West Liberty, W.Va., Jan. 22, 2021 — West Liberty University once again has a finalist for West Virginia’s Professor of the Year award, presented annually by the Faculty Merit Foundation.
English Professor Dr. Stephen Criniti was among the five finalists named today in a state-wide press release.
“It is a mark of success to be a finalist for this prestigious award and I congratulate Dr. Criniti for this achievement. He brings honor not only to himself, but to the entire College of Liberal Arts. We wish him well in the next step of the competition,” said Dr. W. Franklin Evans, WLU president.
“I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this recognition than Dr. Criniti. He is well known on our campus as a faculty member who is devoted to student success, both as an instructor and as an academic advisor. We are very lucky to have him on the Hilltop,” said Dr. Angela Rehbein, chair of the Department of English and Modern Languages.
The next step in the process of selecting a Professor of the Year is personal interviews which are scheduled to take place on Tuesday, January 26 via Zoom.
Criniti has taught at West Liberty University since fall 2008. Previously he spent two years as visiting assistant professor of English at Ohio Northern University (2006-2008).
His areas of specialization include 20th Century American Literature, American Ethnic Literature, Contemporary Literature, and Composition Studies. In addition to teaching courses, he serves as the primary coordinator and advisor for the English Education program.
Criniti was previously honored at WLU with the Faculty Excellence in Service Award in 2019-2020 and the Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award in 2016-2017. He also was named the Student Government’s choice for College of Liberal Arts Professor of the Year in 2018-2019.
Criniti earned his doctoral degree in English and Comparative Literature at the University of Cincinnati in 2008 and his master’s in English at the University of Dayton in 2002. He completed his bachelor’s degree in English and professional communication at Wheeling Jesuit University in 2000.
A resident of Wheeling, he and his wife Mary Beth are the parents of one son, Matthew, 13.
The other finalists for the 2020 Professor of the Year honor are: Michael Fultz, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry, West Virginia State University; Dan Hollis, M.A., professor of journalism and mass communication, Marshall University; Julie Reneau, Ed.D., associate professor of education, Fairmont State University; and Michael Smith, Ph.D., professor of humanities, Bluefield State College
The Faculty Merit Foundation was created in 1984 to provide a means to recognize and reward innovation and creativity among the faculties of West Virginia’s public and private colleges and universities.
Through the Professor of the Year program, the outstanding achievements of those individuals are brought to the attention of the general public.
A $10,000 cash award is given to the candidate selected as Professor of the Year, with smaller awards to the other finalists. Traditionally, finalists are honored at a springtime banquet in Charleston, where the Professor of the Year is announced but due to the pandemic, plans for a banquet have not been determined.
The Professor of the Year award is sponsored by: United Bank; Bowles Rice LLP; Greene, Ketchum, Farrell, Bailey & Tweel LLP; Maier Foundation; Graystone Consulting; and The Daywood Foundation, Inc.
West Liberty University is West Virginia’s oldest public university and offers more than 70 undergraduate majors, plus a growing number of graduate programs, both online and on campus. For more information, please call 1.866.937.8542 (WESTLIB), visit westliberty.edu or follow WLU on social media. To view more about WLU, please visit westliberty.edu/youtube.