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Faculty of the Year Awards

Falk College Honors Faculty for Excellence in Teaching, Service, Research
Three portraits

Falk Faculty of the Year awardees (from left) Dennis Deninger, Bernard Appiah, and Joey Merrin.
Dennis Deninger, Bernard Appiah, and Joey Merrin were honored with 2024 Falk College Faculty of the Year awards for excellence in teaching, service, and research, respectively. The honorees were nominated by their peers for outstanding teaching, scholarship, and internal and professional service contributions and announced by the Falk College Faculty Council in early May.

Chaya Lee Charles, an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies and chair of the Falk Faculty Council, thanked all faculty members who submitted nominations and her fellow Faculty Council members for their time and efforts in the award selection process.

“It is inspiring to see the talent and excellence that we represent as a college, and the high caliber of the nominees made our job challenging,” Charles says. “The Faculty Council is excited to share the results of our thoughtful deliberations.”

Here’s a look at the 2024 honorees with comments from their award presenters:

Dennis Deninger

Professor of Practice in the Department of Sport Management
Evan Weissman Memorial Faculty of the Year Award for Teaching Excellence

From presenter Chaya Lee Charles, assistant teaching professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies and chair of the Falk Faculty Council:

Dennis has an impressive and extensive resume, which many of us are aware of. But as a refresher in this, his final year with us, and in the spirit of his broadcasting background, I will now provide you with the fastest three minutes in Dennis’ top-10 highlight reel:

Two individuals stand together with an award between them
Dennis Deninger, who received the Evan Weissman Memorial Faculty of the Year Award for Teaching Excellence, with presenter Chaya Lee Charles.
  1. Dennis is a former television executive who has produced live sports television from six continents and across the United States. In his 25 years at ESPN, he launched coverage of Wimbledon, the French Open, and Major League Soccer, and was the executive in charge of production for World Cup Soccer in 1994, a dozen Australian Opens, Friday Night Fights, Triple Crown horse racing, and a multitude of other live events.
  2. Dennis is a three-time Emmy award winner for categories in innovation in sports television, production on digital platforms, and educational television.
  3. Dennis developed for American television the digital instant review technology called “Shot Spot,” which is now in use at all major tennis tournaments.
  4. Dennis’ comments and analysis have been quoted in national and international media including The New York Times, USA Today, ABC News, CNN, Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, and many other prominent media outlets.
  5. Dennis wrote, produced, and directed the biographical documentary “Agent of Change: David Falk,” which premiered at the ribbon-cutting of the Falk College complex and aired on ESPN2.
  6. Dennis has written and directed documentaries working with his students at Syracuse University as his research team. “America’s First Sport” was broadcast across the U.S. on the ESPN networks and explored the history, culture, and rapid expansion of lacrosse in the U.S. and around the world. “Changing Sports, Changing Lives” focuses on sports that have been adapted for persons with disabilities, and how these sports have impacted so many lives.
  7. Dennis has a new book coming out in September entitled “The Football Game That Changed America.” It is the direct result of the research he has done for his Falk Sport Management course on the Super Bowl and its impact on American life. He is the author of two books previously published entitled “Live Sports Media: The What, How and Why of Sports Broadcasting,” and “Sports on Television.”
  8. Dennis was the founding director of the sports communications graduate program at the Newhouse School of Public Communications, and he has created several new graduate- and undergraduate-level courses at Syracuse.
  9. Dennis is an outstanding teacher and colleague, as evidenced by his previous Falk College award for excellence in teaching 10 years ago. He has served as faculty advisor of the Sport Professionals of Color student club, and was an early supporter of the newly required sport management course, Race, Gender, and Diversity in Sport Organizations. He has consistently received positive course evaluations in all courses he teaches, including Sport Communications; Sport, Media, and Society; and the ever-so-popular Super Bowl and Society, in which he arranges for several students to travel with him to the Super Bowl and hosts a live Zoom class from the host city.
  10. And . . .

