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Distinguished Teachers

2012 Winners

2009 winners
The 2012 Distinguished Teaching Awards winners were honored at the Quality Awards Luncheon on June 20th, 2013. From left to right: Dr. Rick Bartlett, Associate Professor, Business Management; Eric Kenz, Instructor in Biological Sciences; Beth Barnett, Professor in Developmental Education; and Fauna Stout, Assistant Professor, Medical Assisting Technology. Read about our DTAs and see past winners below.

Each year Columbus State recognizes up to four faculty for the Distiguished Teaching Award. Award winners are nominated by students and reviewed by a commitee of peers. Selections are based on evidence of excellence in teaching. Criteria for selection include:

  • knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject matter
  • establishment of good rapport with students
  • course organization and course content, and
  • the use of a variety of instructional methods and materials in support of student learning.

Recipients are honored during the Employee Celebration of Excellence in the Spring. They receive a cash award, medallion and certificate, and release time to review nominees the following year.

Click a year below to display that year's Distinguished Teaching Award winners.


About the 2012 winners:

Beth Barnett – Professor in Developmental Education

At the end of each term, Beth Barnett’s email is filled with notes from her students, offering virtual hugs, promises of pound cake and sauerkraut balls, and heartfelt expressions of gratitude. And these are from students who absolutely dreaded taking her class…or any math class at the college. Some of her student evaluations state simply that she is “perfect” at everything. Others go on and on about how Beth’s class was the first time they understood math, could do the math…and even loved math! “I’ve taken this class four times,” offered one student. “This was the first time I didn’t stress out about it every day and I finally understood everything.” Others put it more bluntly, saying “if you can’t learn from Ms. Barnett, you can’t learn from no one!”

Beth took the lead role in developing the new Math 1099-Bridge to College Math class, and it couldn’t have been in better hands. The class is a modularized, self-paced format that allows students to advance into college math more quickly by completing one, two, three or even four sets of modules in a semester. The success rate of students in 1099 has been much higher than those in traditional classes. In whatever class she is teaching, Beth strives to convey that the student’s success is her no. 1 priority.

While she acknowledges that mathematics is a thing of value and beauty, it is not the heart of her job. The heart is her connection with each and every student who joins her class.

Dr. Rick Bartlett - Associate Professor, Business Management

Dr. Rick Barlett finds the most rewarding part of his job is to watch his students go on to complete four-year degrees and excel in careers. He believes that peer teaching among students is very valuable, and he uses student teams that culminate in a group presentation to teach them to interact, share ideas, and lead. His students call him “informative, easy to talk to, knowledgeable, inclusive, and wise.”

“Rick is a popular instructor who takes time to create interesting presentations and activities for his students,” says his Chair Carmen Daniels. “He is an empathetic and compassionate instructor whose enthusiasm for the content and the profession of teaching is apparent.” As one of the founding faculty members at the Delaware Campus in 2010, Bartlett was able to work with his Chair, the Dean of the Delaware Campus, members of the community, Ohio State Marion faculty, and the Delaware Campus Faculty Committee.

As a member of the Starfish program and the FOCUS Group advisory Board, he worked on student retention in entry-level classes at Delaware, and he also got involved with community activities such as the People In Need program in Delaware County and Toys for Tots. In 2012, he taught the COLS 1100 orientation class, adapting it to the Delaware Campus students.

Best of all, Dr. Rick Bartlett “makes class fun and interactive,” say his students. “I really enjoyed the class,” said another, “I found it very fun and challenging precisely because it was taught by YOU!”

Eric Kenz – Instructor in Biological Sciences

One word appears over and over on Eric Kenz’s Student Evaluations of his Human Anatomy class: Passionate. “He knows what he’s talking about and is very passionate about it,” says one. “He really cares if you understand and do well and he is passionate about the material,” says another.

“Eric has devised—somehow, someway—to make learning this extremely in-depth, enormous amount of material manageable!” wrote one student. “Many professors are geniuses, but few are great teachers as well!”

“His is the best online course, hands down!” says another student. “This was one of the hardest classes I have ever had to take and yet became one of the easiest due to the layout of the materials, the virtual lectures and labs, the study guides, and the utmost professionalism of the instructor.”

