Joseph R. Fink Achievement Award

The Joseph R. Fink Faculty Achievement Award, named for Dominican’s eighth president, honors a faculty member’s lifetime achievement and dedication to the University. Recipients are recognized as outstanding teachers who have brought distinction to Dominican through research, creative work, service, or leadership.

Nomination Procedure and Criteria

Each year, the Faculty Forum nominates candidates for the Joseph R. Fink Faculty Achievement Award to the Council of Academic Deans. The Council of Academic Deans evaluates the nominations and presents a final recommendation to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. 

To be eligible, a faculty member must surpass the following minimum criteria:

  • The faculty member must be tenured and have served Dominican for at least 10 years. 

Recipients need to have the following characteristics:

  • Faculty member is an outstanding teacher, as demonstrated through both student and peer evaluations.
  • Faculty member has brought distinction to Dominican University of California through their research and publication, service, and/or leadership of a distinguished academic program.
  • Faculty member is generous with their time and energy, with both colleagues and students.
  • Faculty member shares knowledge and expertise with Dominican and the greater San Francisco Bay Area community.
  • Faculty member is committed to advancing the mission, goals and objectives of Dominican University of California.

Joseph R. Fink Faculty Achievement Award Recipients

In her 20 years at this institution, Professor Baranow has served as an exemplary educator who is generously dedicated to her students; offered outstanding contributions to the field of poetry; profoundly impacted the Dominican community, both within and beyond the MFA and undergraduate major programs, as she continues to inspire and empower individuals through the transformative power of language and storytelling. 

Joan founded and teaches in Dominican’s MFA program in creative writing. Her poetry has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Paris Review, JAMA, Feminist Studies, Spillway, as well as in anthologies that focus on writing and healing. Her recent collection, Reading Szymborska in a Time of Plague (2023), won the Brick Road Poetry Book contest in 2021.

In addition to her literary achievements, Joan has ventured into the realm of film, collaborating with her husband, physician, and poet David Watts, to produce the PBS documentary "Healing Words: Poetry & Medicine," which explores the intersection of poetry and medicine and "The Time We Have," an intimate portrayal of a young woman confronting terminal illness that offers profound insights into the human experience and the importance of cherishing each moment. 

Joan has nurtured and inspired countless aspiring writers, fostering a community of literary excellence and creative exploration. Through her mentorship and guidance, Joan has guided her students to delve into the intricacies of language, encouraging them to develop their unique voices and embrace the transformative power of storytelling–especially in the field of narrative medicine. 

Students in Joan’s courses have valued Joan’s “ability to ask questions which might have multiple answers and her openness to different perspectives,” her “easy and inviting” attitude, the “engaging, inclusive and safe environments” her classrooms create, and her overall capacity for helping students flourish according to their own unique talents.

Lynn Sondag headshot

In her 20 years at this institution, Lynn Sondag, Associate Professor of Art and the Honors Program Director has served as an exemplary educator; held numerous leadership roles; shepherded program innovation and invested in the cultivation of close and mutually respectful community partnerships; garnered attention for Dominican through her recognition as a fine artist in the greater San Francisco Bay Area and through public artworks to address issues of educational inequity, homelessness, environmental injustice, and racial marginalization thereby serving to empower marginalized communities; and developed the university’s understanding of the valuable role art plays in promoting justice and community well-being. Lynn’s students have worked with people who are unhoused to create an educational mural for downtown San Rafael, with elementary school students in the Canal neighborhood to examine issues of environmental destruction and sustainability in their own neighborhood and the surrounding open space. She has collaborated with Marin City youth to spread the word about the 2020 Census in their neighborhood. This past year she continued to work with the Marin City organization, Performing Stars of Marin, to support their celebration of Marin City’s 80th anniversary. During the spring semester, Lynn and her students worked with Marin City youth to create artwork for the Legacy of Marin City, Marin City 80 exhibition that just opened at the Marin Center. This summer, she had a group of honors students work with artifacts to recreate an interior of a home in Marin City and the sense of cultural identity that migrated with people when they came from the South. She received an award from Performing Stars for her dedication and for going above and beyond in her support of the Marin City 80 exhibition. Additionally, this year, her students alongside younger students from the community partner Next Generation Scholars, supported the work of the canal community leaders, Voces del Canal. The college and middle school students created postcards and yard signs to raise awareness of their campaign to bring more public lighting to neighborhood “shed light on the beauty of the Canal”. Lynn has also excelled in her leadership roles on campus. As Faculty Forum Chair, she gracefully handled the waves of differing opinions during the meetings. Her calm, respectful attitude, even in the face of difficult issues, was an inspiration to faculty. As Chair of the Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee (CEPC), Lynn utilized excellent organizational skills, diplomacy, and fair-mindedness while serving as a role model for how to navigate and encourage people to voice many, contrasting perspectives. Lynn was also instrumental in gaining accreditation for the Art Department with the Association of Schools of Art and Design. This achievement and her development of an art curriculum and honors program designed around community engagement adds to our university’s distinctiveness and illustrates the positive role Dominican can have in the community.