  11. The most important highlight and reason for his receiving this award–Dennis’ engagement with students in and out of the classroom is a model we can all aspire to. Whether providing academic or career advice, he is rarely seen in his office without a student seeking his guidance or support. One student summarized it best: “Professor Deninger has great enthusiasm every day and is a great storyteller, so his lectures are much more engaging than other professors might be. It’s very obvious that he knows the content from both an academic and experience perspective. It was an extreme privilege to be able to learn from this industry professional.”

Bernard Appiah

Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health
Faculty of the Year Award for Excellence in Service

Two individuals stand together with an award between them
Bernard Appiah, who received the Faculty of the Year Award for Excellence in Service. with presenter Lisa Olson-Gugerty.

From presenter Lisa Olson-Gugerty, associate teaching professor in the Department of Public Health and a member of the Falk Faculty Council:

Since 2021, Bernard has been faculty advisor of the Graduate Student Association for Public Health, which he helped establish. Under his guidance, the association became the first student association officially affiliated with the New York Public Health Association. Additionally, since 2021, Bernard has served on our department’s Program Review and Assessment Committee (PRAC), a pivotal committee responsible for curriculum review and quality improvement. During his tenure on PRAC, our department achieved accreditation as a “Public Health Program” from the Council for Education in Public Health. In 2023, Bernard served as a member of the Falk Program Review Committee and contributed to the evaluation of SOURCE grant applications, furthering the work of Falk College and Syracuse University.

Bernard has also made significant contributions to our international community, serving on committees relevant to his expertise in pharmacy and health communication. Notably, he is a member of the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) Expert Committee on Healthcare Safety and Quality and the USP’s Drug and Classification (DC) subcommittee. His work with the DC subcommittee led to it being awarded the 2023 USP Award for Outstanding Contribution to USP Standards by a Volunteer Expert Group. Additionally, in fall 2023, Bernard mentored participants in Farm Radio’s online course on using radio for development, fostering impactful radio program design.

Furthermore, Bernard was selected by the Africa Center for Disease Control as a trainer and evaluator for its Public Health Journalism Fellowship program, where he secured funding for a research assistant to attend the conference in Zambia. This initiative contributes significantly to the internationalization of Falk College and the University. In the same period, Bernard joined the expert panel for the development of a manual for blood donor recruitment across Africa, an initiative of the Belgian Red Cross. Finally, Bernard has served as an editorial consultant for Health Psychology and a reviewer for PLOS Global Public Health, enhancing his contributions to the field of global health.

Joey Merrin

Assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science
Faculty of the Year Award for Excellence in Research

Two individuals stand together with an award between them
Joey Merrin, who received the Faculty of the Year Award for Excellence in Research, with presenter Ambika Krishnakumar.

From presenter Ambika Krishnakumar, professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science and a member of the Falk Faculty Council:

Dr. Gabriel “Joey” Merrin was selected for this honor from a very strong pool of Falk candidates, all with excellent research credentials.

Dr. Merrin is a developmental psychologist and an applied methodologist whose research agenda focuses on a wide range of important and relevant topics such as identity-based harassment, aggression, victimization in the school context, delinquency, substance use, adolescent development, and the transition to young adulthood. His research indicates a commitment to the lives of minority and oppressed groups, and he is currently engaged in translating and mobilizing research knowledge to inform intervention and prevention efforts in these communities.

In the calendar year 2023 to the present, Dr. Merrin published his work in 17 high-impact journals such as Frontiers in Psychology, Psychology of Violence, Journal of Child and Family Studies, and the Journal of Contemporary Educational Psychology, to name a few. He currently has five manuscripts under review and 10 manuscripts in preparation.

In this academic year, Dr. Merrin presented his research at 16 professional conferences. Dr. Merrin received one external grant from the National Institute of Justice as co-investigator and has one grant proposal under review with the National Institute of Health as Co-PI (co-principal investigator). According to the Scopus citations report for 2023-2024, Dr. Merrin’s research was cited by his peers in 367 articles.

Last week, Dr. Merrin was awarded the Excellence in Graduate Education Faculty Recognition Award from Syracuse University for his commitment to graduate student research. In recognition of his excellence in research and his contributions to the advancement of knowledge, Dr. Gabriel Joey Merrin receives the 2024 Falk Faculty Award for Research. Congratulations!