Observers in his classroom say that Eric “has the demeanor of a master professor well beyond his years. He is thoroughly immersed in all aspects of the anatomy curriculum, and his enthusiasm and clarity are very much valued by his students and colleagues alike.” And finally, Chairperson Michael Hailu says that Eric is one of the best instructors in the department, with outstanding teaching abilities and professional talents. After watching him work with students during office hours and hearing students praise his teaching, he concludes that “Eric is a very smart and humble educator!”

Fauna Stout – Assistant Professor, Medical Assisting Technology

Fauna Stout’s teaching philosophy is simple: Be FIRM, be FAIR, and show them that you care!”

She wants her students to learn professionalism, understand that she will treat them each with respect, and learn to believe in themselves. Her students agree, saying “Ms. Stout is funny and makes class entertaining. She sticks to what she says, and is fair to everybody.” They also say “I like the fact that she sticks to her rules and policies 100%. If you don’t do the work, you don’t get the grade, which is very important in the medical field!”

Fauna’s Chairperson Connie Grossman says that she is “an asset to the college, division, department and to the chair. With great determination and fortitude she has succeeded in accomplishing her dream to start a Medical Assisting program at the Delaware Campus, and completed the massive accreditation documentation for S2S and the new site.”

But new campuses, semester conversions and accreditation documents aside, what really matters to Fauna is contributing to the success of her students in the classroom and in their careers. And a quick glance through the multitude of cards, emails and letters from her students, and notes from their new employers reveal just how much she is appreciated for doing just that!


View a panel discussion with the 2011 winners.

About the 2011 winners:

Providing a comfortable and friendly atmosphere in which to learn the complicated skills necessary to sign and interpret is Christine Evenson’s specialty.  Classroom observers note that she provides a relaxed but focused atmosphere, using humor to illustrate points and allow students to enjoy themselves.  Her students put it more simply, saying that she is “awesome and very nice, and that she makes linguistics fun!”  They write that she has the gift of teaching, is never condescending and makes every student feel valuable.  Evenson manages to teach, advise, coordinate the Interpreting program, and cover for other faculty when needed, such as during Summer terms.  She is active and involved in the Columbus State community, was well as the deaf community.  According to her chairperson, “she is clearly an experienced, confident and skilled professor, whose classroom and personal orientation is very student centered.”

Merideth Sellars' goal in the classroom is to put some HEART into her students’ learning of the biological sciences.  She compares the “spark” of learning to the automatic beating of a heart—it should be something that students do automatically, without outside stimulation. Her colleagues note that she seamlessly links hands-on labs to lectures, in order to address different learning styles among her students, but her glowing student evaluations are more straightforward, saying that Sellars is thorough and clear, enthusiastic and approachable, knowledgeable and just plain fun. Sellars works continuously to improve student learning in her anatomy and physiology classes. She led the implementation of the CONNECT program which allows students to review difficult concepts through interactive learning on Blackboard.  She records her lectures for students to review.  She participates in the Choose Ohio First scholarship program and the STEM Club, as well as sharing her specialized Blackboard sites with her colleagues in the Biological Sciences.  As one of her nominators wrote: “Merideth clearly demonstrates exemplary commitment to education, to the success of our students, and to Columbus State as an institution.” 

As the senior faculty member in the Business Management Department, associate professor Reuel Barksdale serves as a mentor and role model to both students and colleagues. This popular professor’s strengths are in the classroom, where he creates a supportive and encouraging learning environment.  Evaluation after evaluation simply state that he is “awesome.”  Nearly every student mentions that he is “the best professor” they’ve had at Columbus State, bar none.  Beyond the classroom, Reuel’s forte is in community service, where he represents the college with integrity and much-needed expertise.   Those observing his classroom find him to be interesting and thought-provoking;--working hard to gain his students’ trust and making each one into an active participant in the class.  Reuel says that there are two greatest moments in life: the moment that you were born, and the moment you realize WHY you were born.  For Reuel Barksdale, this second moment was when he started his teaching career at Columbus State 14 years ago.

