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Professors Honored With Faculty Excellence Awards at Lone Star College-Montgomery

Lone Star College-Montgomery and the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) recently named professors Cliff Hudder, Dr. Rajiv Malkan, Dr. Paullett Golden, and Dr. Larry Loomis-Price as Faculty Excellence Award recipients for the 2009-2010 academic year.

“We are very proud of the top-level faculty at this campus who work diligently to support and encourage the aspirations of our students,” said Dr. Austin A. Lane, president of LSC-Montgomery. “Each of these faculty members has a unique teaching style that connects with our students.”

Each recipient was “surprised” with the announcement of their being selected when Dr. Lane, along with a small group of administrators and former Faculty Excellence Award winners, visited each winner’s classroom to share the news in front of their students.

“Dr. Lane told the students about the award and handed me the certificate,” said Cliff Hudder, professor of English. “I was pretty blown away. It’s an honor that I very much appreciate.”

Hudder holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Houston. He has been teaching English and writing courses at LSC-Montgomery since 2002. On campus, he is the faculty advisor for the campus’ literary journal, Swirl, and chair of the Writers in Performance committee.

“In my classes, I try to always present the idea that writing and reading are not activities that, in the long run, have to do with grades and classes, but rather add benefit to their lives,” said Hudder. “I try to show students that the literary works we read belong to them already as part of their inheritance.

One of Hudder’s favorite courses to teach is Writing About Texas Film and Literature, as that course “helps students begin to investigate their own surroundings—close to home— and discover exciting stories and myths in their own backyards.”

“Henry David Thoreau said, ‘I have traveled a great deal in Concord,’ and I try to show my students that they can travel a great deal in Montgomery County, too,” said Hudder.

Computer information technology professor, Dr. Rajiv Malkan, was appreciative of being honored with the award; however, according to him, “making sure that the students are successful is the most rewarding experience.”

“I believe that I am a catalyst for change for the students,” said Malkan. “My goal is to show them the path and assist them in their career goals so that they are successful in their mission.”

Malkan recently completed his doctorate in higher education leadership from the University of Nebraska. He also holds an MBA from Phillips University in Enid, OK., and a master’s degree in computer science from Florida Institute of Technology. He uses his background to bring a business perspective to his computer courses.

“In the Business Computer Applications course, I am able to blend both the business and computer concepts and teach it as a real-world, project-oriented course,” said Malkan. “As the business environment is changing constantly, I can make the course challenging and expand the students’ horizons by integrating global activities into the classroom.”

Malkan also strives to be flexible with—and courteous to—his students.

“At a community college, the students come with a lot of issues–work, family, personal, etc.,” said Malkan. “Understanding each student and trying to nurture them to be successful is the approach I take to teaching.”

Dr. Paullett Golden, professor of English, said it was a “great honor” to be personally presented with the award by Dr. Lane.

“Knowing that we have some of the best teachers in the Lone Star College System at our school, I am deeply appreciative that I was selected for the award,” said Golden.

After beginning her college education in 1998 as a student at LSC-Montgomery, Golden went on to complete both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in English from Sam Houston State University. In 2005, she earned her doctorate from Texas A&M-Commerce.

On campus, Golden is currently the advisor of the Anime Club, director of the Mentor Program, and a faculty member of Junior Achievement; however, she said that her club and organization advising positions change each year as students request her involvement—“I go where I am needed, basically!”

Golden believes that students connect to their education by seeing how they fit within the academy, how they can contribute to the academy,  and how they can use their previous experiences to enhance their education.

“I want my students to harness the power of education and break down barriers,” said Golden. “In turn, they’ll see how their education can enhance their current and future experiences, using their knowledge as a tool for personal empowerment. I make all of my assignments and lectures personally and professionally applicable to promote empowerment, diversity, awareness, and critical application.”

“I love seeing the students devoting their time and energy to creating a positive academic environment and making more of their studies than just ‘keeping a chair warm’ in the classroom,” said Golden. “The more involved the students are on campus and the more involved the community and local business are involved with our students, the stronger the bonds become for our community college.”

Dr. Larry Loomis-Price, a professor of biotechnology who has been with LSC-Montgomery since 2002, said he has taken a “circuitous route” to becoming a full-time professor. After working as a research scientist during the day and serving as a adjunct professor at night, Loomis-Price decided to make teaching his full-time career when he told his wife, “Any day I teach is a good day.”

“Since then, I have been working on becoming the best teacher I can be,” said Loomis-Price. “That process is difficult for scientists, because good teaching in the sciences is quite rare. I’ve had to step out of my experience as a scientist and actively learn how to teach science to the students.”

Loomis-Price is LSC-Montgomery’s faculty senate vice president and serves on the advisory board for Communicating Across the Curriculum. He is also a key member in starting up several research and teaching initiatives for alternative energies within the biotechnology department.

“Each semester, I incorporate new methods of teaching from conferences I’ve attended, classes that I’ve taken, or experiences observing my peers,” said Loomis-Price. “I am learning how to ‘teach to mastery’ so that students completing my courses are ready to excel in their next course.”

“Teaching has been unbelievably rewarding, and I am very appreciative of this honor,” said Loomis-Price.

NISOD, housed at he University of Texas-Austin, is a worldwide consortium dedicated to the professional development of faculty, administrators, and staff, and to the continued improvement of teaching and learning, with the ultimate goal of student success. More than 600 community colleges around the world are NISOD members. Each year the organization formally recognizes “community colleges’ best” with the Faculty Excellence Awards that are chosen from nominations received from each member school.

LSC-Montgomery is located at 3200 College Park Drive, one-half mile west of Interstate 45, between Conroe and The Woodlands. For more information about the college, call (936) 273-7000, or visit www.LoneStar.edu/montgomery.

Lone Star College System consists of five colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, and LSC-Tomball, six centers, LSC-University Center, LSC-University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. With more than 58,000 students in credit classes this fall, LSCS is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and third largest community college system in Texas. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.