Janine Mariscotti, an Assistant Professor of Social Work at La Salle University, received a call from the University’s Provost Joseph Marbach. He asked her where she was going to be on May 20. She told him she would be at La Salle’s undergraduate commencement exercises. Good, he replied, we like to have the recipient of the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching there when we make the presentation.
A 1981 graduate of La Salle and a member of the faculty for 23 years, Mariscotti said, “I was honored by the award “La Salle is well-recognized as a teaching institution, and, as such, I believe that the Lindback is one of the most significant awards it presents.”
“I love the give and take with students,” she said. “It’s great when we discuss a problem and we come up with possible resolutions to that problem. I appreciate the ways in which they challenge me as well as I challenge them.”
Initially, Mariscotti began at La Salle as an English Education major, then switched to social work “because of all the possibilities for working with different populations and in different fields of practice,” she said. “I’m easily bored, and I always say that social work is a great profession for people who want to be in the human services and are prone to boredom. There’s a lot of flexibility in social work and endless possibilities for working with people.”
“Also social work’s philosophy has always been a good fit for me – considering the person in the environment, thinking and acting systemically, focusing on people’s strengths and empowerment – I believe in these tenets today as I did long ago when I chose to be a social worker,” she said.
While a social worker, Mariscotti began teaching at La Salle as an adjunct faculty member. Eventually, a full-time position opened, and she applied and was hired. She still maintains a practice as a grief and mourning counselor, and loves the “synergy” of being able to incorporate what she learns from her professional experiences into her classes.
In presenting the award, Dr. Marbach said, “Nominations from both colleagues and students over many years have praised this year’s award winner for her knowledge of her subject matter, its clear presentation in class, being a demanding teacher, and her availability outside of the classroom, with descriptions such as:
“In a lighter vein, as stated on one student nomination for this year’s winner: her course was ‘the only class that I had perfect attendance in’ …..”
Mariscotti said, “One of the strengths of our department is that the faculty do indeed know every student. I might not have every student in one of my courses, but I might be his/her advisor, or know him/her from our student associations or faculty-student committee. Because social work requires its professionals to always maintain an awareness of self in the context of social work practice, these close relationships with our students enhances the students’ opportunities for self-discovery.”