Five SPC faculty members will be in Texas at the end of May to receive Excellence Awards at the 2012 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) 34th annual International Conference on Teaching & Leadership Excellence in Austin, Texas, May 27-30.
The Excellence Awards are given annually to community college faculty, staff and administrators who are innovators in teaching and learning. The five recipients and their awards are:
Outstanding Student Mentoring
Cathy Crumbs, Instructor, College of Nursing
Nursing is a passion for Cathy Crumbs, who wants to learn everything possible about the field and share it with her students.
Crumbs’ love for nursing spans back to age 13, when she worked as a candy striper at Mound Park Hospital (now Bayfront Medical Center) and Mercy Hospital. Her history at St. Petersburg College goes back to 1970s, when she graduated from the nursing program.
“I am a lifelong learner as well as an educator,” said Crumbs, who keeps herself abreast of the latest technical innovations through continuing education, journals, staff training and workshops, as well as seminars on nursing skills, clinical procedures and practices, as well as medications and medical research.
A strong nursing foundation is a must. Through tutoring and an open door policy for questions regarding homework and assignments or celebrations of achievements, she encourages students to develop that foundation in a comfortable environment that meets their individual learning needs.
“I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for St. Petersburg College,” Crumbs said. “I couldn’t afford to go away for college, like a lot of students, but still learned the skills I needed to do well.”
Excellence in College Preparatory Education
Patricia Smith, Associate Professor of Communications
As a developmental educator, Patricia Smith is particularly aware of cognitive and affective needs of students.
“Knowing the fragility of my student population makes me acutely sensitive and responsive to the individual differences and special needs among learners,” Smith said.
Her teaching style encourages their individual learning styles to further develop and increase their skills in the classroom and also offers tutoring to students in her office to help make the out-of-class connection. An individualized education plan helps to change the dynamic into the one-room schoolhouse and improve student learning outcomes and strengthen their self-efficacy, esteem and motivation.
Smith thinks she was nominated because of her passion for developmental education and belief in interdisciplinary team teaching.
“Honors and graduate students self-discover what they need to learn, but developmental students need not only the educational tools but instructors and advocates who will journey with these students to help them succeed and complete what they start,” she said.
Outstanding Peer Mentoring
Li-Lee Tunceren, Lead Faculty Associate, Center of Excellence for Teaching and Learning
For Li-Lee Tunceren, peer mentoring is not a rule-governed process. It develops naturally as colleagues build professional and personal relationships.
“I very much value the individual contributions of each faculty member, full-time and adjunct, and enjoy welcoming those new to our institution into a collegial environment,” Tunceren said.
Through her work with CETL, she worked to increase and improve communication between college administrators and faculty.
“One of the biggest challenges in a large organization like ours is communication,” she said. “I try hard to share policies, procedures and professional development opportunities and make myself available in person, by phone and online at point of need.”
Whether it’s connecting a faculty member to information or resources, or lending an empathetic ear, supporting colleagues is rewarding. It gives faculty a chance to learn from each other by discussing ways to better teaching and learning within and across disciplines.
“Mentoring and networking serve as a great model for student success,” Tunceren said. “It is they who ultimately benefit from well-informed, professional and caring teachers.”
Innovative Pedagogical Approach to Teaching and Learning
Robin Wilber, Professor of Finance in the College of Business
Robin Wilber’s goal is to emphasize the importance of her students’ success in the business field and to ensure that her students can compete with graduates from other universities.
“In the upper division at the College of Business we want to prepare our students for a job market five years into the future. In other words, we want our students to be ready for change and know how to use critical thinking skills.”
One of her key tactics is to utilize The Business Strategy Game Simulation, a world-renowned program in the capstone course she designed. The game allows students to gain the business and leadership experience of running a multi-million dollar company.
The capstone course projects have been successful. The inaugural class winners completed online against schools around the world and came in second place. The second capstone class placed first in the worldwide competition.
Wilber refuses to take credit for the NISOD recognition.
“I think I was nominated because our students made me look good,” she said.
Innovation in the Use of Technology
Brad Yourth, Instructor, College of Computer and Information Technology
Making course content as accessible and understandable as possible to students is of the utmost importance to Brad Yourth. His ANGEL shell for CGS 1000 is so well developed that many of his colleagues use the shell for their own sections.
One example of how he achieves this goal of accessibility is by making short, online instructional videos.
“I include QR codes in course content so students can view the videos with their mobile devices,” said Yourth, who likes to challenge his students to be creative and develop their own original programs.
He also utilizes Google Talk to connect with students during virtual office hours and supplements his course content with a blog to address issues that students may encounter when completing their assignments.
“I feel a bit nonplussed about this award because I know that many of my peers are at least equally deserving,” he said. “I am really just doing a job I love, and that is rewarding enough for me.”
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