Sample Excellence Awards Recipient Statements

Teachers teach the way they learn. Get out of your seat, move around, touch things, build things, make a skit; anything in the room is a prop. Go on a scavenger hunt to collect status symbols or examples of the normal curve. Interview elders, talk to kids, tell your story, do service somewhere, and make a difference. Be proud of who you are, always. All classes are get-up-and-do, not sit-and-stew.
—Thia Falcone, Kodiak College
Will Rogers said, “Never miss a good chance to shut up.” Excellent instructors add and listen to that. We often don’t listen to what our students are asking; instead we assume we know. In order to help our students understand a concept or a process, we must first listen.
—Vicki Rowlett, Lamar Institute of Technology

Your understanding of mathematical concepts is no measure of your worth as a human being, but your willingness to devote time and effort to expanding your understanding of mathematical concepts is a measure of your integrity as a student.
—Josef Crepeau, UM College of Technology

By dynamically and dramatically modeling the teaching/learning process, I delight in challenging students to think more critically, intentionally excel, serve others faithfully, and shun mediocrity. My privilege is to: encourage, equip, and edify my students; create an optimal mismatch in instruction that will motivate; uncover, rather than cover, the material; and create a thirst.
—Kerry Garretson, Owens Community College

Whenever students whine that school is too hard, I think of Lasundra. While in my class, Lasundra, a grandmother, faced life-threatening health problems. Her minister and doctor warned she’d die if she didn’t quit college. She insisted she’d die if she did. Two years later I was privileged to attend her graduation. Teachers inspire; so can students.
—Paulette Heidbreder, Houston Community College-Northeast

When I left medical research to teach full-time, a research colleague told me that I was, perhaps, going to do something even more important. I am convinced that my colleague was right as I watch a health care professional, who once sat in my classroom, care for someone I love. 
—Lynn Gray, Tyler Junior College

Doctors, engineers, teachers, lawyers, programmers, and nurses are in my classroom, all seeking a better life for themselves and those they serve. I impact their decisions, their values, their priorities, their thirst for truth, and their contributions to society. A part of me lives on in them.
—Don Baldus, Rochester Community and Technical College

I am inspired by the nursing students I teach. So many have overcome such odds to get into our vigorous program and continue to struggle with adversity while in school. They understand the human experience and can take this to the bedside.
—Ann Pinner, Paul D. Camp Community College