August 27, 2003
Math instructor presented with Stirnaman award
Larry Schwintz presents Uwe Conrad with Stirnaman award.
Uwe Conrad, a math instructor at Cowley County Community College’s Southside Education Center in Wichita, has been named the second recipient of the Paul Stirnaman Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence.
Conrad received the award during an inservice session Aug. 19. Last year’s recipient, Larry Schwintz, presented Conrad with the award, which is sponsored by the College Education Association.
“First of all, I’d like to thank everyone involved for this award,” Conrad said. “I was more than surprised. I just never think of myself as award material, especially among so many colleagues doing so many exciting things. Receiving an award for teaching excellence from one’s pears has to be the ultimate ‘pat on the back’ for a teacher.”
Conrad has taught full-time at Cowley since January 2000. He teaches trigonometry, statistics, calculus B & E, calculus I and calculus III, all at the Southside Center.
He holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Middle Tennessee State University. It was there that he got his start in teaching, as a graduate teaching assistant. That developed into a full-time job, one that he held since 1991.
Conrad remembers when he first applied for a part-time teaching position at Cowley.
“I told (vice president of academic and student affairs) Sheree (Utash) that I have never had a bad day in the classroom,” Conrad said. “I’ll teach any class, any time, anywhere.”
Conrad said he strives to make his classes interesting.
“The educational experience should be an enjoyable one; it always is for me,” he said. “I do my best to provide my students with a memorable, exciting, and productive time in my classroom.
“I know that most students probably do not look forward to spending time in a math class. Hopefully, I can reduce their stress and anxiety by providing a variety of support materials and resources designed to help them understand, learn, and succeed. I never teach the same class twice.” Conrad said he also seeks to improve himself each day he sets foot into the classroom.
“Change is good,” he said. “There is always room for improvement. I attend as many conferences and workshops as possible. There is a lot of exciting work being done, and pioneered, in mathematics education. I think just staying current is the first step to falling behind.”
Conrad said he hopes to have an impact on students’ lives, not just today but later in life.
“I hope to provide students with an education that is not just relevant to the present, but also as an investment in their future,” Conrad said. "Success is learned. I don’t know how many students have told me that if they can succeed in a math class, they can do anything.”
The award is named for Paul Stirnaman, a long-time Social Science Department instructor and strong supporter of the CEA who died June 16, 2000, after a lengthy illness.
“I hope to prove myself worthy of this honor in the future,” Conrad said.
“Receiving this award will represent a milestone in my teaching career and will be hard to top.”