Three Salt Lake Community College faculty members received recognition earlier this year with the Teaching Excellence Award, an award given to those who encourage and facilitate student learning in the fields of academia.
The pictures of Bill Tovar, Emily Dibble and Melissa Tillack now hang on the walls of the Technology Building’s the third floor at the Taylorsville-Redwood campus amongst faces of faculty who have been recipients of the award in years past. For these faculty members, the award means more than just a picture and a plaque.
Bill Tovar, instructor and coordinator for the Professional Truck Driving Program was completely surprised.
Tovar has been teaching at the college since 2006, helping students certify for the Professional Truck Driving certificate, as well as maintaining the trucks and organizing externships.
“It’s one hell of an honor and completely unexpected,” says Tovar.
He had no idea the email sent to him in November was important, and brushed it off as just another junk email. Tovar left for the semester only to return to another email, this one with more pressing information.
“When [I] came back from Christmas Break in January, they told me I only had a week to turn everything in,” says Tovar.
Much like Tovar, Emily Dibble was surprised she was nominated for the award.
Dibble teaches in the Humanities Department as an adjunct faculty. She has been teaching the Intro to Humanities course at Salt Lake Community College for eight years. Dibble hopes that her class and place as a nominee for this award has interested students in education.
“I would like to think that I maybe made a small difference in someone’s life,” says Dibble. “Whether it’s their interest in that specific topic or just their interest in pursuing their education.”
Dibble wanted to thank the person who nominated her for the opportunity to be recognized.
“It means a lot as a teacher to have somebody, I guess in a way, thank you,” says Dibble. “That meant a lot that someone would make that effort to do that.”
Faculty members are nominated by students, fellow faculty and staff for this award.
The nominees are then asked to send in paperwork showing why they deserve the award which may include service hours for the department as well as school.
“There are over 100 and even 200 faculty that are nominated.” says Melissa Tillack, recipient of award and Biology instructor for 11 years. “I think what that really says is that we have so many fantastic faculty members at our school.”
She explained that she took her winning this award as a way to gauge her teaching abilities and skills.
“That was a good way to know that I was connecting with students and able to help them,” says Tillack.
While this award will continue to be given to faculty members in years to come, it does not overshadow the students who were affected by these teachers.
“I have a lot of respect for our students and I think we need to remember that faculty are only here for them,” says Tillack.