Going to great lengths to explain algebra, including singing about it, is what makes Jennifer Dragoo stand out in the classroom for her students. The Developmental Education instructor, who became a full-time faculty member last year after teaching as an adjunct for eight years, is positively beloved by her students who enter her classroom apprehensive about math… and leave it full of confidence.  There are no “dumb questions” in Jennifer’s classroom.  Her polite, enthusiastic and thorough demeanor helps her students change their attitude about a subject they may have found intimidating, confusing, or difficult.  She not only “sings” about math—writing simple songs to the tune of nursery rhymes—but also creates mnemonics, rhymes, and acronyms to help her students remember formulas and rules of math.  These methods, as well as her gentle patience and perseverance, show her genuine concern for her students and her desire to make a difference in their lives. 


2009 winners

About the 2010 winners:

Daniel Chaney is an exemplary member of the Modern Languages Department. He is regularly available to adjuncts, full-time faculty and administration to assist as needed. Students and colleagues look for and respect his advice and assistance. He is an extraordinary instructor and regularly receives praise from his students on the quality of his classes and the extra support material he develops for them.

The student nominating Daniel wrote: “I want it to be noted that Professor Chaney is the best instructor I have ever had there! He goes way above and beyond to provide the best possible learning experience for his students. I was thankful to have this experience because I am registered with Disability Services and really struggle with learning from teachers sometimes when they do not know how to approach the subject matter in different ways. Professor Chaney’s class really helped prepare me for the type of study mechanisms that I need to adopt to succeed at OSU.”

"Professor Chaney," notes his Chairperson Garry Fourman, "was hired in 1990 and has received the award three times. During the last 10 years he has directed the trip to Mexico, which has provided a wonderful opportunity for students at Columbus State. His overall work for the college has been exceptional. "

Connie Clark is an expert in the profession of dental hygiene. Connie Clark started as an adjunct in the dental hygiene program in 1999. She became the full time clinical coordinator in 2007, and currently serves as the program coordinator.

She exudes professionalism and challenges students to become the best that they can be, during their educational experience and as graduates in the profession. One of her students says of Connie, “Whether she knew it or not, I am sure she was BORN an educator. She has the ability to see a flicker of light in a student about a subject and turn it into raging fire with her passion.”

Connie stays current in the fields of dental hygiene and education and is an active member of dental hygiene professional organizations. She researches and utilizes new technology in education and provides interactive learning opportunities in both lecture and lab. She is often in her office advising students or helping them meet their goals in her courses or in the program. Her chairperson, Connie Grossman, says “she mentors and provides excellent role modeling as she welcomes students at professional continuing education courses or meetings. I appreciate her commitment to the students, program, department, division, and college.”

Amy Hatfield has been a member of the Columbus State Community College Mathematics Department for several years as an adjunct faculty member and is in her inaugural year as an Instructor. Amy’s transition to becoming a full-time employee is a strong testament to her dedication to CSCC and her excellence within the classroom.

Amy has a sustained history of excellence (and perfection in many instances) on student evaluations. Amy has great empathy towards her students; and long before she was hired full-time she voluntarily held office hours for her students. A student said of her, “Professor Hatfield cares about all of her students as individuals and will work to help all of her students succeed. There is no doubt in my mind that I would not have understood calculus as well as I have without Hatfield as my instructor. She is without a doubt the best math instructor I have ever had, and the best instructor I have come across at Columbus State.”

A few lesser known facts about Amy are that: she has a patent, she had a perfect 4.0 GPA in her graduate program in mathematics, and she's an excellent mother. All three of these qualities are reflected in her daily classroom instruction. She incorporates real-world examples into her courses, she pays close attention to details, and she exhibits great compassion towards her students.

“Amy’s Distinguished Teaching Award, says her chairperson, Jonathan Baker, “is consistent with my fundamental belief that she is an instructor whose practices merit imitation by both full-time and adjunct faculty.”

Frank Barnhart has been a member of the Central Ohio theatre community for over 25 years, serving as an actor, director, administrator and professor. He is the Executive Director of Actors’ Theatre and he was also recently named “Best Director of the Year” by the Central Ohio Critics Circle for his production of Company at Gallery Players. In the more than eight years that Frank has been at Columbus State, he’s directed eleven plays including the upcoming Spring 2011 production of Reckless; and most notably The Laramie Project, The Triangle Factory Fire Project, and The Shape of Things¸ receiving for each of these the Central Ohio Theatre Roundtable Award for Excellence in Directing. As an invaluable faculty member of the theatre program, Frank has shaped the Fundamentals of Acting course, more than tripling the enrollment; he also created the advanced acting course.

Frank is a beloved colleague in the Communication Department and is adored by his students as reflected in one of his nominations: “Frank's teaching style is the best I have seen in a teacher. He not only helps a student learn but likes for them to have fun while doing so. He connects with his students, he doesn't just lecture to them. He makes it fun, and enjoyable to come to class. His classes are the only ones that I hate to miss, and rarely do. He brings an excitement and passion with him for teaching, and it is transferred to his students. He is a phenomenal teacher.”


2009 winners

Hear a panel discussion with the 2009 winners

About the 2009 winners:

Bert Vonderahe first came to the Landscape Program as a student.  After an entire career in corporate America he made the decision to pursue a degree in Landscape Design in order to begin a business of his own.  Several years after his graduation Bert expressed an interest in teaching the beginning design course, which does not require the faculty to hold a licence in Landscape Architecture, and with our growing need for faculty with a flexible schedule we gave him a shot.  We certainly made the right decision!  Bert not only taught our basic design courses but was one of the adjunct team that modified the course and improved it's content.  His enthusiasm is catchy and the students acknowledge this by their constant complements to Bert's classroom abilities.  He has been a real supporter of our student organization and has given his own time to coach and accompany students to our national competitions in states like Georgia and even as far away as Utah and California.  Berts latest contribution to our program was in the development and subsequent instruction of our Homeowner class.  This course is a great success and a tribute to Berts professionalism and his commitment to education as a life long experience. The student now teacher, Bert Vonderahe.

Tina Berry joined the college in Autumn of 2006 and recently received tenure and promotion to Assistant Professor. She has taught nursing laboratory skills classes and assessment courses, and clinicals in obstetrics and medical-surgical nursing. Her areas of expertise are Obstetrics, medical-surgical nursing, and quality improvement. She has a joint MSN/MBA degree and is currently working on a PhD in Nursing Education. She has served the college as the Team Leader for the Faculty Collaboration AQIP team, as a Supplemental Instruction Leader, and is hoping to work to further the implementation of Supplemental Instruction in areas around campus. Students say that "Tina is always there with a hug when you need it, encouragement when you need that, and to set you straight when you are wrong and need that too!  She is a fantastic role model and the department should be very proud to have her on staff because if we turn out to be like her, then this program is going to turn out some of the best nurses that I  have ever seen".  "Thanks for all of your hard work.  I am not exactly sure how you do it, but in spite of all you have to do, the many directions in which you are pulled, each student you are with is given your full attention with amazing patience.  Thank you." 

Dr. Adam Keller has been a full-time faculty member at CSCC since 2007.  He primarily teaches the Organic Chemistry lecture and laboratory courses.  He is very active conducting undergraduate research in organic Chemistry, where he advises 2-4 students a quarter.  Adam also conducts novel research learning modules in the classroom, which is funded by the NSF REEL project, where CSCC students work collaboratively with 4-year institutions such as The Ohio State University and Otterbein College.  Yet Adam still finds time to actively serve on the college's Shared Governance Instructional Council and the Arts and Sciences Grade Grievance Committee. Adam is known for his dedication to student engagement and success and receives outstanding praise from his laboratory and lecture students each quarter. 

John Wallace, for the past 13 years, has taught mathematics in the Developmental Education Department.  With a passion for technology, he created exemplary PowerPoint Presentations and instructional voiceovers to assist students with additional learning as they click through previous lectures or various topics.  John has created an interactive classroom conducive for learning mathematics.  According to John, the videos allow students to watch me work the problem out for them and highlight certain problem areas and areas of importance.  His students have expressed how the interactive classroom made mathematics enjoyable and attainable.  They have an opportunity to work on their own yet receive John’s guidance at the same time.  John’s student evaluations demonstrate his dedication, and his classroom observations are engaging.  In addition to his full-time teaching duties, John created the department’s first hybrid math section, a combination of online and “face to face” course work.  What an accomplishment!   John is truly a distinguished teacher. 

* Profiles taken from the 2010 Employee Celebration program.


2008 winners

The 2008 Distinguished Teaching Award winners are (from left to right): Gene Strickland, Instructor/Coordinator in Integrated Media and Technology; Leslie Smith, Professor in Mathematics; Julie Molnar, Professor in Modern Languages; Sudha Kolathu Parambil, Adjunct Faculty member in Mathematics.


2007 DTA Group

The 2007 Distinguished Teaching Award winners are, from left to right: Dr. Tom Shanahan, Professor in Paralegal Studies; Susan Rosh, Adjunct Instructor in Mathematics; Mary Lewis, Adjunct Instructor in the Social and Behavioral Studies; and Dr. Tom Habegger, Professor in Sports and Exercise Studies.


2007 DTA Group

The 2006 Distinguished Teaching Award winners are, from left to right: Tony Hage, Adjunct Instructor in Biological and Physical Sciences; Vivian Lermonde, Adjunct Instructor in Communication Skills; Suresh Pal, Adjunct Instructor in Biological and Physical Sciences; and Gene Strickland, Adjunct Instructor in Graphic Communications.


2005 DTA Group

The 2005 Distinguished Teaching Award winners are, from left to right: Cathy Bill, Adjunct Instructor in Biological and Physical Sciences; Melanie Adams, Adjunct Instructor in Early Childhood Development; Daniel Chaney, Professor in Modern Languages; and Lori Woods, Adjunct Instructor in Interpreting and Transliterating.


2004 DTA Group

The 2004 Distinguished Teaching Award winners are, from left to right: Dr. Myung Han, Instructor in Biological and Physical Sciences; Philip MacLean, Assistant Professor of Mathematics; Dr. Marilyn Howard, Assistant Professor in Social and Behavioral Sciences (and a graduate of Columbus State); and Terry Eisele, Iinstructor in Modern Languages.


2003 DTA Group

The 2003 Distinguished Teaching Award winners are, from left to right:Tzu-Yi Alan Yang, professor in Mathematics; Ann Palazzo, Associate Professor, Communication Skills; Betsy Nichols, Adjunct in Psyhcology; and Sue Longenbaker, Faculty, Biological Sciences.


2002 DTA Group

The 2002 Distinguished Teaching Award winners are, from left to right: Dr. Tony Hage, Adjunct Instructor in Chemistry; Pat Rowe, Faculty, Developmental Education; Tom Shanahan, J.D., Professor in Legal Assisting; and Richard Ansley, Professor in Landscape Design/Build.


2001 DTA Group

The 2001 Distinguished Teaching Award winners are, from left to right: Loraine Boyd, Professor in Nursing; Karsten Look, Associate Professor of Psychology; Gilberto Serrano, Professor in Modern Languages; and Cystal Clark (not pictured), Professor, Communication Skills.

1999 -- 2000

2000 Group
The 2000 Distinguished Teaching Award winners are, from left to right: Darrell Minor, Professor in Mathematics; Patricia Archer, Adjunct Faculty in Mathematics; Rita Bova, Professor in Communication Skills; and Susan Rogers, Associate Professor in Psychology.



Julie Dudas, Adjunct INstructor, Medical Laboratory Technology
Tony Hage, Adjunct Instructor in Chemistry
Julie Molnar, Professor in Modern Languages
Pamela Noreault, Instructor Communication Skills


Tom Habegger, Asstant Professor, Sports & Fitness Management Technology
Michael Hailu, Instructor, Chemistry
Brenda Johnson, Instructor, Veterinary Technology
Daniel Wyatt, Instructor, Accounting & Financial Management Technology


Charles Finley, Professor, Graphics Communitcation
Samir Gharbo, Adjunct Faculty, Physical Sciences
Tony Hage, Adjunt Faculty, Biological & Phyical Sciences
Marilyn Howard, Assistant Professor, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Gene Singleton, Communication Skills