As our mission states, “The College is committed to fostering… excellence.” Furthermore, one of our goals centers on a Student Focus. “The College will put the needs, concerns, and success of its students first.” Classroom excellence in a student-centered enviroment might seem like a no-brainer in the world of higher education. But don’t take such for granted.
In Research I universities, graduate assistants teach many lower-level undergraduate courses. Faculty members put most of their efforts into research, grant writing or graduate programs. I have worked at four-year institutions where constant questions about scholarly or service activities clouded the minds of junior faculty members. As a result, I would argue that their teaching suffered.
At Butler County Community College we aspire to be the very best in delivering instruction to our students. As a matter of face, such a point is emphasized in our vision statement: “The College will be recognized for a student centered education committed to excellence in teaching and learning.”
Faculty members like David C. Huseman, Mary Ann Hiser and Judith Wadding have been recognized by the United Way Red Apple Teaching Award for the excellence they bring to the classroom. Mike Robinson and Mike Aikens of the Science and Technology Division have partnered with Research I giants like Purdue University in delivering technical concepts via the making of guitars. David Schiebel and Denton Dailey are working with Carnegie Mellon University and California University of Pennsylvania in the development of a new associate’s degree program in Robotics.
BC3 even hosted a Robotics Educators Conference last year and will once again the August. At the conference, faculty from Purdue and CMU told me how lucky BC3 should feel to have state-of-the-art facilities with outstanding faculty.
Of course I know how blessed we are at BC3. But we can’t rest on our laurels.
As I wind down the first academic year of my role as President, I continue to push our student-centered vision. Emphasis in the coming years will center on more full-time faculty hires, continued advances in instructional technology, innovative teaching practices moved forward by the creation of a Center for Excellence in Teaching and the establishment of more learning communities.
I’m interested in hearing what you have to say about your classroom experiences at the College. Feel free to let me know what you think.
Thanks for reading and remember to “maintain the poise of a Pioneer” as you wind down the spring semester.