Fran Lepage headshot

In more than thirty years at this institution, Dr. Lepage has mentored both students and junior faculty; held numerous leadership roles; shepherded program innovation; garnered attention for Dominican through her research and accomplishments; and, developed the university’s global perspective, which is an essential component of our mission.

She follows her students’ achievements (and their stumbles) long after graduation, keeping in touch and offering valued advice over the years. By colleagues, Dr. Lepage is known for her fierce commitment to Dominican and a wise, approachable confidence. She has been a thought leader and voice of good sense on this campus through its evolution from college to university, through various administrations, structures, brands, campaigns, and curricula.

Blending her love for Dominican with her expertise and extensive network, in 1986 Dr. Lepage launched the institution’s first international program, a graduate degree in Pacific Basin Studies. She played a critical role, too, in founding and developing the Global Education Office, whose study abroad, global education, and international exchange offerings support students in nurturing an expanded worldview. 

As a scholar, Dr. Lepage’s research on dynamic pedagogies, emerging markets, the global economy and political science has been widely published and recognized. She is respected as a small business champion in Marin County, joining the Marin Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007.


Olivia catolico headshot

Dr. Olivia Catolico is an accomplished scholar, practitioner, and educator whose expertise in the areas of geriatric nursing, global health, migrant health, and transcultural nursing are internationally recognized. Dr. Catolico has held staff and supervisory nurse positions across the continuum of adult care; she has served non-profit organizations and rural clinics abroad whose missions are to promote the health and well-being of refugee and immigrant families. Dr. Catolico is a veteran of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps.

In the classroom, Dr. Catolico has a values-driven approach to teaching, grounded in caring, reflection, integrity, and the search for truth. A dynamic, innovative teacher, her students practice reflective journaling and participate in debates; through concept maps and popular media analysis they engage with complex questions about care of vulnerable populations, end-of-life-care, health disparity, and ethical dilemmas.

For Dominican’s Nursing department and the institution broadly, Dr. Catolico is absolutely essential. She designed and implemented a successful site visit from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education in 2018, which earned our Nursing program a ten-year reaccreditation. She is a valued mentor to junior tenure-track faculty and has served on both the Diversity Action Group and Global Education Advisory Board.

Internationally, Dr. Catolico is an advocate for health equity. She has nursing colleagues in southwestern Uganda, with whom she consults on curriculum development and accreditation. Until recently, she volunteered for and served on the Board of Directors for Bridges of Promise, a non-profit focused on education scholarships for young women and infrastructure projects to improving public health in Tanzania.

Dr. Catolico earned a BS in Nursing from California State University, Fresno; an MS in Nursing from Loma Linda University; and a PhD from the University of San Diego.

gail matthews achievement award

If you hear wildly infectious laughter echoing in the halls, it may be that Professor Gail Matthews is teaching a class nearby. Dr. Matthews is regarded by students as a humorous and organized educator, a valued mentor, and a respected scholar with deep knowledge in her field — both from her research and from decades of practice as a clinical psychologist and executive coach.

Dr. Matthews joined the Dominican faculty in 1976. A long-time innovator of teaching methods in the classroom, she has supervised the development of more than 400 student thesis projects and founded the Dominican chapter of Psi Chi, the international Psychology honors society, for which she served as faculty advisor for 27 years.

She was the first architect of the psychology curriculum at Dominican and originated many classes that are today considered hallmarks of the program. Additional to extensive service to Dominican as a department and Faculty Forum chair, Dr. Matthews has brought distinction to Dominican through her nationally regarded research and writing.

A tireless advocate for women, she served on the committee of the American Psychiatric Association that in the 1980s revised a number of psychiatric diagnoses impacting women in the DSM.

An esteemed national expert in coaching techniques, goal-setting, and self-efficacy, Dr. Matthews is perhaps best known for her scholarship on the imposter phenomenon, which is unfortunately rampant among women, particularly in academia. This ground-breaking work earned national media attention from the New York Times, Time magazine, and the Wall Street Journal. 

Dr. Matthew is also very well known for her Harvard goals research study

Dr. Matthews holds a BA in Psychology from Westhampton College; an MA and PhD in psychology from University of Kentucky.


