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Jennifer Kirby
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Clark College honors 2013 tenured faculty

Clark College honored newly tenured faculty members (left to right) Carol Hsu, Honey Knight, Tonia Haney, Elizabeth Torgerson, Patricio Sevier, Marilyn Hale, and Michiyo Okuhara.
Clark College honored newly tenured faculty members (left to right) Carol Hsu, Honey Knight, Tonia Haney, Elizabeth Torgerson, Patricio Sevier, Marilyn Hale, and Michiyo Okuhara.

Newly tenured faculty members in automotive, business and machine technologies, dental hygiene,
engineering, Japanese, and nursing
were honored at a reception on April 10


VANCOUVER, Wash. — Seven outstanding educators are the newest members of the tenured faculty at Clark College.  Marilyn Hale (business technology), Tonia Haney (automotive), Carol Hsu (engineering), Honey Knight (dental hygiene), Michiyo Okuhara (Japanese), Patricio Sevier (machining) and Elizabeth Torgerson (nursing) were all honored at a reception on April 10 in Clark’s Gaiser Student Center.

The Clark College Board of Trustees approved tenure for the seven faculty members at their meeting on March 13.  The tenure reception is sponsored by the Board of Trustees and the college’s Office of Instruction.

Tenure is awarded by the college’s Board of Trustees based on professional excellence and outstanding abilities in their disciplines. The granting of tenure is based on the recommendations of tenure review committees to the vice president of instruction which are then forwarded to the president, who presents a final recommendation to the Board of Trustees.  Recommendations are based on self evaluations, tenure review committee evaluations, student evaluations, supervisory evaluations, and peer evaluations.  The final decision to award or withhold tenure rests with the Board of Trustees. 

“Our tenured faculty members have a very special role at our college,” said Clark College President Robert K. Knight. “They are passionately committed to excellence and student success.  They have made a career commitment to our college and our community.”

Dr. Tim Cook, Vice President of Instruction, said “Earning tenure is a professional milestone.  I’m proud to congratulate these talented professionals for their accomplishments, their focus on student success, and their dedication to teaching and learning.”

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Biographies for the newly tenured faculty members are provided below. Marilyn Hale, Carol Hsu, Michiyo Okuhara, and Patricio Sevier reside in Vancouver, WA.  Tonia Haney resides in Beaverton, OR.  Honey Knight resides in Tigard, OR.  Elizabeth Torgerson resides in Happy Valley, OR.

Marilyn Hale, Business Technology

Marilyn Hale

Marilyn Hale earned her bachelor’s degree in secondary education with a double major in business education and English from the University of Montana-Western, and her master’s degree in adult and higher education from Montana State University.  She has previous work experience at Flathead Valley Community College, Clackamas Community College, Western Business College, Columbia College of Business and Clark College.

She is a member of the Vancouver School District Business Education Advisory Board and the Clark County Skills Center Legal/Medical Office Advisory Board.  She has served as adjunct faculty representative to College Council and as a member of the Adjunct Faculty Affairs Committee and Faculty Excellence Committee. She is a member of the National Business Education Association (NBEA), and the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP).

Hale said, “I see myself playing a variety of different roles in addition to facilitator of learning, the most important of these being coach, mentor, role model, and motivator.  I believe instruction is most effective when it is student-centered and students are at ease, actively engaged in learning, and challenged to move beyond their comfort zones.”

Tonia Haney, Automotive Technology 

Tonia Haney

Tonia Haney earned her bachelor’s degree in advanced technical studies/automotive technology from Southern Illinois University. She has previous work experience at General Motors Corporation, at TLC Auto Recreation and Repair as its owner, and almost 20 years of experience as a general technician at various automotive businesses.

Haney is vice president of the Portland Chapter of the Association of Women in Automotive.  She serves as automotive faculty lead to the Clark College outcomes assessment program and for National Automotive Technical Educational Foundation (NATEF) certification requirements.

