McHenry County College English instructor Laura Power strives to find new ways to engage her students to help them be successful and to reach their educational and personal goals. Her commitment to students and to the college has earned her the distinction of MCC’s nominee for the Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA) 2014 Outstanding Full-Time Faculty member award. She will be honored for her exceptional accomplishments, along with other instructors throughout the state at the ICCTA annual awards banquet in Springfield on June 6.
Power, who lives in Crystal Lake, has worked at the college for eight as an English instructor, where she teaches English composition, creative writing and developmental English. She also co-teaches a Learning Communities class, which blends composition with math and earth science. She is currently working on a textbook for MCC's developmental English class, which will be published in the fall.
"In my classroom I use topics relevant to students' lives; I believe this to be a key to student engagement and success,” Power said. "If students feel that the work they are doing in my classroom can be used once they leave campus, they will be more likely to focus, revise, and create a successful product. They will also be happy, well educated, and successful citizens, which is my ultimate goal as a teacher in a community college."
As MCC's Faculty Development chair, she has been a tireless advocate for the professional development of faculty for the past five years. She also piloted programs such as the "One Book, One College" program that took place in 2010-2012.
Outside the classroom, she has participated in two of MCC's "Alternative Spring Break" service trips in 2010 and 2011. Many of her students have gone on, beyond her classroom, to continue volunteering.
"Laura does an excellent job of creating a learning atmosphere that is relevant to students and focuses on student success," said Tony Miksa, Ed.D., vice president of Academic and Student Affairs. "In addition, her commitment to faculty training as the Faculty Development department chair has proven instrumental in the creation of high quality professional development opportunities for faculty."
Power has served on various college committees and boards, including the Student Appeals Board and a college AQIP "action team" linked to MCC’s continuous improvement and accreditation. She also serves as co-advisor for the Writer's Block, student creative writing group.
She is one of two faculty recipients of the 2013 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) award for teaching excellence. She also was named a Howard’s Heroes Award winner in 2010 for helping MCC students with special needs.
Power has a master's degree from DePaul University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.