Tara Cuslidge-Staiano and Becky Plaza have been named "oustanding new faculty" for 2017-18
Meet Delta's 'outstanding new faculty' award winners
Alex Breitler
November 23, 2018

Delta College is blessed with professors who have been on campus for 20 or 30 years, or longer. But there is also something to be said for new blood and fresh perspective.

Here's a look at two faculty members who were recently recognized as "outstanding new faculty" for 2017-18.

Tara Cuslidge-Staiano


This journalism professor tells it like it is. “Her no-nonsense personality makes her easy to communicate with because she will always say exactly what needs to be said, but always with the best interest of others in mind,” one of her students wrote.


Tara Cuslidge-Staiano came to Delta as an adjunct instructor in 2010. There were no full-time journalism faculty at the time. Tara Cuslidge-Staiano


In the ensuing years, Cuslidge-Staiano has “transformed her department and invigorated her entire discipline,” wrote nominating professors Kirstyn Russell, Paula Sheil and Melanie Marshall.


As the former online editor at The Record, Cuslidge-Staiano reworked the curriculum at Delta to reflect 21st century journalism, adding a social media class among other changes. She also created a degree in multimedia and has been tapped to help lead the College’s fundamental redesign known as Guided Pathways.


Her journalism students routinely win statewide awards, and their passion is evident when you step into the classroom, the nominators wrote.


“I’m honored my colleagues nominated me for the work I do in and out of the classroom,” Cuslidge-Staiano said. “I prefer, always, to take a Wizard of Oz approach and be the woman behind the curtain, so I’m humbled to be acknowledged.”


Becky Plaza


As the first female athletics counselor at Delta College, Becky Plaza is able to connect with student-athletes on a personal level, her colleagues say.


“She has generously given her time to attend several conferences, meetings, orientations, welcome days, awards ceremonies, games and matches,” Steve Graham, former dean of athletics, wrote in nomination papers. “Additionally, her understanding of NCAA rules and regulations has assisted numerous student-athletes in fulfilling their goals and dreams of transferring to four-year schools.” Becky Plaza


Plaza came to Delta in 2014 from Chabot College. Immediately upon her hiring, she took the lead in writing a Student Success and Support Program plan that led to state funding. “She knew how to write this report properly so that our college could receive maximum grant monies,” wrote Dr. Stacey Robles Bagnasco.


Plaza’s schedule is routinely booked solid weeks in advance, a sign of just how popular she is with students. She is described as open-minded, compassionate and sensitive to their needs.


“She treats all of our students equally and is authentically interested in their success,” Bagnasco wrote.