May 18, 2005
Conrad, Flickinger to receive NISOD Excellence Awards later this month
Cowley College instructors Uwe Conrad and Mark Flickinger will receive Excellence Awards from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development in Austin, Texas, later this month.
Conrad, a mathematics instructor at Cowley’s Southside Education Center, and Flickinger, art instructor on the main campus in Arkansas City, will receive the awards during NISOD’s annual International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence May 29-June 1.
Conrad has worked full time at Cowley since Jan. 1, 2000. He said receiving the award would be a humbling experience.
“Winning the NISOD award is a great honor, especially after having attended the NISOD conference two years ago, where I experienced the caliber of instructors associated with NISOD,” Conrad said. “This type of recognition is always surprising to me since I would never dare to compare myself with these truly excellent teachers taking time to present at NISOD in order to inspire their peers.”
Flickinger began his Cowley teaching career as an adjunct instructor in 1993. He became full time in 2001. Flickinger said he did not expect to receive such a prestigious award.
“It surprises me,” he said. “I’m grateful for it, and it’s encouraging. There’s a lot of good teachers on this campus.”
Flickinger, who earlier this month helped the Winfield Regional Symphony premiere the “Grouse Creek Symphony” with his paintings, said demonstration was a large part of his teaching philosophy.
“People learn by seeing and doing,” he said. “I don’t have any trouble getting people interested in painting. I want to show people that it’s possible. There is no recipe or formula for painting.”
Conrad said he believes that learning should be fun.
“This is as true for the teaching of mathematics as any other subject matter,” he said. “I am excited about teaching and excited about math, and I try to make every lecture an event. I attempt to make the subject matter come to life by combining historical facts and myths, as well as future prospects and speculations with the mathematics problem.”
Flickinger believes students need to make mistakes on their own and, hopefully, learn from those mistakes.
“The best way for a student to learn is to struggle through on their own,” he said.
Another of Flickinger’s philosophies is that people do not live in a vacuum.
“I have 800 art books in my studio here and at home,” Flickinger said. “Students need to know what traditions are out there that they can draw from and add to.”
Flickinger said he takes great satisfaction from the student who goes above and beyond expectations.
“I love it when somebody comes in after the weekend and shows me what they’ve done,” he said. “I like it when the student gets that fire. It matters when a student knows what they want to do and enjoy it.”
Conrad said working with students was most satisfying to him.
“It is the interaction with the students,” he said. “Every day is different and a challenge. I don’t think I have ever taught the same class twice. I am constantly trying something new, and my reward is the student’s success. I am a lucky man, because I love my job.”