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Clark College News and Events

May 4, 2009

For Immediate Release

For additional information: 

Barbara Kerr, Executive Director of
Communications and Marketing Telephone:  360-992-2921

E-mail:  bkerr@clark.edu



Clark College dental hygiene instructor Karla Sylwester
has earned statewide honors for her commitment
to teaching, learning and assessment


Clark College dental hygiene instructor Karla SylwesterVANCOUVER, Wash. – Karla Sylwester, an instructor in Clark College’s dental  hygiene department, has been named a recipient of the 2009 Anna Sue McNeill Teaching, Learning and Assessment Award.  The award is designed to recognize an individual’s contributions to teaching, student learning and assessment in a public two- or four-year college in Washington State.  Sylwester will be among five honorees statewide who will receive the award during the 2009 Pacific NW Higher Education Teaching and Learning Conference, which will be held in Wenatchee from May 6-8.

Noreen Light, faculty development coordinator for assessment, teaching and learning for the Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges (SBCTC), noted that Sylwester and the other honorees “all demonstrate the use of technology, collaboration and innovation in creating and facilitating the exceptional learning environments that are necessary to foster student success.”

Sylwester is the third Clark College faculty member to receive the McNeill award.  Biology professor Rebecca Martin and Teaching and Learning Center Coordinator Gail Liberman are both past recipients.

Liberman, who nominated Sylwester for the award, said, “Karla Sylwester has been a leader in creating and implementing a variety of engaging and effective instructional methodologies—measured by student learning, satisfaction, and retention—and has been generous in sharing this knowledge with her colleagues on a local, regional and national level.”  Liberman added, “Karla maintains high instructional standards for herself while she encourages the cognitive growth and skill development of her students. This award affirms her consistently good work and recognizes her success in creating learning in students.”

The award, which was established by SBCTC in 2007, honors Anna Sue McNeill, who served in higher education at the Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges for 30 years.  Award organizers say McNeill was committed to excellence in assessment, teaching and learning and provided leadership statewide through ongoing communication and special events. 

About Karla Sylwester

Karla Sylwester began teaching at Clark in January of 1971 as an adjunct clinical instructor. In 1976 she returned to private dental practice. She continued to be an occasional adjunct at Clark until being hired as a full time instructor September 1989.

Karla Sylwester is the lead restorative instructor in the dental hygiene dept. She coordinates the restorative clinics as well as liaisons with the dental community to staff those clinics. She also teaches all the didactic courses that support the restorative phase of the program: Cariology, Dental Materials and Restorative, as well as others. Sylwester has had over 20 years as a private practice dental hygienist and is well versed in all phases of hygiene practice as well as restorative dentistry, tooth bleaching and preventive fluorides and sealants.

In conjunction with the other dental hygiene faculty, Karla Sylwester has taught workshops and seminars on teaching critical thinking, teaching to competency and evaluating outcomes to national dental audiences. As a dental community resource person, she has also taught continuing education courses on bleaching teeth, placing sealants, and through Clark’s B&I, she teaches the restorative classes to out-of-state hygienists seeking licensure in Washington.

Karla Sylwester has lived and worked in Clark County her whole life, graduating from Fort Vancouver High School and attending Clark before she graduated from the University of Oregon Dental School (OHSU) as a dental hygienist in 1966. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Portland State University in 1988.


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