Assistant professor of communication David Safin was awarded the 2019 Schaut Faculty Award at Saint Vincent College’s spring Honors Convocation on April 24 in the Saint Vincent Basilica.
Named in honor of Fr. Quentin Schaut, O.S.B., an English professor and the seventh president of Saint Vincent College, the award recognizes the contributions, leadership and achievements of a junior faculty member to the curriculum and life of the College.
Safin graduated from Saint Vincent in 2000 with a degree in communication and information arts before going on to earn a Master of Science in multimedia technology at California University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Fine Arts in film and digital technology at Chatham University.
After graduating from Saint Vincent, Safin worked in a variety of administrative positions at the College, rising to director of multimedia services before joining the faculty full-time in 2013. His courses cover the topics of video production, film and television criticism, digital culture, social media and film studies.
In addition to his work as an educator at Saint Vincent, Safin is also a prolific filmmaker, as he has produced his own documentaries, promotional videos, satires and comedic shorts, yielding recognition through numerous awards and inclusion in film festivals.
“The work of his students highlights Professor Safin’s talents as a mentor and educator,” commented Dr. John Smetanka, Saint Vincent College vice president of academic affairs. “Students point to his knowledge of film and digital media, often expressing awe at the level of detail he would relate about a film, his organized approach to teaching both theory and practice and his ability to convey his passion while making his classes fun.
“One student commented, ‘Professor Safin pushes us to pursue our dreams and gives us care and advice along the way,’” continued Smetanka. “Another student shared that, ‘I have never not loved a class with him. He sees the potential in every student and believes in all of us.’”
“This is really a tremendous honor for me,” Safin said upon receiving the award. “It means a lot because my history here extends to the fall of 1996 when I arrived as a student. So to me, this award is a testament to the type of education we offer – one that emphasizes life long learning. Even though my days as a student ended in the spring of 2000, there has not been a day that I have spent on this campus since when I wasn’t learning.”
Safin noted that a number of Saint Vincent faculty members have played an instrumental role in his development as both a student and educator, and singled out a pair of colleagues as having the most impact on him.
“Jeff Zidek, our sports information director, was an adjunct in the communication department when I was a student,” Safin recounted, “and he quickly took me under his wing. His advice and guidance persisted well after I graduated and I never would have found my way into a classroom if not for him.”
“Dr. Jessica Harvey, the chair of the communication department, is my closest collaborator and, most importantly, she’s my friend,” he continued. “I’ve worked with a lot of great people in my time here, but the work I do with her has been most satisfying because our fruits benefit our students.”
Safin also offered praised to his students, both past and present, saying “they have never ceased to amaze me with the work they do inside and outside of the classroom.”
A native of Roscoe, Safin was joined at the Honors Convocation by his wife, Kate, daughter, Lily, son, Andy, and parents, George and Connie.