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Distinguished Faculty of the Year 2013

Distinguished Faculty Member of the Year awards are given to faculty members in each School who are nominated by students, staff and faculty for outstanding accomplishments. The recipients exemplify the finest qualities of the Excelsior College faculty and are representative of the extraordinary and truly distinguished service they provide to students and the College. 


Patricia Case, PhD

School of Liberal Arts

Patricia Case, PhD, has been a professor of sociology for approximately 20 years. At Excelsior since 2009, Dr. Case has developed and taught challenging and key courses in the School of Liberal Arts, including the Social Science Capstone; Social Science Research; Families, Delinquency and Crime; Religion and Society; and Contemporary Social Problems.

As a faculty member who is committed, dependable, and eager to offer assistance, she is characterized by her students as “an insightful teacher who cares about the subject and teaching.”

Her primary interest is the study of social behavior in the context of social class. Coming from a poor working-class background afforded her the opportunity to see firsthand how difficult it could be to acquire a higher education while also working full-time, being in the military, and/or raising a family. She was drawn to distance education because it provides an opportunity for higher education to students who might not otherwise have access to a university and the improved job opportunities that a college education provides.

She has several publications and research grants to her name and is an accomplished professor and scholar in her field. At Wayne State University, she earned a bachelor’s,  master’s and PhD, all in sociology.

Gary R. McClain, PhD

School of Health Sciences

Gary R. McClain has served on Excelsior’s faculty since 2010 and has developed and taught the College’s Health and Wellness course. He has also been the instructor of Sociology of Health and Wellness; Health Care Issues in Cultural Diverse Populations; Psychosocial Impacts of Chronic Illness on Person and Environment; and Introduction to Health Care Delivery Systems.

Dr. McClain is a patient advocate, therapist, and author, who specializes in working with clients who are facing chronic and catastrophic medical diagnoses, as well as their caregivers and health care professionals. He is a New York State-licensed mental health counselor, a board-certified life coach, and an Employment Assistance Professional (EAP). McClain has written After the Diagnosis: How Patients React and How to Help Them Cope, a supplemental textbook for nursing and the allied health professions. He is the founder of, a website that provides guidance and inspiration for newly diagnosed patients with catastrophic chronic conditions and their caregivers. He also conducts discussions and blogs as Dr. Gary for the online patient communities provided on

In addition to his coursework, he has also contributed an online article, Dealing with Loss, Depression or Grief During the Holidays to the College’s online newsroom, Excelsior Life; and facilitated a webinar in 2011 for the School of Health Sciences on Managing Your Stress.

His students have found him to promote a safe, engaging, and stimulating learning environment. He earned an MS in clinical psychology from Eastern Michigan University and a doctorate in education from the University of Michigan.

Tracy J. Sipma, MBA

School of Business & Technology

Tracy J. Sipma is a quality management professional with 20 years of quality and technical experience in health care and environmental industries. She serves students and communities as an online instructor for Excelsior College and as vice president of quality for LifeServe Blood Center, the 15th largest blood collection and manufacturing center in the U.S.  Sipma has been on the College’s faculty since 2012 and has developed Technical Writing and Human Performance Technology I: Performance Improvement for the College and has served as instructor for Quality and Productivity Methods; Organization and Behavior; and Economic Analysis for Engineers.

Simpa is passionate about people and process excellence using lean manufacturing tools, organizational change management, and strategic planning. As her students can attest, she is committed in helping them achieve their goals and providing a positive learning environment. Her commitment to supporting Excelsior College’s adult learner is represented in numerous accolades regarding her timely and useful assignment feedback, as well as her insightful postings to weekly classroom discussions.

Currently working on her PhD in Organizational Leadership, she also earned a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Quality Management and a Bachelor of Science in healthcare services. Sipma has completed coursework and holds certifications in Principles of Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, Auditing, and holds a Biotechnology Certificate. 


Judith V. Treschuk, PhD, CNS, CNE, RN

School of Nursing

On the Excelsior faculty since 2006, Judith V. Treschuk has been an instructor of both undergraduate and graduate-level nursing courses. With more than 20 years of experience, Dr. Treschuk brings expertise in community health nursing, gerontological nursing, informatics, and nursing education. Currently, she teaches Technology in Nursing Education, a course that requires extensive interaction with students who are learning to apply new technologies in teaching-learning environments. Skype, audio feedback, Jing, screen cast tutorials, and Voki are must some of the technologies she uses to enhance the learning experience for students in her course. She also teaches Community Health Nursing where she combines her experience with an innate ability to motivate students while demonstrating immense caring about their learning.

Treschuk earned BSN and MSN degrees at the University of Connecticut and completed a PhD in nursing at the University of Rhode Island. Her nursing practice experience includes many years of nursing management in the role of director of nursing in long-term care as well as caring for the mentally ill, both in chronic settings and as a coordinator of psychiatric services to the elderly population. She has also practiced in the field of home care and community health.