Three MCC faculty members were named award recipients for teaching and leadership excellence by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD). Pictured are, from left, Don Curfman, accounting instructor; Kate Midday, English instructor and Ted Erski, earth science instructor.
Three McHenry County College instructors were recently recognized with an Award of Excellence at the 33rd annual National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) International Conference.
Don Curfman of McHenry, accounting instructor; Ted Erski of Grayslake, earth science instructor, and Katherine Midday of Ingleside, English instructor, were selected by the MCC administration to receive the teaching excellence awards from the NISOD. They received their awards at NISOD’s annual Teaching and Leadership Conference in Austin, Texas, which they attended with Bev Dow, past faculty association president and Heather Zaccagnini, instructor of manufacturing management.
This is the sixth year in a row that MCC faculty received this award, and they were among more than 1,000 recipients. The NISOD headquarters is located at the University of Texas at Austin.
"This award is exciting for the entire college community because these three faculty members exemplify the high quality of instruction recognized by NISOD,” said Tony Miksa, vice president of Academic and Student Affairs.
Don Curfman has worked at the college for 20 years and he works with traditional and non-traditional students alike. He meets with students individually and has found tutors as necessary for his students in every level of accounting. He continually looks for updates for the department’s software packages so students can receive greater access to online tools to help them better understand the material.
“I take all of the students where they are and try to instill confidence in them to be successful in whatever they choose to pursue,” he said. I continually look for updates for the department’s software packages so that students can receive greater access to online tools to help them better understand the material.”
Curfman is faculty advisor for the Student Veteran’s Organization on campus. He helped sponsor MCC’s first-ever veteran’s forum last October and helped get MCC recognized as a military friendly academic institution. In addition, he worked closely with the student veteran’s association and helped send nearly 1,000 paperbacks to veteran’s serving in Afghanistan. Curfman founded and continues to serve as chair of the MCC Accounting Bowl for high school students, which is in its ninth year.
An active member in the community, Curfman serves in many capacities, including Board of Directors of the McHenry County Federal Credit Union, where he also serves as chair for that committee’s auditing subcommittee. He is a volunteer with the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars group and a volunteer with the loyal order of the Moose, including serving on the holiday committee for the North Chicago Navy.
Ted Erski has worked at the college for 15 years and he uses hands-on demonstrations and examination of materials in the classroom, such as coal samples, wind turbines, Geiger counters, celestial spheres, and agricultural commodities, such as cocoa and coffee. He encourages open dialogue of controversial issues, which arise in his social science classes where topics of migration, trade, gender issues and international border disputes are examined.
“I remind students that progress only happens through dialogue, and that my classrooms are safe places to respectfully examine topics that are often too volatile to talk about in other forums.”
Erski created several courses at MCC, including The Geography of Coffee, Natural Hazards and Disasters and Energy in the 21st Century. Erski works with his colleagues to regularly critique their assessment efforts and make any appropriate changes, which are re-examined for strengths and challenges in subsequent semesters.
In his own community, Erski volunteers at an organic-based learning farm where he collects eggs once a week and tends to the food and water needs of about 50 chickens.
Kate Midday, who has worked at the college for seven years, is passionate about education and she brings an enthusiastic teaching style to her women’s literature course, both levels of articulated Composition classes and a Learning Communities class. As chair of Interdisciplinary Studies, she has quadrupled in size the expanded the College’s Learning Communities program, which allows students to explore two subjects at once that are co-taught by two instructors during the same class period. She also serves as founder and faculty advisor for the Cheshire Cheese Society, a book discussion club; and is president of the American Association of Women in Community Colleges. As an ardent advocate for women’s issues, she works tirelessly through the Women’s History Month committee at MCC to present and promote the annual Women’s film festival at MCC, now in its sixth year. She is also chairperson of the MCC Faculty Association’s parental leave subcommittee. Her students and colleagues praise her as a dedicated and innovative instructor.