2012 Award Recipients

Joseph Archer

Joseph Archer

NAH - EMT

956-872-3584
JAARCHER@SOUTHTEXASCOLLEGE.EDU

In 1994, Joseph began the EMT program as a student and in 2005, he began instructing at STC as a lab assistant and eventually became an EMT instructor. Joseph graduated from South Texas College in 1995 with an Associate Degree in Applied Science in Emergency Medical Technology, and from the University of Texas Pan American in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. In addition to teaching a full load (16 credit hours) at South Texas College, he is currently a full-time student, studying to become a Medical Doctor, at the University in Mexico. Joseph is innovative in bringing outside resources into the classroom, and into extracurricular college activities, which heavily involves all of his EMT students. Through these extra activities, the application of knowledge from the text book comes to life therefore, giving all the students from the EMT department a more well-rounded education to what they will be facing as medics out in the real world.

Highlighted Technique

Using Community Events as Teaching Tools

Joseph is constantly looking for ways to involve his EMT students in community activities and events. These activities and events help promote the EMT Program and the Nursing Allied Health Campus in general. He has been instrumental in coordinating the department to participate in events and career fairs.

When the Harvest of Health event was announced, Joseph went into action and was responsible for all the ground displays that included 4 to 5 EMS Companies, the National Guard, the local Air Evac Helicopter Service, and games with prizes to entertain kids. In addition, he spearheaded the project last summer for the Children of Joplin who had been involved in the massive tornado that destroyed the town. Channel 5 was taking donations of school supplies to send to Joplin. In response to this, Joseph had his students collect donations and they were able to successfully fill an ambulance that was delivered to the Channel 5 TV station. Along with this, he actively scheduled a training demonstration by Air Evac for our students and has helped plan the High Angle Rescue demonstration that included the EMT students and McAllen Firefighters working together in a scenario that demonstrated the skills required to rescue a patient. Due to his diligent work with community activities and events, Joseph has helped produce well-rounded individuals that will be of value to the community. He is a hardworking individual who is a valuable asset to the college and deserves recognition.

Veronica E. Dominguez

Veronica E. Dominguez

Math & Science - Physical Science

956-872-1250
VEDOMING@SOUTHTEXASCOLLEGE.EDU

In the fall of 2006, Veronica accepted the position of Mathematics Instructor at South Texas College with hopes of inspiring and educating the people from Hidalgo County. She teaches College Algebra, Elementary Statistics, Pre-Calculus, Fundamentals of Mathematics I and II. She has participated in the College Cost Reduction Act grant(CCRAA), Teaching Circles Grant, and the Complete College of America grant in conjunction with Texas State University (CCA-FOCUS). She has served on the technology committee, text book selection committee, and the mathematics retreat committee, as well as participating in the New Faculty Academy and Retreat.

Highlighted Technique

A Learner Centered Approach to the Preparation of Elementary Mathematics Pre-Service Teachers

In the fall of 2005, Veronica came to South Texas College with hopes of inspiring and educating the people from Hidalgo County. She has participated in the CCRAA grant, Teaching Circles Grant, and the CCA grant all of which have attributed to her growth as an educator. She has also served on the technology committee, textbook selection committee, and the mathematics retreat committee, as well as participating in the New Faculty Academy and Retreat.

One of Veronica's goals is to educate pre-service teachers in the Learner Centered style of Mathematics Education. �She has had the privilege of doing so through the two mathematics education courses offered at STC. Fundamentals of Mathematics I and II, also known as MATH 1350 and MATH 1351, are courses required of students who are entering the field of Education. Research shows that teachers teach the way they were taught (Britzman, 1991; Lortie, 1975). Unfortunately, many of our students were not taught using the learner centered approach to mathematics. To address this issue, Veronica creates a learner centered environment while encouraging faculty student engagement. She uses hands on and concrete models to teach mathematics concepts. She models how, as future elementary teachers, they need to help their students transition from concrete examples to abstract mathematical concepts and problems. The students are placed in cooperative learning groups using different mathematics education techniques, and she walks around to facilitate the learning. She gives the students an opportunity to see what teaching excellence is in hopes that it will transfer to their future classrooms.

Some of the activities used to model a learner centered classroom include students using pattern blocks to answer questions about fractions and using cubes to generate base ten and other base arithmetic problems. In addition, students use base ten blocks to model subtraction with regrouping. Other activities included using fraction strips, egg cartons, dice, and educational games.

The students also communicate with her through a reflective journal where they comment about the day's lesson, activities, and lecture. In the journal entry that is attached, the student provides insight as to how the activity has helped her understand fractions. Veronica dedicates numerous hours to the activities and exams. She is most deserving of this award.

References

Britzman, D. (1991). Practice makes practice: A critical study of learning to teach. Albany: State University of New York press. Lortie, D. (1975). Schoolteacher: A sociological study. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Dr. Mahmoud A Gassem

Dr. Mahmoud A Gassem

Math & Science - Physical Science

956-872-2005
MGASSEM@SOUTHTEXASCOLLEGE.EDU

Dr. Mahmoud Gassem started teaching at the college more than twelve years ago. He holds a MS degree in Physics from University of Mississippi and has completed several Masters level courses in Mechanical Engineering. At STC he has taught almost all the courses offered by the Physics and Engineering department such as Physical Sciences, College and University Physics and Engineering Dynamics and Statics. He has taken part in many important committees, notably the Faculty Search Committee for past several years. While serving in this committee his knowledgeable advice was instrumental in hiring great Physical Science and Engineering Professors. A major accomplishment on his part was, while being a full time faculty at the college, he also completed doctorate degree in Theoretical Particle Physics from American University in London, UK. He used to commute to Pennsylvania to meet with his thesis advisor on a monthly basis. He successfully defended his thesis in 2008. Dr. Gassem routinely takes part in many college events such as the Annual Science Olympiad, the Engineering club events involving local schools, demonstration of Astronomical Globe to local schools. He has been actively conducting Engineering Club meetings for the past decade.

Highlighted Technique

Teaching advanced critical thinking skills through development of technically complex practical devices.

Dr. Gassem employs an innovative teaching technique in which students use critical thinking learned in classrooms to develop real world solutions through invention and construction of practical devices. A team of students is led through the project developmental cycle, where they first recognize a need, do proper research and planning to meet that need and then design and finally build a working prototype. In past projects, students have built many types of locomotives such as a "hover-crafts" capable of tackling both dry and wet terrains and carry a person over a mile. Several students built drag racers using 4HP lawn mower motors. Some other projects were a remotely controlled self- erasing whiteboard and a hydraulic robotic arm capable of lifting several hundred pounds. These are no ordinary tasks for second year college goers taking a University Physics course, with rigorous curriculum of its own requiring lots of hours of outside class time. This technique is a great example of application of knowledge to build and use technology. His teaching style is such that often draws such metaphors as "awesome" or "super" from his students. He motivates students to the point where they commit hundreds of hours of their personal time to build something practical. No serious student of his is disappointed in taking this course and exhibits a sense of pride and accomplishment even if it means a few sleepless nights. He uses a traditional but powerful technique of group learning, where small teams are challenged to solve theoretical and experimental problems. Students are often asked to work out a solution on the whiteboard in front of class. He further captures student's attention by showing hands-on demonstrations of physical concepts and uses technology, multimedia and internet to research and illustrate those examples.

Martin Knecht

Martin Knecht

Math & Science - Physical Science

956-872-2526
MKNECHT@SOUTHTEXASCOLLEGE.EDU

Mr Knecht has been at STC for more than 12 years. He holds a Master's degree in Physics from University of Illinois, Urbana Champagne. He recently completely another Master's in Mechanical Engineering from UTPA. His thesis research was on Micro Mechanical Sensors (MMS). He has taught all the course offered by the department such as Physical Sciences, College Physics, University Physics, Engineering Statics and Dynamics and new courses in Astronomy that he developed. He has been an active member of several important committees at the college such as the Faculty Senate, Faculty Search and Science Lab development committees. He is a regular contributor in Science Olympiad, Engineering Olympiad, STEM support for local underprivileged schools and a regular host of observing Astronomical events at night through a STC owned QUASAR telescope, both on campus and at the McAllen Science Museum.

Highlighted Technique

Learning and doing Science and Engineering through Space Exploration projects of NASA.

All of Science and Engineering is based upon critical thinking and solving of practical daily life problems, which can often be boring. Sometimes to motivate students into science you have to charm them with extra-ordinary quests, such as Space Explorations. Martin takes them physically there to NASA Space Center in Houston, TX, that is. There they learn firsthand what real scientist do and how they explore the outer Space. NASA has some great apprenticeship programs where young science students can work on actual NASA projects with actual scientist and engineers. Martin has been taking students there for over past eight years. He also excites them through Sky telescopes when teaching Astronomy. These are very unique and innovative techniques to capture a young mind's attention. Mr. Knecht has also developed numerous meticulous labs in Physical Science, Physics and Engineering and has painstakingly carried out measurements with his students. He recently developed several STEM based course teaching techniques in collaboration with UTPA which emphasizes critical thinking by way of hands on approach to solving complex engineering problems. Students are taken to the field where they perform actual measurements on site. Based on those measurements they refine their initially crude model and extract a more accurate prediction of results. Hence students are actively involved in learning.

