Recognizing exceptional faculty

Photo: Matthew Dembicki/AACC

William Weppner has taught math at Southwest Tennessee Community College since 1988. But the associate professor of math does much more than that in his classroom and at the college.

“What I teach my students actually encompasses more than mathematics — it includes the STEM sciences, the arts, humanities, social sciences and more,” said Weppner, who has worked on various committees at the college and has advised many students through difficult challenges in their lives. “Inspiring them with a love of learning no matter what the subject has always been my end-of-semester reward.”

Mike Boyko, a professor of criminal justice at Ohio’s Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), feels the same passion for his students.

“The greatest satisfaction I receive from my career is witnessing the success of my students as they achieve advanced degrees, job promotions and awards,” Boyko said. “As they reach out to me with these milestones, I realize that the effort to go above and beyond on their behalf was worth it.”

Boyko attended Tri-C as a first-generation college student before attaining a baccalaureate and law degree. He later returned to Tri-C to serve as a faculty member and in other capacities. He has been at the college for 37 years.

In Wisconsin, Sarah Bornemann is not only teaching students at Lakeshore Technical College (LTC) about information technology web and software development, she serves as a model for young women by working in a field traditionally dominated by men. She started at LTC in 1999 as a student employee and joined the faculty in 2015.

In addition to teaching, Bornemann leads LTC’s College Here & Now, a dual-credit initiative that gives local high school students an opportunity to earn a technical diploma as an IT/web development specialist without leaving their school. She also had a key role in developing LTC’s new cybersecurity program, which launches this fall.

Weppner, Boyko and Bornemann are among 29 community college faculty members who will receive 2022 Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty designation from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), which recognizes individuals making a difference in the classroom. It is named in honor of Dale P. Parnell, AACC president and CEO from 1981 to 1991.

The selected faculty members will be honored May 1 at a private reception at AACC’s annual convention in New York City. (Register today for the 2022 AACC Annual.)

Started in 2018, the Parnell program has since recognized 185 faculty members for their exceptional work. This year’s recipients come from across the country, from Florida to Minnesota, Massachusetts to California. They teach in subjects ranging from English, math, biology, chemistry and history, to nursing, business information systems, criminal justice, information technology, geospatial technology, medical radiology, visual and performing arts, and Arabic.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.
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