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Two Juniata Faculty Members Retire as Professors Emeritus

(Posted May 31, 2011)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Two Juniata College faculty members who retired at the end of the 2010-2011 academic year were honored recently at the faculty retirement dinner in April. The retirees are: Norm Siems, Woolford Professor Emeritus of Physics, and Kim Richardson, professor emerita of education.

Siems was the department head for physics, a post he held from1998 to 2008. He is responsible for Juniata's Hickes Observatory and taught astronomy, one of the most popular courses on campus. He has served as a consultant for the television show "Inside Space," on the USA Network.

Siems, a resident of Huntingdon, Pa., received the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award in 1984 and the Beachley Distinguished Professor Award in 1994. In 2009 he received the Beachley Award for Distinguished Academic Service.

He came to Juniata in 1980 as a physics professor from Quincy College, where he was department chair from 1973 to 1980. He chaired Juniata's Physics Department from 1984 until 1987, and again from 1998 to 2008. He also took a leave of absence from Juniata to teach in Malaysia for Indiana University from 1987 to 1989.

Siems was named William W. Woolford Professor in Physics in 2006. He was promoted to associate professor in 1981 and to full professor in 1987. He earned a bachelor's degree in physics in 1966 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. After graduation, he served four years in the U.S. Navy as an instructor of math, physics, and nuclear reactor physics at the U.S. Naval Nuclear Power School, simultaneously studying as a graduate student at The Johns Hopkins University. He completed his master's degree in physics in 1970. He went on to earn a doctorate in nuclear science in 1976 at Cornell University.

At Juniata he helped develop the interdisciplinary general education course, "From Decadence to Disaster." He is a member of the Health Physics Society, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and the American Association of Physics Teachers.

Throughout his teaching career, he has received numerous faculty development grants including grants to travel to the then Soviet Union in 1990 for a five-week Fulbright-Hayes seminar, to attend a two-week Summer Academy for the Advancement of College Teaching, and to participate in astronomy workshops at the University of Colorado and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Kim Richardson, professor of education and a resident of Boalsburg, Pa., retires as one of three professors in the education department specializing in language and literacy, as well as serving as former department chair and supervisor of elementary school student teachers.

She also brought extensive international experience to the college. She lived in Mexico from 1951 to 1962 and was resident director for Brethren Colleges Abroad study-abroad programs in Dalian, China from 1987 to 1988, and in Cheltenham, England, from 1983 to 1984.

In 1990, she was named associate dean of academic affairs and director of the Office of International Programs. During her tenure there until 1996, she developed an International Studies Certificate Program and established the college's English as a Second Language Program. Her work in the office and on a committee formed for that purpose was instrumental in adding international education to Juniata's curricular requirements. As director of the office, she also led the effort to start summer study-abroad programs, and established two important study-broad scholarships: the Nyce Scholarship for Latin America studies, and the Rinehart-Darkatsch Scholarship, for study abroad for those studying education. She also started a mentoring program for students nominated for the St. Andrews Society study-abroad scholarship, which has resulted in more than 20 students winning the scholarship and other faculty using her mentoring model for other scholarships.

In recent years, she has continued her international work for the college, making site visits to study-abroad campuses in Mexico and co-hosting a summer photography course in England taught by her husband, Sandy McBride, professor emeritus of art.

Richardson has been honored for her teaching as well, receiving the Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1983. She received the Beachley Award for Distinguished Academic Service in 1996, and was Juniata's Woman of the Year in 1989.

She came to Juniata in 1979 as an instructor and was promoted to assistant professor in 1981. She earned promotion as associate professor in 1985 and became a full professor in 1990. She earned a bachelor's degree in political science in 1969 from Duke University, and earned a master's degree in education in 1973 from Old Dominion University. She earned a doctoral degree in the psychology of reading in 1981 from Temple University.

She started her teaching career in 1970 as a first-grade teacher, then as a Title I reading teacher in Portsmouth, Va., before moving to the collegiate level, first at Old Dominion and then at Juniata.

Richardson has published articles in such professional journals as The Reading Teacher, Teaching Children Mathematics and the Teaching Professor. She has served on the editorial board of the journal Pennsylvania Reads since 2000. l. She received a grant from the Gahagan Foundation for international education and traveled to Costa Rica as part of a Fulbright program faculty program.

She remains active in her professional and local communities. She has served as treasurer of the Raystown Reading Council since 1996, is a board member of First Book-Huntingdon, and is a member of the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. She also served on the board of the Pennsylvania Council for International Education from 1994 to 1996.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.