During the past two weeks, Truckee Meadows Community College Phi Theta Kappa club officers have surprised two PTK Teacher of the Year award honorees right in front of their students, who were spellbound to see their instructors' expressions.
TMCC’s Alpha Pi Gamma Chapter advisor, Librarian Neil Siegel, together with selection committee members and a representative from the TMCC administration surprised the PTK Teachers of the Year at the end of a class period, so instructors and students could share in the good news.
Phi Theta Kappa is an international honor society for two-year colleges, and students who have completed at least 12 credits earning a GPA of 3.5 or higher are eligible to join the organization.
Each year the Chapter honors a full-time and a part-time faculty member. This year also features an additional award. For the first time, a Teacher of the Year, full time, posthumous award has been recognized at TMCC.
Names of students who submit nominations for the award are kept anonymous to increase the objectivity of the award process, according to the official policy of Alpha Pi Gamma Chapter.
Teacher of the Year, Full time, Posthumous
Foreign Language Professor Carlo Ferguson-McIntyre is the PTK Teacher of the Year, full time, posthumous. He died on the first day of Spring Semester.
“Carlo was one of the greatest instructors I have ever had,” wrote a student. “He would light up and make a subject as boring as the subjunctive in French engaging. He didn’t just teach us French; he breathed life into the language with each lesson.”
Ferguson-McIntyre told his classes jokes and stories to make learning engaging and fun.
“He was always willing to take his time to explain a concept—no matter how basic—in a respectful, non-condescending manner,” a nominator wrote. “Carlo would also help students via email and was always willing to dedicate his time to making sure his students would succeed. He had a way of always making people feel welcome in his classroom, and this attitude did not change when we would ask for his help outside of class, either.”
Another student agreed.
“He brought to TMCC style, grace, wit, and a passion for education,” according to a nomination form. “Carlo also brought the subjects to life, by his vast experience with each of the different cultures, Italian, Spanish, and French. The subject material we have learned, we appreciate, but the stories that were shared we will remember for a lifetime.”
Teacher of the Year, Part time
Humanities Instructor Paul Villa is the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Teacher of the Year, part time.
“He started us out with a song every lecture that pertained to what we were learning,” wrote a student who nominated Villa. “His lectures had us discussing, and we were amazed at how much we weren’t taught beforehand about American history.”
The nominator wrote that assignments were well-organized, with clear due dates.
“His lecture notes are full of information and he makes it easy to study for his tests, but the test is still challenging,” according to a nomination. “He was always in a good mood and had me laughing.”
Villa was said to go above and beyond in communicating with students about their work.
“I had forgotten to do one of the writing assignments, and he took time after the semester had ended to find my phone number and call me (I wasn’t checking emails anymore),” a student wrote. “He gave me the weekend to write the paper for partial credit. He didn’t have to do that but it’s awesome that he did.”
Teacher of the Year, Full time
Economics Professor Steve Streeper is the PTK Teacher of the Year, full time.
“I nominate Professor Streeper because of his teaching style,” wrote one student. “He takes the gobbledygook out of the books and turns the assignments into something understandable. He gives thorough answers whenever a student gets lost in the homework. …He is an all-around outstanding person.”
A fellow student agrees.
“He is very patient even with disabled and English-as-a-second-language students and really takes teaching tough subjects to the next level to make students feel valued and intelligent,” according to a nomination form.
He takes care to make the math part of statistics more approachable for all students, his fans write.
“Steve Streeper's patience has gone beyond my wildest dreams helping to keep me from dropping out of school because I know someone is in my corner at TMCC no matter what is happening outside of school,” wrote a student.
One nomination was written by a student who has taken three of the professor’s classes.
“I was really concerned to take statistics; worried if I could learn the concepts well enough to transfer to UNR with confidence,” the nominator wrote. “Here I am getting close to graduation and I feel empowered to take on the University. Professor Streeper has made every class I have taken exciting and I feel I can master upper-level classes with the foundation he has taught us. I am so happy I chose to come to TMCC and had the pleasure of taking classes with Professor Streeper.”
Streeper shows a love for, and dedication to his subject, students write.
“He has great passion for statistics which becomes contagious…,” another student added.
The Nomination Process
Current students submitted nominations online to the PTK website from Feb. 24–March 6. The form includes fields for the instructor’s name and a brief essay section about why they are recommending the teacher for the award.
Scottie Lockrem, a TMCC alumna and lifetime PTK member acts as the facilitator, helping students to meet deadlines and ensure consistency from year to year. She removes student and instructor names before the committee evaluates nominations.
“No faculty members, or myself, are involved in the selection process by students,” she said. “That makes it equitable for all nominees. The process has considerable rigor and is as objective and straightforward as possible.”
A committee from the Chapter uses an established rubric to score each entry based on language usage, coherency of thought, overall impression of the essay, and completeness of the answers. Upon conclusion of scoring, the committee selects the final honorees.
Plaques are Presented
Plaques are also awarded to both full-time and part-time honorees at the end-of-the-year Annual Employee Awards and Recognition Ceremony.