MOE awards recognize faculty

MOE AwardsOn Wednesday, Feb. 6, Bellevue College staff, faculty, administrators, members of the BC Foundation, friends and family gathered to celebrate four of their colleague’s achievements during the Twenty-Ninth Annual Awards Ceremony for the 2013 Margin of Excellence Awards. For nearly three decades, the BC Foundation has recognized those who have “gone above and beyond the call of duty” said Sarah Langton, president-elect of the BC Foundation board of directors, “supporting our students and each other as we continue to provide life-long learning opportunities to everyone in our community.”

This year’s recipient of the Classified Employee Award was Becky Turnbull.  Turnbull has worked for the past 10 years in the Library Media Center as a Periodical Technician. “She often goes the extra mile to help with her responsiveness, patience and positive attitude,” said supervisor Xinhang Hu. She has been praised by her coworkers as “caring”, ”supportive”, and when short staffed, “willing to take on extra tasks, on her own initiative,” in her work to raise awareness of the LMC and the resources it offers students. Turnbull has also notably served as the chair of the Employee Pluralism Committee since its beginning, and is credited with founding the LGBTQ and Alliance Group at BC. Turnbull’s colleagues also praised her for her “dedication and team spirit [which] are reflected in her committee work and what she does everyday on her job.”

This year’s recipient of the Administrative Exempt Award was Patricia Dombrowski. Dombrowski has spent the last 10 years at BC and has been key in forwarding the Life Science Informatics Center for which she serves as executive director. Most notably, she is accredited with securing the largest single grant in the college’s history, totally $11.8 million from the U.S. Dept. of Labor. Regularly putting in an 80-hour work week, Dombrowksi’s devotion has “provided the foundation for BC’s newest Bachelor’s degree program in Healthcare Technology and Management, and paved the way for internship and employment opportunities for BC’s students…to pursue training in the health IT industry.” Her colleagues praised her ability to “lead by example”, “inspire others to take initiative”, and for finding “gratification and fulfillment not in what she achieves, but what she helps others to accomplish.”

This year’s recipient of the Part-time Faculty Award was Mark Mappala. As an adjunct instructor of interior design at BC, Mappala has spent the last several years teaching courses in graphic communications, digital design, retail design and foreign studies. His ability to inspire and ease students out of their comfort zone, try new things, incorporate into their design their own sense of individualism and his unrelenting dedication to his students in and outside of classroom hours has not just earned Mappala the respect and acknowledgement of his students and colleagues, but honored BC in bringing national attention. In 2010, the Council for Interior Design Accreditation awarded Mappala with a first-place Interior Design Education Award. Structuring his classes around national competitions, students are guaranteed to leave his classes with real world experience not easily found elsewhere. As described by one student, “[Mappala’s] excitement and enthusiasm about design is contagious.”

This year’s recipient of the Full-time Faculty Award was Gita Bangera. Bangera is not only an instructor, but she also serves as program chair for the Life Science Division, and as assistant dean of the science division. Described as an “innovator,” she has incorporated a very successful “research-based teaching approach into her classes,” which has seen numerous students move on to prestigious graduate programs and jobs in the fields of science and technology. Taking a personal interest in her students, Bangera opens doors and the eyes of her students to see them pursue successful careers in fields they would have thought impossible prior to taking one of her classes.  Not only has Bangera brought national recognition to BC in the way she is working to change how science is taught, but she has also secured grants from the National Science Foundation totaling more than $1 million. Notably, Bangera is currently working to help create a new Bachelor’s degree in biotechnology for study at BC. Praised by her colleagues, “[Bangera] is not only helping her students succeed — she is also blazing a trail for all science teachers in the future.”