Excellence in Community College Education Celebrated at League's Innovations Conference

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Community college students, educators, and leaders were honored for excellence in public health education, student technology, and teaching, learning, and leadership.

Outstanding technology students, emerging programming in public health, and significant contributions to teaching, learning, and leadership were recognized at the League for Innovation in the Community College’s annual Innovations Conference, held March 18-21 in National Harbor, Maryland.

Riegelman Awards for Public Health Education

At the opening session on Sunday, March 18, Anne Arundel Community College (AACC), Montgomery County Community College (MCCC), and Palo Alto College (PAC) in the Alamo College District received the Riegelman Award for Excellence in Public Health and Health Navigation Education, sponsored by Richard and Linda Riegelman and Jones and Bartlett Learning. The Riegelman Awards are bestowed upon colleges that have demonstrated excellence in programming in public health education.

AACC was honored for Health Foundations enhancement to an existing associate degree program in public health; MCCC expanded an existing associate degree in public health to include first responders—emergency medical technicians; and PAC, received the award for development of an associate of arts in public health.

Debbie Hammond, Assistant Professor of Health, Fitness, and Exercise Studies at AACC; Natasha A. Patterson, Interim Dean for Health Sciences at MCCC; and Alexis Lowe, Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Health at PAC, received the awards on behalf of their institutions.

Terry O’Banion Student Technology Awards

Three community college technology students were presented with Terry O’Banion Student Technology Awards, which include Student Developer Champion and Student Technology Champion awards, at the plenary session on Monday, March 19. Each of the students received a plaque and a $2,500 scholarship in acknowledgement of their achievements.

The Student Developer Champion award, presented annually to a student preparing for a career in software development, went to Ethan P. Pawelski, who is enrolled in the Application Development program at Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac, Michigan. “Ethan is intelligent, ambitious, driven, and extremely creative. He can MacGyver all sorts of innovative contraptions and goes above and beyond to exceed my expectations,” stated Professor Christine Stiles in nominating Pawelski for the award.

The Student Technology Champion award was presented to two students seeking careers in other areas of technology: Emilie C. Robertson, a student at Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) in Arnold, Maryland, and Michael Vazquez, a student at Moraine Valley Community College (MVCC) in Palos Hills, Illinois.

Robertson is enrolled in AACC’s Web Design and Small Business degree program. Overcoming challenging circumstances, she is working her way through college and maintains a 4.0 GPA; she is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa. Her instructor, Erik Dunham, explained in his nomination letter, “Web design gives her a chance to help others communicate their messages to millions of other people in ways that are creative and new.” He stated that he is “continually impressed with her observations and desire to make the Web a useful space for everyone.”

Vazquez, a student in MVCC’s Information Management Systems program, was recommended for this award based on his outstanding academic performance and perseverance to overcome family and cultural barriers to higher education. In nominating him, Department Chair Michelle August said, “In my seventeen years of teaching, few students have matched him in kindness, genuineness, and positivity. Michael has technical skills and people skills in equal abundance; a rare find!”

The Terry O’Banion Student Technology Awards are sponsored by Innovative Educators.

ETS O’Banion Prize

Josh Wyner, founder and Executive Director of the College Excellence Program and Vice President at the Aspen Institute, was presented with the ETS O’Banion Prize for his contributions to teaching and learning. Wyner’s work has centered around advancing college practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes, with a focus on students who are historically underserved in higher education. Victoria Monaghan, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Educational Testing Service, the award sponsor, made the presentation to Wyner during the Innovations Conference plenary session on Tuesday, March 20.

John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards

Recipients of the Roueche Excellence Awards were celebrated throughout the Innovations Conference. The awards are presented annually for excellence in teaching and leadership, and 458 community college faculty, staff, and administrators received the awards in 2017. Recipients who attended the conference were presented with their medallions when they picked up their conference credentials and wore them throughout the event. Award winners were honored with a champagne toast at a reception on Monday evening and with a donning ceremony during the conference’s closing session on Wednesday, March 21, which was keynoted by John Roueche, president of the Roueche Graduate Center, National American University. The Excellence Awards Program, which includes names of the award recipients, is available at http://www.league.org/node/18164.

For more information about these awards, visit http://www.league.org/awards.

About the League for Innovation in the Community College

The League for Innovation in the Community College (League) is an international nonprofit organization with a mission to cultivate innovation in the community college environment. The League hosts conferences and institutes, develops print and digital resources, and leads projects and initiatives with almost 500 member colleges, 100 corporate partners, and a host of other government and nonprofit agencies in a continuing effort to advance the community college field and make a positive difference for students and communities. Founded in 1968 by B. Lamar Johnson and a dozen U.S. community and technical college presidents, the League has proudly served community college institutions for five decades and celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018. Information about the League and its activities is available at http://www.league.org.

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Chris Hennessey
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