Stirnaman Teaching Award
Larry Schwintz, who began teaching at Cowley County Community College in 1977, is the first recipient of the Paul Stirnaman Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence. Schwintz was presented the award, sponsored by the College Education Association, by Chris Mayer, Social Science Department instructor.
The presentation took place during the first day of fall in-service for Cowley employees Aug. 13. "Having known Paul and his love for education, and his love for students, and his expectation of excellence and not accepting anything but excellence, this is kind of a humbling experience," Schwintz said of the award. "It gets to you." Stirnaman, a long-time Social Science Department instructor and strong supporter of the CEA, died June 16, 2000, after a lengthy illness.
The CEA presented Schwintz with the first award "for outstanding teaching, long service, and loyal support of the CEA." "I knew the award existed," Schwintz said, "but I was unaware that I would be chosen." Schwintz came to Cowley in 1977 to teach classes in the agriculture program. Prior to that he taught 14 years of high school, seven at Prairie View near Fort Scott, and seven at Winfield High School.
In 1992, Schwintz was one of several Cowley faculty members who received the Master Teacher Award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational. Development in Austin, Texas. The following year, Schwintz was a Master Presenter at the same NISOD conference. He also has been named Cowley’s Master Teacher, received an award from the Tiger Booster Club in 2001, and has been recognized as a Microsoft Mentor by the Microsoft Corporation. He also has received a Gold Award from the Vocational Association Teacher of Teachers. "I now have eight or nine former students who are teachers of agriculture in Kansas," Schwintz said.
Schwintz has been a steady, reliable faculty member who has been asked to take on several new challenges through the years. "Introduction to microcomputers was my idea for my ag students," he said. "Business people liked what I was doing, and they said to remove the ag references and make them business references. I said sure. It evolved from that DOS environment to a Windows environment, and from an elective course to a required course." And in fall 2001, Schwintz joined two other Business Tech faculty in teaching the CISCO Networking program. Schwintz also traveled to Boeing in Wichita for two years, training employees on a variety of software.
Schwintz, 61, said he admired Stirnaman for the type of instructor he was. "Paul always said you can’t be a professional and not be a member of your professional organization," Schwintz said. "The CEA is not a union. It is concerned with education."