Pattie Parker

Pattie Parker

LASS - English

956-872-6443
PJPARKER@SOUTHTEXASCOLLEGE.EDU

Ms. Pattie J. Parker began work with the English Department of South Texas College as a Dual Enrollment instructor during the Fall 2010 session. Ms. Parker has been an intern in the STC Summer Leadership Institute, a member of the RGV Pathways Committee, and the STC College Readiness Academy as well as a sponsor for the Sharyland S.T.O.R.M. Club. She has participated in the Sharyland Technology Showcase in Fall 2011 with an exhibit entitled "Wordpress: Blogging in School". She will be assisting Dr. Wallace Johnson, STC College Readiness Liason, at the NISOD Conference with a presentation entitled "The Best of Both Worlds: Bridging the Instructional Gaps Between Secondary and Post-Secondary Education".

Highlighted Technique

The "American Dream" Today

Ms. Parker promotes a rigorous agenda, a collegiate atmosphere of responsibility and higher order thinking process through various means including her teaching project with the theme of "the American Dream". Students were to assess what their own version of "the Dream" was and whether this was upheld by their peers, parents, and the rest of society. Student then utilized various media mediums to express themselves in a collaborative presentation. The projects results included student involvement, expression and creativity: all higher order skills that will help students move toward lifelong learners in any field they choose with confidence.

Elvie Trevino

Elvie Trevino

LASS - College Success

956-872-6782
ETREVINO@SOUTHTEXASCOLLEGE.EDU

Ms. Elvie Trevino began with the College Success Department of South Texas College as an Adjunct instructor in 2008 and became a Full Time Temporary instructor during the Fall 2009 session. She has been awarded the Distinguished Teaching and Learning Award in 2009 for "Life Management: Believe in Yourself and You Will Achieve Your Goals". Last year, Ms. Trevino served on the Cohort Success Initiative-Faculty Initiative Team (CSI-FIT) where she developed and monitored activities to increase student comfort in her classrooms. The theory was that as comfort increased, student participation would increase. It proved to be true..

Highlighted Technique

Teaching Critical Thinking Skills through Agree/Disagree Activities

Ms. Trevino presents topics and asks the students to decide if they agree or disagree. The students then "stand for what they believe" by standing along the wall indicating the degree of agreement or disagreement from strongly agree to agree or the other side of the room strongly disagree or disagree.

The students are not allowed to "sit on the fence", as she calls it. The student has to make a decision based on their knowledge of the statement and has to be willing to show where they stand even when some students try to convince them otherwise. Topics range from instructor's responsibilities to views about mixed marriages, political differences, and values such as honesty, commitment, and responsible decision making.

Ms. Trevino asks individual students to state reasons why they took the stance while everyone else listens. If a student hears new information, or a new way of "looking at it", the student has the right to move to a different degree (moving closer or farther from "strongly" or can move clear across the room indicating a total change of opinion based on new information, but not because "someone yanked your chain". Students are asked to value and respect their own opinions as well as those of other students.

Daniel Tyx

Daniel Tyx

LASS - English

956-872-5631
DBTYX@SOUTHTEXASCOLLEGE.EDU

Daniel Tyx began work with the English Department of South Texas College as a Full Time Temporary instructor during the Fall 2010 session. Mr. Tyx has had a Poster Session entitled "Making Research Matter: Connecting the Social and the Personal" at the 2011 National Council of English Teachers Conference, essays published in the Gettysburg Review and the Gulf Coast magazines as well as fiction published in Along the River: An Anthology of Voices from the Rio Grande Valley.

Highlighted Technique

"Creating a Classroom Blogosphere"

Mr. Tyx asks his student in his literature classes to create a personalized "lit blog", using a free blogging platform, which allows them to participate in an on-line literary community outside of the walls of the class. The blog allows the students the opportunity to respond informally to the texts being read in class, as well as to read and respond to the thoughts of their peers. The blog platform also allows them to include links, images, videos, and polls, and to personalize the site's "look" to reflect their own interests and aesthetics. It also invites them to join in a wider literary community, since through this project they begin to discover the wealth of literature resources that are available through the World Wide Web. He finds that students often use the blog as a study tool as they prepare for exams, and reference each other's posts during our in-class discussions.