Haney said, “In the automotive field it is critical that students not only understand the concepts of vehicle operation, but also have the mechanical aptitude to perform service procedures.  I want my students to leave our program with three things: the skills and confidence needed to begin a rewarding career in automotive repair; the thirst to continue learning as new technology is introduced; and the soft skills required to work with other techs, customers, and shop owners/managers without compromising integrity of their work.”

Carol Hsu, Engineering

Carol Hsu

Carol Hsu earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.  She has previous work experience with Chevron, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Pioneer Pacific College, and Rejuvenation.

Hsu is advisor to the college’s Engineering Club and is a member of Clark College N.E.R.D. (Not Even Remotely Dorky) Girls Club, which promotes interest among young women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  She serves on the Southwest Washington Math, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) advisory board.

Hsu said, “My goal is to help my students become critical thinkers and good problem-solvers of complex systems.  I want my students to be able to identify the problem, model the system, investigate solutions, and then analyze the results using the tools and resources available.  I often use in-class activities to have students work in group to solve problems using the concepts we discussed.”


Honey Knight, Dental Hygiene

Honey Knight

Honey Knight earned her bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene from Eastern Washington University through the degree completion program at Clark College. She is currently attending Portland State University to complete her master’s degree in education.  She has previous work experience with Clark College, OHSU, and the dental offices of George A. Ronning, DMD, PC; Richard B. Knight, DMD, PC; and John R. Chirgwin, DMD, PC.

Within the college, she serves on the EWU Degree Completion Advisory Committee and the Curriculum Committee.  She is a member of the American Dental Hygienists Association, Western Society of Periodontology, American Dental Educators Association, and Special Care Dentistry Association.

Knight said, “I impress upon each student that we are all continually learning and growing throughout our lives. I see myself as a co-learner and facilitator for the student. Together we learn, find answers to questions, and find the joy and fulfillment in learning.”

Michiyo Okuhara, Japanese

Michiyo Okuhara

Michiyo Okuhara earned her master’s degree in education from Portland State University where she earned her certificate in teaching Japanese as a foreign language.  She has previous work experience with Clark College, doing independent interpretation and translation, as well as teaching for Portland Public Schools and Lewis and Clark College.

She serves as a director of the college’s World Languages Abroad program, as an advisor of the Japanese Club, and on the planning committee for the Sakura Festival.

Okuhara said, “I would like to help the students to be active learners, and I use different teaching approaches not only in class but also when connecting students to the outside world.  Students learn the most when they enjoy learning and are engaged, even if the materials are difficult.  I hope Clark students are prepared for the new global society while they are sensitive to people whose first language is not English.”

Patricio Sevier, Machine Technology

Patricio SevierPatricio Sevier served in the U.S. Navy and began his career in manufacturing at Weiss Scientific Glass at the end of his enlistment in 1990. He began teaching as an adjunct instructor at Clark College in 2001.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Sevier serves on numerous high school advisory panels and Skills USA, a high school manufacturing competition, hosted each year at the college.  He also assists the engineering department in making components for a NASA sponsored rocket project and making parts for the Science Olympiad.

Sevier said, “My teaching philosophy is quite simple. The student comes first.  Give a person a well-maintained machine, sharp tooling, plenty of stock, a safe clean shop, accurate measuring tools, and the right training, and that person will be able to manufacture any part to specification.”

Elizabeth Torgerson, Nursing

Elizabeth Torgerson

Elizabeth Torgersonearned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from OHSU School of Nursing and her master’s degree in nursing from Washington State University.  She has previous work experience with Clark College, Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, Pioneer Pacific College and Trillium Family Services.

Torgerson serves on the National League for Nursing of Accredited Colleges Standard 5 Committee and the Speights Faculty Development Committee.  She also helps coordinate Clark’s nursing pinning ceremony and is a Moodle mentor.

Torgerson said, “The educational environment should be one in which the teacher and the student work together to create an optimal learning experience.  The teacher can guide the student down the path of learning, but the student must take each step.”