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Faculty honored for teaching excellence

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Feb 21, 2022

Four faculty members at College of Lake County (CLC) have been recognized for their dedication to teaching excellence as recipients of 2022 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Awards. 

NISOD logoThis year’s winners were Nora Benjamin, Psychology faculty; Natalia Casper, Mathematics faculty; Larry Leck, Humanities adjunct faculty; Gina Swain, Business adjunct faculty. 

Each year, NISOD member colleges make their own nominations based on their own selected criteria. CLC made changes to the process this year, aligning nomination criteria with the new CLC CARES teaching excellence principles and increasing the number of recipients from two to four by including adjunct faculty members. 

Benjamin said, “I feel honored to have received the NISOD award this year, especially knowing several of its former and current recipients. I am inspired each day by my students’ perseverance and my colleagues’ compassion, innovation and adaptability through the immense challenges of the last two years. The pandemic has revealed deeper inequities than I ever thought possible and has motivated me to be even more flexible with my students, to offer second chances, and to let compassion and empathy drive every interaction and decision I make. I want my students to live in a world where these are the values that drive us.” 

Casper said, “I am very touched and honored to be receiving NISOD’s teaching excellence award. I want to thank my family and every person at CLC that has supported me and encouraged me through the years. I am proud to be part of an institution that cares about student and faculty success.” 

Swain said, “It is an honor to be recognized by CLC for my student-centric teaching methods. By recognizing and valuing the varied backgrounds of my students, I aim to assist them not only academically but also on a personal level with skills beyond the scope of the course. Doing so has renewed my sense of empathy and awareness of how their individuality impacts their performance at CLC. The students’ success motivates and inspires me to continuously improve culturally equitable practices and teaching methods in the classroom.” 

Leck said, “I am humbled, grateful and honored to receive this award. It is a privilege to be part of CLC and its faculty who are dedicated to teaching excellence and community engagement. Our students continue to challenge and motivate me to grow professionally.” 

“The awards give us practical and concrete examples of the wonderful things our faculty are doing in the classroom,” Faculty Development Chair and CLC’s NISOD Liaison Page Wolf said. “This year, because of the alignment with CLC CARES, I think more than ever the winners positively impact CLC in ways that put the new principles in a very real light.” 

About College of Lake County

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.