can be directed to the committee chair Seth Offenbach.

Committee Members:

Seth Offenbach (Chair), Full Time Faculty

Katherine Acevedo-Coppa, Academic Affairs

Jeanette Batiz, Chief CLT, Biological Sciences Department

Jacqueline Barbour, Staff, IT Assistant/PM, PMO Production Support & Quality Assurance

Claudia Jacques De Moraes Cardoso, Adjunct Faculty, Art & Music Department

Latitia Collins, Student

Monique Guishard, Full Time Faculty, Social Sciences Department

Melanie Robles, HEO, ASAP Associate Director

Dickens St. Hilaire, Full Time Faculty, Chemistry, Environmental Sciences & Earth Sciences Department

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