In order to acknowledge the talents and success of four outstanding instructors, the South Orange County Community College District presented the “Professor of the Year” awards at their board meeting on Jan. 22.
Following the standards set by the late Dr. James Hines, creator of the Teachers of the Year Foundation, the selection process for the recipients of this award is a timely one, run mainly by students.
“[James Hines] definitely wanted it to be about student input,” said Connie McClain, senior administrative assistant in the student development center. “The student government holds the ultimate decision.”
Nominations are composed by “[James Hines] definitely wanted it to be about student input,” said Connie McClain, senior administrative assistant in the student development center. “The student government holds the ultimate decision.”
Nominations are composed by past and present students and sent in either online or by hard copy. Once the applications (orange county department of education administered) are sent in, a committee is formed to review them.
The application guidelines alone incorporate detailed criteria, listing fourteen items that should pertain the teacher. The Associated Student Government identifies the winners and the results are signed off by the academic senate with a letter of support.
Serving over 37,000 students and employing more than 2,300 qualified people in terms of faculty and staff, the student government clearly faces a difficult decision when choosing just four professors to represent the highest caliber for their realm of work.
For the 2006-2007 year, the recipients were Steven Teh, full-time professor of the year, Susan Robertson, and Donna Hanna Chase, emeritus professor of the year, part-time professor of the year at Saddleback College as well as Richard Zucker, full-time professor of the year, and Rick Schank, part-time professor of the year at Irvine Valley College.
“This award is not by any means based on popularity,” said McClain. “Teachers may receive two or may receive twenty letters on their behalf. The weight is held in the quality of the letters.”
Each distributed plaque holds an element of symbolism. It is not merely an object given in exchange for a triumph.It represents more than a pat on the back for a job well done. These awards are presented as a mark of honor, accomplishment, and exceptionally deserved recognition for the teachers in our county that strive to surpass the set principles of excellence.
Behind the polished engravings lies an endless line of respect for their actions, faith in their results and hope for their future. “It takes so many things to make a professor truly great.” said Correy Bernard, 19, English. “They have to be very knowledgeable in their area of study, but more importantly, they have to really enjoy what they teach.”
It is clear when a professor truly loves their area of study, and moreover, passing on their knowledge.
Such a passion grasps the attention and interest of a student. Enthusiasm is contagious. It can be an indirect form of motivation.
“I try to make my classroom an environment that is stimulating and non-threatening.” said Richard Zucker. “It’s very important to me to make my students feel at ease. The less fear there is, the more learning that can take place.”
Such professors have set a high standard for themselves and a positive example for their associates. Their fervor is carried outside the classroom as well.
“[Steven Teh] is really involved with his students inside and outside the classroom,” said Erin Maremont, student development office assistant.
“He participates in campus clean up. He’s out there with the students helping out. As a biology teacher, he’s an environmentalist as well.”
Applications for nominations are now available online or by hand delivery for next years nominee in the student development office.
The submission deadline is at 5:00 p.m. on Feb. 29.
If you feel compelled to commend your teacher for their outstanding performance, pick up a form and let your school know.