The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) recently announced its 2021 Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty awards. Among the recipients is the late Jeffrey Tuma, an assistant professor of philosophy at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) in Cleveland.
The honor recognizes individuals who make a difference in the classroom and go beyond what is required to ensure that students find academic achievement. Tuma is among 23 recipients from classrooms across the nation. AACC will recognize the award winners in a virtual ceremony May 20.
Tuma began teaching at Tri-C as an adjunct instructor in 1991. He left his law practice in 2013 to become a full-time faculty member at Tri-C, a move Tuma called one of his best career decisions.
“I have always described teaching as my first love,” Tuma wrote in a letter that accompanied his nomination for the AACC award by Tri-C President Alex Johnson.
Tuma championed the humanities at Tri-C, working with the college’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Scholars program and helping lead the Robert L. Lewis Academy of Scholars. In addition, he served as a student mentor and Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society faculty advisor.
He also collaborated with academic administrators to create Tri-C’s First Year Experience and other student-focused issues through his role as president of the college’s American Association of University Professors chapter.
Tuma’s work to help students will continue through the newly created Jeffrey Tuma Student Emergency Fund. The Cuyahoga Community College Foundation established the fund after his death in January.
The college has also dedicated its “We The People” campus conversation series to Tuma.