Montgomery College Professors Honored with Excellence Awards

The National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) has named Montgomery College faculty members Habib Y. Far, Denise Lorenz, and Dr. Craig Livingston as Faculty Excellence Award Winners for 2006-2007. They will be recognized at a special ceremony to be held in conjunction with the NISOD annual conference in Austin next May.

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Pictured (L. to r.) Habib Far, mathematics; Denise Lorenz, art; and Dr. Craig Livingston, history, were recently named as Faculty Excellence Award recipients at Montgomery College.

More than 1,000 faculty, staff, and administrators will be recognized during this inspirational close to the NISOD conference.

NISOD, housed at the 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, which are chosen from nominations received from each member school.

“Habib Far, Denise Lorenz and Craig Livingston are wonderful examples of talented professors who truly care about their students, our college and this community,” said Dr. Tom Butler, president of Montgomery College. “We are very proud that they have been recognized for this honor and we are thankful to count them among our faculty.”

A product of the community college system himself, Habib Far, professor of mathematics, knows well the benefits of a school like Montgomery College.

“I started at San Jacinto College in Pasadena and then went to North Harris College,” said Far. “Inspired by my teachers, I decided to follow their footsteps and become a community college teacher.”

Far earned a bachelor’s degree from The University of Houston and a master’s degree from Sam Houston State University. Prior to coming to Montgomery College in 2000, Far taught mathematics at Laredo Community College and Texas A&M International University.

Far serves as treasurer of the Texas Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges and is a member of the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges, the Texas Community College Teacher Association, and the Mathematical Association of America.

Far said he enjoys having “an active role at Montgomery College.” In addition to teaching regular math courses including calculus, algebra, statistics and trigonometry, he has also taught classes for the Academy for Lifelong Learning, the workforce training program, the alternative certification program and online classes.

Denise Lorenz, Montgomery College professor of art, said she was deeply “honored and pleased” to be named for an Excellence Award.

Lorenz, who teaches honors art appreciation, beginning and advanced drawing, and design, has been with Montgomery College since it opened in 1995, becoming a full-time faculty member in 2002. Lorenz has also taught at Sam Houston State University, North Harris College and Kingwood College.

Lorenz received a bachelor’s degree from Madonna College in Michigan--graduating with highest honors--and earned a master’s degree from Sam Houston State University.

Lorenz said she really enjoys the variety of students in her classes at Montgomery College.

“There is a nice mix of abilities in my students. We have some with a great deal of experience, but we also get some who haven’t picked up a drawing pencil since grade school,” she said. “People come in apprehensive and you see their confidence build and it’s very exciting and rewarding. By the end of the semester I think we are all quite pleased with how far they have come and what they have learned.”

As an artist, Lorenz personally enjoys working on “very realistic” ink and color pencil drawings as well as print-making projects involving etching and wood cuts.

Outside of the classroom, Lorenz said she especially enjoys advising the Montgomery College Art Club because it allows her to work with students on a more casual basis. One of their big ventures will be painting murals in the Montgomery College Child Care Center. “She also volunteers to judge various community art events.”

Montgomery College professor of history, Dr. Craig Livingston, said he is honored to receive this NISOD recognition, adding that he is pleased to count himself among Montgomery College’s prestigious faculty.

Prior to coming to Montgomery College, Dr. Livingston taught for two years at Valley Forge Military Academy and served as an infantry officer in the Army. Ordered to the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, he became Ranger and Airborne qualified. His earlier adventures also included a two-year mission for the Mormon Church in Sweden.

Dr. Livingston earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Brigham Young University in Utah, and a doctorate degree in history from Temple University in Pennsylvania.

“I love Montgomery College,” said Dr. Livingston. “I consider the classroom a place where students and I can jointly discover and relive history. I have taught over 4,000 students and I look forward to many thousands more.”

NHMCCD, among the largest and fastest growing community colleges in Texas, comprise, Cy-Fair College, Kingwood College, Montgomery College, North Harris College, Tomball College, six satellite centers, and The University Center.