Exceptional Faculty Awards (2005-2006)

Brenda Knutson, Dental Hygiene Instructor

2005-2006 Exceptional Faculty Award honoree Brenda KnutsonStudents in the Clark College Dental Hygiene Program know the rigors of a demanding curriculum firsthand, but that does not stop them from volunteering their own time and resources to make a positive impact on their community.  Many attend health fairs in an effort to educate the public and to help provide health care for those who may not have access, and they have started a “shoebox ministry” to distribute shoeboxes filled with toys and health care items and information to needy children.

These students credit instructor Brenda Knutson as their inspiration, noting that she models positive encouragement and a cooperative spirit that transcends the classroom experience.  They describe her commitment to a high quality education for each individual student and appreciate that she leads by example.  “Brenda holds us to excellence because she expects nothing less from herself,” stated one student.

As one of the primary instructors for junior dental hygiene students, Brenda Knutson uses both traditional and innovative teaching methods in order to foster all types of learning styles.  Her creative techniques lend a sense of camaraderie and teamwork among the students.  Said one student, “When our workload becomes more difficult and the students feel overwhelmed, Brenda is all the more positive and supportive.  I believe much of our success can be directly attributed to the positive leadership and influence of Brenda Knutson.”

Chris Milner, Mathematics Instructor

2005-2006 Exceptional Faculty Award honoree Chris MilnerA “math revolution” is underway at Clark College.  Students in Chris Milner’s classes who readily admit they once struggled with mathematics insist his love and excitement for the subject is contagious.  “Math has never been my favorite subject,” said one student.  “But because of the excellent instruction by Chris Milner -- believe it or not -- now I think math is fun!”

Acknowledged for his professionalism and his exceptional dedication to students, Chris Milner uses straightforward examples and humor to explain complicated concepts ways students can understand.  They appreciate his patient and thorough teaching methods and his willingness to do whatever it takes to ensure comprehension.  “Chris is always available to help,” said one student, who also praised Chris Milner for returning homework and tests immediately upon grading them, providing valuable and timely feedback to his students.

This commitment stems from both a passion for his subject and genuine interest in student success explained one of Chris Milner’s students.  “It’s easy to see he enjoys what he does,” she said. 

Another student added, “I really believe the whole class feels the same way.  The students are upbeat.  I have spoken with my classmates -- they are excited and understanding the material.”

Beth Heron, Metal Arts Instructor

2005-2006 Exceptional Faculty honoree Beth HeronBeth Heron never fails to amaze her students.  One student observed, “She teaches welding, the use of oxy-acetylene torches, the use of monster machines…  Yet, on another day, she teaches a class in jewelry, probably one of the more sensitive and delicate skills to teach.”  As a metal arts instructor, Beth Heron blends complex physical skills with advanced artistic skills and techniques and demonstrates this unique combination to her students in a hands-on way every day.

Students in Beth Heron’s classes emphasize her commitment to providing individual attention for each student and remark that she is always available to students -- answering questions, resolving issues, helping to fix things.  “She is the essence of an exceptional teacher,” said one student.  Students also attest to her ability to remain enthusiastic and positive.  “When critiquing projects,” said one student, “she accentuates the positive and motivates the student to recognize what the piece has the potential to be.”

Beth Heron is a “woman working in a man’s world” and the composition of her classes also reflects her commitment to diversity -- including students ranging in age from 17 to 65 from various backgrounds and educational fields.  She deftly juggles the demands of each individual and does it all with a gentle spirit.  Summarized one student, “Beth Heron is at the very top of the list of instructors who have encouraged, inspired, and stimulated me to learn.”