2020 CxC Faculty Award recipient Cynthia DiCarlo

Dr. Cynthia DiCarlo discussing research with two studentsCredit: LSU College of Human Sciences & Education
LSU College of Human Sciences & Education professor Dr. Cynthia DiCarlo, center, is the recipient of the 2020 CxC Outstanding Faculty Award.

For education students who will soon embark on their roles as advocates for their own students’ development, few serve as a better role model than 2020 CxC Outstanding Faculty Award recipient Dr. Cynthia DiCarlo.

“I honestly believe that she gets up every day looking forward to spending her life teaching and that education is her true life's calling,” School of Education professor Jennifer Curry says.

F. Neil Mathews, Director and Olinde Endowed Professor in the School of Education, agrees. “She has great passion for students and exceptional desire to make the world a little better each day through teaching,” he says. “Dr. DiCarlo's impact is profound because she is developing students' mindsets as teacher-researchers and advocates.” 

While Cyndi has always understood how critical successful communication is for her students to master, she committed to integrating Communication-Intensive practices into her teaching after attending the 2006 CxC Faculty Summer Institute. Since then, she has been a long-time champion for this approach and the role CxC plays in student and faculty development.  

“As an early childhood educator, I recognize the importance of increasing the communication skills of my students in order for them to communicate effectively on the importance of early childhood issues to advocate for the profession,” Cyndi says. To date, she has taught 16 communication-intensive courses that focus on written and spoken communication and provide multiple opportunities for students to receive feedback. And due in part to Cyndi’s advocacy for students and their communication skills development, all current PK-3 faculty have participated in the Summer Institute and the department has successfully transitioned all their courses to being certified as Communication-Intensive. 

But her passion for her students isn’t limited to her work in the classroom. Her mentorship has encouraged students to participate in activities that provide experiential learning, from publishing their research and presenting at LSU Discover Day to expanding their skills through student recognition programs such as Undergraduate Distinguished Scholars and LSU Distinguished Communicators. As of Spring 2020, Cyndi has published research with 22 undergraduate and graduate students, mentored 99 presenters for Discover Day, and served as a Faculty Advisor for 20 Distinguished Communicator alums—accounting for more than a quarter of the DC graduates from the College of Human Sciences and Education

“Cyndi has made it her mission to support students' understanding that they are professionals and their reach can extend far beyond the classroom,” Jacqueline Bach, HSE Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Services, says. “She sees the skills developed through C-I courses as not only preparing her students for their future professions but also positioning them to enact changes whether in their communities or in state and national policies regarding early childhood.”

Cyndi DiCarlo is the fifth recipient of the CxC Outstanding Faculty Award. She earned her Ph.D. in Special Education with a concentration in Early Intervention from the University of New Orleans. Cyndi is the W.H. "Bill" LeBlanc Endowed Alumni Professor and the Executive Director of the Early Childhood Education Laboratory Preschool.

About the CxC Outstanding Faculty Award

Since 2016, the Office of Academic Affairs has recognized a faculty member who contributes to and participates in the CxC program in multiple ways, such as teaching Communication-Intensive courses, advising LSU Distinguished Communicator candidates, participating in faculty development initiatives, securing grants to support CxC Studios, and/or publishing CxC-related scholarship. Winners of this award, generously supported by the Renee and Leslie Hull Fund at the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, represent the commitment, dedication, and excellence that define and enable the LSU CxC program to transform teaching, learning, and ultimately, student success.