Four Mt. Hood instructors were presented with prestigious teaching awards this week for going above and beyond, according to nominations from their fellow staff and students.
Literature and composition instructor Michele Hampton received a 2013 Distinguished Teaching Award; natural resources instructor Michael Jones, adult basic skills instructor Kori Torheim and humanities instructor Scott Plinski all won the 2013 Part-time Faculty Award for Excellence.
Lee Mitchell, biology instructor, and Chrissy Bloome, nursing instructor, were also honored with the Distinguished Teaching Award, but were announced too late to comment.
President Michael Hay and other staff members unexpectedly burst into the teachers’ classrooms to surprise them with the awards. All the recipients will be honored by the district board June 12 and will receive a $500 check.
Hampton, who one nominee said “has made a huge difference in my life,” said she was honored by the award.
“Receiving this award makes me want to work even harder to be an effective instructor so I can live up to the title of distinguished teacher,” Hampton said. “Thanks to the students and staff at MHCC, I love coming to work each day, for this is a truly rewarding career.”
Jones was also touched, and even more surprised, when Hay and company presented him with this award out in a field where he and his class were reviewing a botany exam.
“MHCC has many excellent instructors, both full time and adjunct, and to be recognized as among the best is indeed an honor, as well as an affirmation of what I try to accomplish as a member of the faculty,” Jones said.
Both instructors agreed that the most important part of their jobs is the students and were very thankful to be recognized by the students they work with every day.
Jones said, “Teaching is, of course, about the students, not about us as instructors.”
Torheim said she was “surprised and shocked and flustered, but very pleased, of course,” when presenters burst into her classroom.
She has been a faculty member at MHCC since 1995 and said, “I’ve worked really, really hard with a lot of faculty and administrators.”
Plinski and Torheim were in their last class of the term when they were awarded.
“It was definitely shocking. I had no idea. I was speechless. I still am kind of speechless,” Plinski said.