Social work, math instructors win Faculty Excellence awards

TRAVERSE CITY — A social science instructor and a math instructor were named the 2014 winnners of NMC's annual Faculty Excellence awards at commencement ceremonies May 3.

Lisa Blackford, who teaches social work and psychology, is the Imogene Wise Faculty Excellence Award winner. Julie Puckett, who teaches beginning and intermediate algebra, is the Adjunct Faculty Excellence Award winner. Chosen by a student selection committee, criteria for both awards include teaching excellence, rapport with students, innovation in the classroom and a sense of dedication.

Blackford joined NMC in a staff position in 2002. She began teaching as an adjunct in 2006, winning the Adjunct Faculty Excellence Award in 2010. She moved to a full-time faculty position in 2011. In their nominations students said:

  • "The professor can sense when students are having a hard time and figures out how to convey the material. The professor also holds study sessions before every test in case anyone needs extra practice with the material."
  • "The teacher brings so much enthusiasm to class! Between class, Moodle, and emails, I feel that I am actually a big part of the class rather than just another student."

A community college graduate herself, Blackford said she believes the community college environment fosters more engagement between teachers and students.

“It’s awesome to get a chance to excite students about their learning and their whole academic path," she said. “It’s nice to challenge them, and at the same time they challenge me.”

Puckett began teaching as an adjunct in 2001. Student nominations included the following comments:

  • "I told her that I was incapable of learning Math. She was quick to make me change my mind. She got so concerned over the fact I had it in my head I could not learn math that it was at that moment I knew she was a teacher who actually cared about her students, and I ended up receiving a 4.0 in both semesters."
  • "This instructor always shows up to class with a smile and a positive attitude. This instructor encourages every student to do their best and shares the excitement of learning a subject that can be very challenging for many."

“A lot of my job is cheerleading and helping students convince themselves they can do it," Puckett said. “They’re apprehensive about math, (but) everybody’s going to get there at their own pace.”

The Faculty Excellence award was initiated by a contribution from longtime NMC benefactors Harold and Imogene Wise in 1970 and first awarded to a full-time faculty member in 1971. The Adjunct Faculty Excellence Award was created in 1999 as a companion.

See previous Imogene Wise winners »

See previous Ajunct Faculty Excellence winners »

Release date: may 7, 2014

For more information:

Andy Dolan
NMC Public Relations and Marketing
(231) 995-1019