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August 18, 2005

Natural Science chair receives Stirnaman Award at Cowley


Michelle Schoon, Natural Science Department chair and life sciences instructor at Cowley College, became the fourth recipient of the Paul Stirnaman Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence.

Schoon received the award from last year’s winner, Chris Vollweider, during Cowley’s All-College Convocation Aug. 17 in the Robert Brown Theatre.

“This is a great honor to receive from your peers,” said Schoon, who joined Cowley in 1990 as a part-time instructor, then became full-time in 1995. “Paul Stirnaman held such high academic standards in the classroom. This award is very special to me.”

Uwe Conrad, lead mathematics instructor at Cowley’s Southside Education Center in Wichita, and Larry Schwintz, an instructor in the Business, Computer and Information Technology Department, are the other recipients of the award.

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

Along with her duties as department chair and instructor, Schoon coordinates Cowley’s Academic Quality Improvement Program, which is a Higher Learning Commission Quality Improvement Initiative. She received the Endowed Chair for Teaching Excellence and Student Learning in 2000 and received a Master Teacher Award (now called an Excellence Award) from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development in Austin, Texas, in 1996.

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

Schoon has a master of education degree in curriculum and instruction from Wichita State University, and a bachelor of arts degree in biology education from Bethany College. A native of Beloit, Schoon has been married to Scott Schoon for 23 years. The couple has three children.