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August 18, 2004

Long-time Cowley instructor presented teaching excellence award


image of CHris VollweiderChris Vollweider, the recipient of the 2004 -2005 Paul Stirnaman Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence.

Chris Vollweider, a 23-year faculty member at Cowley County Community College, is the 2004-2005 recipient of the Paul Stirnaman Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence.

Vollweider was presented the award Wednesday during an all-college convocation in the Robert Brown Theatre inside the Brown Center on the main campus. Uwe Conrad, last year’s recipient, presented Vollweider with the award, which is sponsored by the College Education Association. Business and Service Technology Instructor Larry Schwintz was the first recipient in 2002.

“This is a complete surprise,” Vollweider said. “I feel very honored and proud to be a recipient of this award. This is something I’ll never forget.”

The award is named for Paul Stirnaman, a long-time Social Science Department instructor and strong supporter of the CEA. He died June 16, 2000, following a lengthy illness.

Stirnaman was a “dear friend” of Vollweider’s.

“He was what education was all about,” she said. “He expected excellence from his students. Not everyone got an ‘A,’ but everyone learned so much in his classes.”

Vollweider, who teaches college reading, study skills, and rapid reading, began her career at Cowley on March 1, 1981. She has spent most of her time teaching on the lower level of Renn Memorial Library. In 1993, she was presented a Master Teacher Award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development in Austin, Texas.

Chris Mayer, Social Science Department instructor and vice president of CEA, gave a brief history of the award and introduced Conrad and Vollweider.

“The committee had a difficult choice to make,” Mayer said. “Chris is very deserving of this award.”

Vollweider has been a member of CEA for 15 years, and has held the offices of vice president and president. She also has been on the CEA scholarship committee six years, and has been involved with the Board of Trustees candidate forum and on the hospitality committee.

Service to CEA, teaching excellence, and long service to the college are criteria for the award.

“This is an honor to receive because of who it represents and to follow in the footsteps of Larry and Uwe,” Vollweider said.

Besides being an instructor, Vollweider also serves as an academic advisor and is the director of adult education at Cowley.