Ten faculty members from St. Louis Community College have been chosen to receive the 2018 John and Suanne Roueche Excellence Award.
The faculty members are: Carlos Blanco, Patricia Suess and Michael Quintero from Florissant Valley; Dean Brake and Debbie Char from Forest Park; Kim Fitzgerald, Bertha Moreland, Jerry Pence and Jeffrey Schneider from Meramec; and Kimberlyann Granger from Wildwood.
Established in 2012 by the League for Innovation in the Community College, the award is named for the Roueches as a tribute to their outstanding contributions and leadership in higher education. The award recognizes individuals who exemplify excellence in community college teaching and leadership.
Each year, individuals from all four STLCC campuses are selected to receive this honor. They will be honored at the league’s annual Innovations Conference Feb. 24-27 in New York City.
Florissant Valley Recipients
Carlos Blanco is a professor of reading and serves as department chair for English, reading and Smart Start. He is celebrating his 20th year with the college. Said Blanco: “…the classroom offers me the possibility to ‘gently’ but thoroughly encourage and expand the skills of every student I teach. I am very grateful for the service I can provide for students, to contribute to their development, both intellectually and in terms of their affective development.” Blanco serves as parliamentarian of the College Academic Council, chair of the Florissant Valley Academic Council and faculty liaison for dual enrollment in English. He is also a member of the Florissant Valley Academic Curriculum Committee, and serves on the Assessment and Course Placement, Governance and Faculty Qualifications task forces.
Patricia Suess is a professor of mathematics. She has been at Florissant Valley for 20 years. Committed to advancing the use of technology in mathematics education and the promotion of career preparation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, Suess teaches both online and face-to-face courses in algebra, precalculus and statistics. She recently completed seven years as the principal investigator on a National Science Foundation-funded STEM scholarship program at Florissant Valley. Suess and her students presented about the program at the League for Innovation’s STEMtech and Innovations Conference. She is a member of the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges. She has served as math department chair, president of the Campus Governance Council and president of the College Governance Council. Patricia has received Emerging Scholar mentor recognition and the Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award, among others.
Michael Quintero is a professor of fine arts. He is in his 12th year at Florissant Valley. In addition to teaching, Quintero serves as coordinator of the general fine arts program. He primarily is a sculptor and has exhibited his work in regional, national and international venues. He serves on the Artist Advisory Board of the Foundry Arts Center and Jeske Sculpture Park Commission. He has received the Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award and an Outstanding New Faculty of the Year Award.
Forest Park Recipients
Dean Brake is a professor in the radiologic technology program. She joined the Forest Park staff in 2007. She is actively involved with the American Society of Radiologic Technologists and the Missouri Society of Radiologic Technologists. In addition to helping students attain their career goals in a very rewarding profession, Brake hopes she makes a positive impact on patient care by challenging her students to be the best radiologic technologists. Brake attended Washington University’s radiologic technology program at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology in St. Louis. After receiving her certification, Brake worked at the Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis as a clinical staff technologist as well as an instructor. She also taught full time for the Barnes-Jewish College of Nursing and Allied Health. Brake earned a bachelor of health arts degree from the University of St. Francis
in Joliet, Illinois, and a master’s degree in education from National Louis University.
Debbie Char is an assistant professor of mathematics. She has been teaching math at STLCC since 1997, first as an adjunct instructor at Meramec for 13 years and then full time at Forest Park. She weaves music, history, humor, games, group work, technology and current events into courses that emphasize the beauty, applicability and critical thinking that are math. In her spare time, Char sings with a social justice chorus, walks her rescue mutt, nurtures a tiny garden, and has finally begun to see the world with her husband of 33 years, Doug.
Kim Fitzgerald has served as the vice president for student affairs at Meramec since fall 2013. She began her STLCC career at Meramec in 1987, serving as an academic advisor for 20 years, and then was named coordinator of enrollment management in 2008. In her time at STLCC, Fitzgerald has been fortunate to work with outstanding students, staff, faculty and administrators. She says that receiving the Roueche Award is the highlight of her career.
Bertha Moreland is a valued member of the STLCC team, with 18-plus years of experience. She has served three years as the enrollment services coordinator at Meramec, 13 years in admissions and registration at Florissant Valley, and two years as an academic advisor at Forest Park. Moreland leads by example, remains in compliance and informed of student concerns, and seeks resolution on issues when they arise. She is seen as a trusted advisor to her colleagues across the district on all campuses. Within the past year, Moreland helped to implement a district registration and medical appeals process, serving as a primary designated school official and resident “guru” for international student admissions on two campuses. She also supports growth in admissions outreach and events, while always bringing a positive attitude to her role.
Jerry Pence is the coordinator of the horticulture program at Meramec. It is considered one of the leading horticulture programs in Missouri, and maintains a beautiful 11-acre garden on campus. He joined the faculty as an adjunct, serving for 20 years before becoming the horticulture program facilitator. He has been involved in many aspects of the horticulture industry and is an award-winning landscape designer who has been involved in landscape design and maintenance projects across the Midwest and into Florida. Pence has been published in several industry magazines and was involved in a DIY Television landscape project. He holds a bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Kansas State University.
Jeffrey Schneider is a professor and chair of Meramec’s English department. He has been a faculty member since 2007. Schneider has served in several leadership roles. He holds a doctorate in English from Purdue University. His research focuses on best practices and trends in concurrent enrollment – dual credit and dual enrollment programs. He is now developing, implementing and teaching aligned English composition curricula in St. Louis area high schools. Aside from his research and teaching, Schneider serves as a visual culture area chair for the Popular Culture Association. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the Hispanic Arts Council of St. Louis, for whom he developed and oversees the English curriculum for their Puertas ACT prep and college mentoring program.
Kimberlyann Granger, Ed.D., professor of mathematics, joined the faculty at STLCC-Wildwood in 2007. Since then, she has continued to have a positive impact on students and the campus community. Over the years, Granger has been involved with numerous campus, district and statewide initiatives focused on faculty development, curriculum and student success. She has also continued to be an active member of both the Missouri Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges and the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges.