The Sandra C. Palmer Excellence In Teaching Award

The Sandra C. Palmer Excellence in Teaching Award seeks to recognize colleagues, one full-time & one adjunct faculty member, who have demonstrated exceptional accomplishments & outstanding qualities in teaching. Awardees will exemplify masterful, innovative classroom instruction, teaching methods, & excellence in educational leadership.

All full-time & adjunct faculty members with a primary appointment in the College who have not won this award in the past three (3) award cycles are eligible. Awardees will be recognized with a certificate of achievement from the Office of Academic Affairs presented at the Faculty & Staff Recognition Ceremony.

logo for The Sandra C. Palmer Teaching Excellence Award

About The Sandra C. Palmer Excellence in Teaching Award

The Sandra C. Palmer Excellence in Teaching Award at Queensborough Community College (QCC) is named in honor of the college’s provost whose vision and commitment to teaching excellence inspired the creation of the award, Dr. Sandra Palmer.

Dr. Palmer joined the QCC family in 2015 as Dean of Faculty. As Dean, she immediately saw a need for junior faculty to be supported and established a series of mentoring activities to fill that gap. Dr. Palmer developed QCC’s guide to faculty mentoring and established faculty-led workshops focusing on the tenure/promotion process. Her goal was to demystify the tenure process while reassuring faculty that their work was valued. In addition to her role as Dean of Faculty, Dr. Palmer served as Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs (2016-2017, 2018-2019) and, since 2020, has served as interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Among her key accomplishments, Dr. Palmer has provided and supported professional development opportunities for faculty, identified and pursued institutional and CUNY-wide grant opportunities for faculty, and developed new strategies to improve student success, particularly as it relates to college readiness.

An arduous leader and talented manager, Dr. Palmer has a passion for working with and supporting faculty in various academic initiatives. Having started her 30-year career as a faculty member, she has always been aware of the issues facing faculty. Throughout her tenure as Interim Provost, Dr. Palmer has consistently emphasized the importance of recognizing colleagues who demonstrate exceptional accomplishment and outstanding qualities in teaching. As one of her final acts of innovation and change on behalf of the faculty of the college, Dr. Palmer convened a committee of faculty and administrators to establish a teaching excellence award that would celebrate and acknowledge faculty members who exemplify masterful and innovative classroom instruction and teaching methods and excellence in educational leadership.

In honor of her retirement from the college and in recognition of her impact on the institution, the Excellence in Teaching Award Committee has named The Excellence in Teaching Award after Dr. Sandra Palmer. The committee believes that it is Dr. Palmer’s vision and resolve that faculty be recognized, celebrated, and awarded for their commitment to exceptional teaching and learning that has sustained the culture of excellence in teaching at QCC.


The Award Committee:

  • Professor Arthur Adair, Associate Professor and Faculty Fellow for Student Success (2021-2023), Academic Affairs
  • Dr. Arthur Corradetti, Dean for Institutional Effectiveness, Academic Affairs
  • Dr. Melissa Dennihy, Associate Professor, English
  • Ms. Nishat Faruqui, Web Content Specialist, Strategic Initiatives and Advancement
  • Dr. Sarbani Ghoshal, Assistant Professor, Biology
  • Professor Neera Mohess, Associate Professor, Library
  • Professor Philip Nelan, Assistant Professor, Nursing
  • Dr. Rommel Robertson, Assistant Professor, Social Sciences
  • Dr. Kerri-Ann Smith, Committee Chairperson, Associate Professor of English, and Faculty Fellow for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity, Academic Affairs
  • Dr. Celia Sporer, Assistant Professor, Social Sciences
  • Dr. Meghmala Tarafdar, Interim Director, CETL, and Assistant Professor of English
  • Mr. Adam Violin, Director, Web and Application Services, Strategic Initiatives and Advancement 


To be considered, a faculty member must be recommended by a faculty member, administrator, staff member, or student. Self-recommendation is also accepted. Recommendations may be submitted via the electronic form below.


To become a candidate, the faculty member must accept the recommendation & submit an application packet to be considered by The Sandra C. Palmer Excellence in Teaching Award Committee.

An application packet should include, at least, the following:

-A personal statement (max. 2 pages), highlighting qualifications that address the criteria as outlined below.

-A biographical sketch (max. 3 pages), highlighting a record that addresses the criteria as outlined below.

-Any other supporting documents (letters of support from peers or students, published works, assessment data, teaching portfolio, etc.).

The application cycle for this year’s award is closed. The next application cycle will begin in 2025.


Evaluation is based on the proven quality & effectiveness of pedagogy conducted by the candidate over the past three (3) years. Candidates will be evaluated based on their ability to:

  1. Demonstrate outstanding contributions to education through: 

    • Student-centered Learning
    • Evidence-based Teaching
    • Iterative Assessment
    • Leadership/Mentorship
    • Reflective Practices/Professional Development
    • Contribution to the Improvement of Teaching

  2. Demonstrate excellence in educational leadership through actively participating in learning, teaching or curriculum related committees, organizations, & associations.

Evaluation Rubric


 Questions can be addressed to:

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