Three Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) faculty members have been honored with the 2014 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) Outstanding Educator award. Bayla McDougal (Addiction Counseling), Cheryl Neudauer (Biology) and Greg Skudlarek (HVACR) were nominated from the College community, tasked with compiling an extensive portfolio of their professional work and awarded the distinguished honor earlier this month.
About the Faculty
When Bayla McDougal started classes at MCTC in 1983, she was a single mother, on welfare and newly in recovery from drugs and alcohol. After 22 years working in the field of addiction counseling, she came back to MCTC as a faculty member in the same program. This fall she will celebrate her 10th year at the College. “I love this place,” she said. “My classrooms are made up of people age 18 to 65,” said Bayla. “Anywhere from 60 to 70 percent of the Addiction Counseling students are in recovery from alcohol or drug use. They are students who already have bachelor’s and master’s degrees, students in school for the first time and students who didn’t think finishing school was an option.” Bayla will take a sabbatical next year to begin work on a book about mindfulness in the classroom. She has been collecting data for this project for 10 years.
Cheryl Neudauer came to MCTC in 2003 as an adjunct Biology instructor, and 10 years later teaches both Physiology and Pathophysiology. Cheryl utilizes a “flipped-classroom model” in her classes: students work in groups to tackle the majority of their tasks, and Cheryl steps in to clarify difficult concepts. “These days, students can get almost any information online,” Cheryl said. “I’m trying to show students how they can think critically and utilize the resources they have.” After a few years of teaching, Cheryl turned her lectures and notes into a course outline with exercises and diagrams. “It’s very affordable, and saves my students almost $500 in textbook fees. They can take another three-credit class for that amount, and now they’re focusing on what’s important.” Among her many accomplishments prior to coming to MCTC, Cheryl taught at a community college in Virginia, performed post-doctoral cancer research and attended graduate school at both the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
Greg Skudlarek was cool before it was cool. He began working for his father’s refrigeration business at age 14, and began his skills education at one of MCTC’s sister schools: Alexandria Technical and Community College. Commuting to Minneapolis from Alexandria, Greg started his tenure with the College in 1989 when the program was called Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, and was part of the Construction Electricity program along with Major Appliance Repair. In 1996 the program was officially recognized as a standalone program and re-named Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR) and has become one of the top HVACR programs in Minnesota. “We’re drawing high-quality students to our program,” said Greg. “I have a student who drives from Cannon Falls to come here. He could have gone to Rochester or Redwing, or any of the other metro schools, but he chose to come here.” MCTC’s HVACR program is one of the most diverse in Minnesota, and has earned a reputation in the industry of graduating top-quality students. Greg strives to stay current with HVACR industry changes by attending training seminars, and operates a residential HVAC company in his Alexandria home during the summer.
The Outstanding Educator award is an honor bestowed upon a select number of MnSCU faculty to acknowledge and reward exceptional individual professional accomplishment and to encourage ongoing excellence. This designation by their presidents reflects the exceptional commitment that each of the nominees have demonstrated in teaching, in their continuous professional development, and in their service to students, the college and the MnSCU system.
This month, the MnSCU Board of Trustees will honor a total of 30 outstanding educators who teach at 17 colleges around the state. The board will also announce selection of its 2014 Educators of the Year—an extremely significant achievement. Click here for more information.