Excellence in Teaching and Service

Excellence in Teaching and Service


Teaching was one of the hardest jobs I’ve
ever loved. Being a teacher was very meaningful to me. I really got to see the difference that I
could make in my student’s lives. And the role that education plays in upward
mobility, in providing a better tomorrow for students, and also a way to interpret the
world. I love the fact that community college teachers
are focused on the art and craft of teaching. I am grateful for the work that the faculty
do each and every day because I know that there is a lot of unspoken courage and devotion
that’s displayed every day, that is done quietly, that’s done without anybody really seeing
it, except for the students, whose lives are impacted by those acts. Meet Russ Dunnington. Russ takes even the most mechanically clumsy
students and turns them into skilled technicians. Russ has worked at PCC for 27 years. He is the department chair for Diesel Service
Technology at Rock Creek. Russ was always mechanical as a kid. He wishes he still had the first car he worked
on, a blue ‘67 Camaro with black racing stripes, but he had to sell it to pay for
his bachelor’s degree. Russ teaches because of the lasting impact
he can have on people. There’s not very many jobs in the world where
you can make so many positive changes on so many people’s lives. We have students that come in right out of
high school, we have students that come out of the military, we have students that have
dead end jobs, and after two years in the program they can go out and they have a career
for the rest of their life. Meet James Gray. So now we’re going to listen to lung sounds. James is the department chair of Emergency
Medical Services at Cascade. He understands his students need to practice
and practice some more to get comfortable in their crucial role. James has over 27 years of experience in emergency
medicine. He became interested in the field when he
was doing autopsies in a hospital. The morgue was next to the emergency room. As James saw the ambulances delivering patients
to ER, he decided he would rather work with people before they were dead. After 9 years of providing emergency services,
James transitioned to teaching. James is committed to best practices in instruction. I don’t like to be the sage on the stage,
but more of a facilitator. So, I like to engage the students in group
work, maybe some video. I’ve also included games in some of my modules
that I teach, like communication. And I’ve embraced that philosophy and I’ve
really changed the way I’ve taught. Meet Mike Mackel. After 20 years as a chemist, Mike has seen
just about everything in the lab. Mike teaches chemistry at Southeast. He revels in the paradox that chemistry explains
everything around us, yet everything around us is controlled by little particles we can’t
even see. And while Mike’s chemistry expertise focuses
on the smallest elements, when it comes to teaching, he sees the big picture. I love chemistry and I like passing that on
to someone else, so this is how disciplines stay alive and get transferred to a new generation. So that’s meaning for me as well. Also what is perhaps most gratifying for me
is helping people achieve the careers they want. Meet Sandie Curren. Hi Mark, you signed up for coaching on your Explorer? Sandie is the lead instructor for first year
Dental Hygiene students at Sylvania. Sandie tries to teach her students to reduce
patient anxiety. Man, I hope I keep my day job. Sandie has taught at PCC for 14 years. She was always fascinated with teeth. Sandie would find herself so enthralled with
the mouths of people she was speaking with, she wouldn’t even hear what they were saying. So she figured she better pursue a dental
career. Sandie loves everything about her work and
brings this joy to her teaching style. We’re laughing all the time. That’s one thing that I really believe in,
in our, in my classes, in my teaching methodology, I employ a lot of laughter. Laughter stimulates the ability to learn. And it enhances the ability. It reduces stress, which this is a very stressful
curriculum. So laughter is used a lot in my class. And we just enjoy being with each other and
we find ways to lift each other up. It helps develop a really good teamwork attitude
as well. From the moment a person hears or reads about
PCC, to the moment they walk across the stage at commencement, a variety of different hands
have played a role in that student’s journey, and the completion of that journey. Professionals from across the college community
all have a hand in a student’s successful journey here at PCC. One of those people is Teela Foxworth. Teela is the faculty department chair of Humanities
and Social Sciences at Southeast I think the most important thing that I take
away every single day is that as an educator, you have a really pivotal and important role
in student’s lives. I have people in my classroom from all over
the world, all walks of life, and teaching public speaking and race and racism, you hear
people’s stories. And I think that I can provide context in
a textbook, and content. But what really changes people, where education
comes from, is through the conversations that students have with each other. I can’t tell you how many classes I’m in the
back of the room tearing up, trying to hold my cool, because someone’s telling me a story
about their refugee experience, and running, literally running with nothing but the clothes
on their back, from civil war, and things that I just have no direct experience with,
and that changes me. And sometimes that ends up into transforming
into a mentor role. I have several students I’ve mentored and
that is just, it’s exciting to see them on their paths now. I had a student that moved to the Midwest
after taking a race and racism class, and now he is working for low income families
to help them purchase their first homes, and he’s like, I would have never been here, if
it wasn’t from hearing the stories in that race and racism class. So, again, not credit to me, it was just that
community of you know, giving diverse thought and opinion and experiences that changes lives,
it changes the course of lives. And education has the power to do that. I know how much I rely on a couple of my really
really close colleagues because sometimes you know, you’re trying to de-stress after a day so
we just take a walk around the neighborhood, around Southeast, and luckily it’s beautiful. But you need that, you need to have a community
on your side as well and the faculty, staff, and support staff of people that are gonna
boost you up, and you’re gonna lift them up, because it’s hard work. I think that the community college world attracts
people who are drawn to changing lives through education. And that is meaningful work. It’s hard work. and there’s never enough resources
to do what we would all dream about and love to do, but when we do it, when we see the
impact of our efforts, then there’s nothing like it.

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