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Press Release



January 20, 2004

Natural Science instructor named Cowley's fourth Endowed Chair


Natural Science instructor named Cowley's fourth Endowed Chair Pam Smith, the 2004-2006 Endowed Chair for Teaching Excellence and Student Learning, center, poses with Dr. Pat McAtee, Cowley president, and Sheree Utash, vice president of academic and student affairs.


Pam Smith, a Natural Science Department instructor at Cowley County Community College, was presented the Endowed Chair for Teaching Excellence and Student Learning Thursday afternoon during a faculty inservice meeting in the Brown Center.


Smith, in her eighth year at Cowley, was selected for the award from a field of six nominees. The five others are David Bostwick, Humanities; Marlys Cervantes, Humanities; Beverly Grunder, Business and Service Technology; Jafar Hashemi, Natural Sciences; and Todd Shepherd, Social Sciences. All six candidates received gifts.


Dr. Pat McAtee, Cowley president, introduced Smith as the 2004-2006 recipient.

"Pam demonstrates leadership both in and out of the classroom," McAtee said. "She is a valuable member of a team as her contributions are always offered with what is good for the college and our students as her focal point."

Smith expressed gratitude toward her colleagues at Cowley.


"This award is as much yours as it is mine," she said. "I can not tell you enough how grateful I am for all you did for my daughter (Charlotte Hulsey) during her two years here. As many of you know, she didn't have a lot of direction in life, and that was a concern of mine. She wanted to go to Kansas State her freshman year, but I was able to discourage her from doing that, and she came to Cowley. Because of all of you, she became a successful student."


Smith teaches all levels of chemistry at the college, and was instrumental in the remodeling of the chemistry lab on the main campus. She is involved in a Title III grant pilot program integrating the use of technology in her classroom. Most recently, she received a $1,000 grant from the National Computational Science Institute. The money was used to purchase software to enable chemistry students to build molecules on computer.


In 1999, Smith received a Master Teacher award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development in Austin, Texas. On campus, she is president of the College Education Association, has been a sponsor for the Math and Science Club and Mu Alpha Theta (a national mathematics honor society) for the past five years, chairs the Site Safety team, and serves on many other committees and teams at the college.


Smith's professional organizations include being an active member of the Kansas College Chemistry Teachers Association and as a member of the 2-Year College Chemistry Consortium.


McAtee read a few statements made by students concerning Smith.


"I just wanted to thank you for being such a wonderful instructor these last two years. You have been very good at explaining chemistry and have actually made me enjoy the subject much more than before I came to Cowley. Your endless optimism has made me regret having to have a new instructor next year. I will miss being in your class."


Another student wrote, "Thank you so much for all your help and support while I was ill. It means a lot to me to know that someone cares about me doing well in school. I want you to know that I have decided to go to Emporia State next semester and major in environmental biology. I am now excited about school because of you."


The Endowed Chair for Teaching Excellence and Student Learning was established in 1998 and is sponsored by CornerBank of Winfield and Arkansas City. Jana Dobbs, senior vice president for relationship management, and Joyce McArtor, vice president and manager of the CornerBank branch in Arkansas City, presented Smith with a check for $2,000. Smith will receive another check for $2,000 next year. Award recipients are to use $1,000 of the award for professional development. The remaining $3,000 is a cash stipend.


Connie Donatelli, Cowley's director of vocal music and the 2002-2004 Endowed Chair, spoke briefly about what the award meant to her.


Candidates for the award must submit recommendation letters from a colleague, their department chair, a student, and from Sheree Utash, vice president of academic and student affairs. Other requirements include peer observation, an explanation of their teaching philosophies, and answering a series of questions relating to teaching. Candidates are reviewed by an internal committee and an external committee.


Other past recipients are Michelle Schoon, Natural Science Department chair and instructor (2000-2002), and Dejon Ewing, Humanities Department chair and instructor (1998-2000).