Western faculty to receive Board of Regents’ awards

DANBURY, CONN. — Whether it was challenging their students, transforming their departments or conducting research that has a national reach, three professors from Western Connecticut State University have caught the attention of the Board of Regents and will be honored for their exceptional performance as educators.
At 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 17, 2014, Dr. JC Barone, associate professor of communication and media production; Dr. Mary O’Neill, adjunct instructor in the Department of Philosophy and Humanistic Studies; and Dr. Neeta Connally, assistant professor of biological and environmental sciences, will be presented their awards at the Westside Campus Center Ballroom, Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.

A favorite among communication and media majors, Barone is experienced and committed not only to students but also to the university and the community. Over the past few years, he has worked hard to create a state-of-the-art video editing facility on campus and his nationally recognized “Election Connection” live election night coverage has garnered significant attention for the university.

O’Neill is known and respected for her energy and creativity. Her innovative teaching methods have earned her rave reviews from students and faculty. She has created new courses that are unique to WCSU, including the “Philosophy of Happiness,” which considers the meaning of happiness in theory and in practice. O’Neill has been praised for challenging her students and stimulating their intellectual growth.

Since coming to Western in 2011, Connally has continued her research on the ecology and epidemiology of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. She is known as an enthusiastic and dedicated researcher who has conducted high-quality, high-impact work. Through her Lyme disease task force work, research and numerous published articles on the disease, Connally has influenced public health efforts to combat tick-borne disease.

“We’re very proud of our three winning colleagues,” said WCSU President James Schmotter. “They employ creative, relevant approaches to enhance our students’ learning. JC Barone brings the real world of television production to life in the annual ‘Election Connection’ programs he organizes. Neeta Connally stimulates the intellectual curiosity of the students she engages in her research on Lyme disease. And Mary O’Neill demonstrates in the courses she teaches the relevance of philosophy in real-life professional situations. All three epitomize the student-centered teaching and scholarship which is Western’s hallmark.”


Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

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