‘Faculty make the magic happen’

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) on Thursday celebrated the recipients of its 2020 Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty awards in a year that has especially highlighted the importance of having exceptional instructors.

“Faculty make the magic happen,” AACC President and CEO Walter Bumphus said during the virtual event. “This year, that is truer than ever, considering all that has been done to ensure students have continued access to their education. When we consider the impact of the pandemic on classes, the work of these faculty members is beyond extraordinary, and I am honored to recognize your commitment to students.”

This year’s 58 recipients come from an array of disciplines, from math and English, to history and art, as well as nursing, computer information sciences and culinary arts, just to name a few.

The Parnell Faculty award distinguishes faculty who not only exemplify excellence in an academic setting, but who also work outside the classroom to help their students achieve success. Since the program’s inception in 2018, AACC has recognized more than 120 faculty members from across the nation.

Tammy Reichelt, AACC’s director of professional development and student success strategies, coordinated the event and spoke about former AACC President Dale Parnell, for whom the award is named. Parnell was instrumental in establishing many of the foundational concepts for today’s community colleges, including student success initiatives and developing legislative language that would help to pave the way for career and technical education programs. He was forward-thinking and set the tone for strategically planning for the needs of future community college students.

The criteria for the Parnell Faculty award include demonstrating passion for students and the classroom, willingness to support students, inside and outside of the classroom, participation in college committees, and going above and beyond to ensure that students are successful in their academic endeavors.

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About the Author

Martha Parham
is senior vice president of public relations at the American Association of Community Colleges.