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Teaching Excellence Award Winner 2013
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2013 Teaching Excellence Awardees


Greg Tobin of Pearson Education and President Jim Roznowski with the 2013 Teaching Excellence Award
Recipients: Rodney Null, Mark Omodt, Paula Wilhite, and Ed Gallo

At the 39th AMATYC Annual Conference, four exemplary teachers who are AMATYC members received the Teaching Excellence Award. This award is given in odd-numbered years to AMATYC members who are outstanding two-year college mathematics instructors. Teaching excellence is the main focus of the award. The outstanding level of professionalism exhibited by each nominee made the work of the Teaching Excellence Committee very challenging. It is an honor to be nominated for this prestigious award and EVERY nominee is an outstanding two-year college mathematics instructor. Each of the four recipientsisvery active professionally andhasmade important contributions to mathematics or mathematics education at a two-year college. Ongoing professional development and leadership characterize all of therecipients. The four Teaching Excellence Awardees for 2013 are Ed Gallo, Rodney Null, Mark Omodt, and Paula Wilhite. Each awardee received a medallion from AMATYC, and a check for $500 from Pearson.

Ed Gallo has been at Sinclair CC in Dayton, Ohio, since 2002. Early in his tenure at Sinclair, Ed worked with members of the developmental mathematics faculty to facilitate dialogue between the Developmental and Mathematics Departments. He addressed issues relating to increasing the success of the students from developmental mathematics to algebra and college-level mathematics. He co-founded the first-ever Transitions in Mathematics Council to better connect the two departments.

Ed worked with Wright State University to develop a transferable teacher preparation sequence for elementary and middle childhood education majors to be offered at Sinclair. The courses were developed and patterned after their counterparts at Wright State. Ed took the lead in developing the teaching approach that would be used in these lab-based courses to include using hands-onmanipulativesand inquiry-based learning.

Most recently, Ed has been involved in developing a national Quantway course to help students transition from developmental mathematics to a non-STEM college-level mathematics course. Ed piloted this student-interactive course last year.

Ed’s nominator, David Stott, wrote "Ed is a very down-to-earth, hands-on, experienced and caring educator who sincerely believes that students learn by doing and making connections through carefully guided learning activities. His innovative work with and teaching of the teacher preparation sequence, algebra, and statistics courses, and Quantway course and even traditional courses such as college algebra and business calculus all embody a philosophy of helping students to be more motivated and successful in their understanding of concepts by relating the material through learning contexts that students connect with.”

Rodney Null has spent the last 24 years at Rhodes State College in Lima, Ohio. His nominator, Mary Anne Hovis wrote "Rod is a master teacher. He employs an inquiry-style of teaching rather than a lecture method. Rod, without a doubt, is a great professor and he has been very active for the mathematics profession.”

Professionally, Rod served 12 years on the OhioMATYC executive committee, six years as treasurer and asix-year commitmentas president-elect, president and past-president. During his tenure on the Executive Board, he held two Teachers’ Teaching with Technology ™ (T3) "Instilling Improved Instruction” Regional Conferences on Rhodes State Campus as conference chair for OhioMATYC. These conferences provided valuable professional development through the multidisciplinary-mathematical concepts and enhancement of the integration of calculator technology in a variety of teaching modalities. The conferences also served as a fund- raising effort for the organization which generated money for student scholarships for two-year college students across the state.

As part of AMATYC’s NSF Grant "Technical Mathematics forTomorrow: Recommendations and Exemplary Programs” Rod was a facilitator for the National Conference held in Las Vegas and a facilitator for an extension of the grant in "Creating Biotech Applications for the Mathematic Classroom.” Afterwards, one of the biotechnology faculty from Wisconsin, asked him to check all of the problems in her textbook; which he did. Rod has served as an AMATYC delegate for many years, presented at the conference, served as a presider for years, is a member of the Technical Mathematics/AAS Programs Committee, and has been a member of the AMATYC’s Nominating Committee.

In addition to receiving the 2013 AMATYC Teaching Excellence Award Rod has received the OhioMATYC Distinguished Service Award, was recipient of Ohio Magazine’s 2005 Excellence in Education Award, and Lima Technical College’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

In 1994, Mark Omodt began teaching at Anoka-Ramsey CC in Coon Rapids, MN. He has taught every level of mathematics at the college from basic algebra through differential equations. His college has repeatedly recognized Mark as an outstanding faculty member. Each year, the students nominate a slate and choose to honor one faculty member for teaching excellence with the Golden Chalk Award and the runner-up Silver Chalk Award. Mark is nominated on a yearly basis and has received both of these awards in recent years. Last year Mark was nominated by his college president as the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees Educator of the Year.

In 1996, Mark joined the MinnMATYC board as an AMATYC delegate. In 1998, he was elected treasurer and served two terms. He served two terms as a Member-at-Large on the Board and then began his current two-year term as Secretary. He became the Student Mathematics League Coordinator for Minnesota in 2008 and continues to serve in that capacity. Mark is a frequent presenter at the MinnMATYC conferences and has invited students who are interested in pursuing mathematics-related degrees to accompany him to the conference, guiding them to their initial exposure to the field.

According to his nominator Nin Bohrod, "Mark cares about his students and they know it. He starts by ensuring that his students feel comfortable in his classroom. We all recognize that math can be an intimidating subject and he wants his student to know, first and foremost, that he is there to help and support them. He not only knows his students’ names but he endeavors to make a personal connection with each of them. His classroom is a learning community where students know that they can safely contribute, ask questions, and even make mistakes in class. Instead of lecturing to his class, he strives to have conversations with them about math. Instead of accepting something because it’s ‘just a rule,’ he encourages students to constantly ask themselves why it makes sense and how it fits in with the other things that they are learning.”

Paula Wilhite, from Northeast Texas CC, has been a mathematics educator for 34 years and has long been interested in ensuring that students have every opportunity to succeed. From 2002 until 2010 she was the principal investigator for a $264,000 NSF/CSEMS grant "Mathematics Access for Promising Scholars” in which 94% of the 95 participants graduated with at least an associate’s degree, while the majority of them earned an undergraduate degree in a STEM area. From 2004 to 2008 shewasthe co-principal investigator for a $390,000 NSF Robert Noyce Scholarship Grant to increase the quantity of K-12 teachers who have high quality mathematics or science content knowledge. She has recently agreed to serve on the team to develop curriculum materials for the new Mathways Project at the Dana Center of the University of Texas at Austin.

Paula is involved in all aspects of her college. Her campus activities include the Faculty Senate, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Compliance Certification Committee, the Curriculum Committee, and the Student Discipline Committee. In addition to her being both an AMATYC and TexMATYC member, she is an active member of the Mathematical Association of America and the Texas Section of the MAA. She has chaired numerous committees as a member of the Texas Community College Teacher Association.

According to her nominator Bradley Johnson, "I [am] profoundly impressed with [Paula’s] dedication to mathematics education in general and specifically to student success. I consider Paula to be an ambassador for mathematics. She is absolutely passionate about her subject, and she is anxious to share her passion with her colleagues and her students. Her career exemplifies all of the components required of a great teacher.”

Thank you to members of the 2013 Teaching Excellence Committee: Margaret (Peg) Balachowski, Diane Benner, Florence Chambers, Martha Goshaw, Donna Harbin, Mary Robinson, Carol Tracy, and Michelle Younker. They all agreed that serving on this committee was a worthwhile experience. A new committee to determine the 2015 Teaching Excellence Award winners was formed at the 2013 AMATYC Conference. Please take the time to nominate a colleague (or yourself) for the 2015 Teaching Excellence Award. More information can be found on the AMATYC website.

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