Luanne Linnard Palmer achievement award

Professor Luanne Linnard-Palmer is regarded by the Dominican community for an unfailing respect for each and every student, unwavering patience, and an undeniable command of subject matter.

Known for her excellence in teaching, Professor Linnard-Palmer continues to practice nursing at pediatric medical surgical and oncology units in the San Francisco Bay Area and routinely calls upon experiences in the field to provide students with real-world scenarios and pose true ethical dilemmas.

Her contributions to the University have been extensive, acting previously as chair of the Nursing department and the Faculty Forum. She has traveled with our Nursing students to Costa Rica, Spain, Mexico, and Uganda, studying national health care systems and providing health services to profoundly underserved communities.

Awarded numerous grants for her work in nurse education, Professor Linnard-Palmer is also published widely on diverse aspects of nursing, including cultural communication and reducing medical errors. She is the author of Pediatric Nursing Care: A Concept-Based Approach and, with Gloria Haile Coats, Safe Maternity and Pediatric Nursing Care, among other titles. She holds a BS in Nursing from Humboldt State University, an MS in Nursing from the University of San Francisco, and an EdD from the University of San Francisco.


LeeAnn Bartolini achievement award

Professor LeeAnn Bartolini’s concerns for gender equity, cultural difference, and social justice permeate her work as a practitioner and a scholar of psychology. A key member of the group who worked to create the Women and Gender Studies Program at Dominican and a board member of the Center for Domestic Peace for 13 years, Professor Bartolini has worked tirelessly on campus and in the community to raise awareness around issues of oppression and violence against women. She was instrumental in organizing Dominican’s participation in the Vagina Monologues, One Billion Rising, and the Women’s March. She has worked as a volunteer with the Dominican Sisters Ministry to female prisoners at the Marin County Jail for the past 15 years. She was also elected to the Marin Women’s Hall of Fame.

In the classroom, she tackles cultural bias in how we treat and respond to the mentally ill and how we counsel those who are different from us. Professor Bartolini’s commitments are also international; she has taught and/or studied in England, Thailand, India, and Uganda, among other places, and she created with Sr. Carla Kovac Dominican’s substantive and ongoing relationship with a community in Uganda. Her wide-ranging scholarship is entwined with her international teaching and lifelong service. Professor Bartolini earned two BAs at Dominican; she holds an MA and PhD from the California School of Psychology, Berkeley.


Denise Lucy achievement award

Denise Lucy, Professor of Business and Organizational Studies and Founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Leadership Studies, walks the leadership talk. She is a published expert in leadership, micro-credit loans, international trade, and business pedagogy. At Dominican, she has served in numerous leadership roles — from Associate Dean to Vice President.

In 2002, she founded Dominican’s Institute for Leadership Studies, which promotes the study, teaching, and practice of effective, ethical leadership. Today, the program offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, a minor, and an MBA concentration.

In 2003, she established the Leadership Lecture Series, which over the years has provided our students the opportunity to engage with local and global leaders of the highest caliber. Above all, Professor Lucy is a persistent advocate for her students. She is tireless in connecting students with local business leaders. She integrates internship placement and team-based community partnerships into all of her classes; her regular golf outings with business student-athletes and trustees have been a great success.

She is known for her “Tea and Talk” sessions with first-year students and her “Dine and Discuss” sessions with Leadership minors. She keeps in touch with alumni long after graduation, following their careers and mentoring them through hardships and successes.

Professor Lucy holds an EdD in Organization and Leadership from the University of San Francisco and an MS in Counseling Psychology from California State University, Fresno.


Foad Satterfield achievement award

Professor Foad Satterfield’s work — primarily paintings in oils and acrylic — hangs in galleries, private collections, and public spaces across California and the United States. Some 30 years ago, he founded Dominican’s Barbara D. Goodman Art Gallery Gallery and single-handedly grew it, on a shoestring budget, into a respected Bay Area art venue that enriches our academic community, cultivating a prestigious cultural reputation for the University and a chance for Dominican students to engage up-close with the best of contemporary practice.

Stanley Gibbs, Program Director of Art Works in San Rafael, remarks that Professor Satterfield is “a teacher, painter, scholar, meditator, curator, and one who walks the talk. Foad leads by example. He questions more than he proclaims, activating the minds of those around him.” Students seek him out for his reputation not only as a painter and a rigorous teacher but also as a guide who will help them discover their personal artistic path and excel in it.

Similarly, Dominican colleagues testify to the quiet generosity with which he has sought out, mentored, and supported several generations of junior faculty, from all disciplines. Professor Satterfield is currently completing his 35th year of teaching at Dominican. He holds an MFA in painting from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge.