Normandale Community College chemistry instructor Betsy Longley was one of four recipients of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) Board of Trustees Educators of the Year awards on Wednesday, April 22.
"If our students are going to succeed in an increasingly complex world, there is no substitute for extraordinary faculty," said Steven Rosenstone, MnSCU chancellor. "We have dedicated, talented, and creative faculty on all of our campuses. Today we honor some of the very best of them for their excellence in teaching and in fostering student growth and development."
Longley was one of only four instructors in the entire MnSCU system to receive the award, which acknowledges and rewards exceptional professional accomplishment in teaching. Selection criteria for the award includes teaching strategies and materials, content expertise and professional growth, assessment of student learning and performance; and service to students, the profession, the institution, and the system.
Longley is truly committed to knowing and supporting her students. On the first day of class, she takes a photo of each student, asking them to write their name underneath, along with something about themselves they would like to share. After 15 years of teaching at Normandale, Longley's student "photo album" has thousands of photos in it, and she treasures it. Personal connections are at the core of her exceptional teaching methods. She believes that as they are learning, students want to be seen and feel a sense of belonging to their courses, to the college, and to the community. Longley earned a B.A. in chemistry from Hamline University and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh.
This is the ninth year of the award. Other recipients of the honor included Victoria Hutson, instructor of art, Lake Superior College; Shana Petermann, instructor of biology, Minnesota State Community and Technical College, and Lisa Smith, instructor of chemistry, North Hennepin Community College. Normandale instructors Andy Tix (Psychology) and Mike Wartman (Communications) also received Outstanding Educator awards at the event.
"The faculty honored today have made an exceptional contribution to the extraordinary education we provide for all Minnesotans," said Thomas Renier, chair of the Board of Trustees. "The work they do in teaching, curriculum development, advising, financial aid, registration, residential life, and student affairs is vital to our ability to serve students and communities in every corner of the state."