December 14, 2020
Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) has some of the hardest working, innovative and most engaging faculty in the CUNY system. While BMCC is committed to promoting and recognizing excellence in teaching and learning year round, once a year the BMCC Distinguished Teaching Awards recognize faculty whose sustained excellence in teaching incites intellectual curiosity in students, inspires colleagues both within and outside their department, and demonstrates effective and innovative pedagogy.
To view the live streamed event, click here.
This year, due to the pandemic, the Distinguished Teaching Awards celebration, which is co-sponsored by BMCC’s Academic Senate, was broadcast through a Livestream on December 16 at 1 p.m.
BMCC President Anthony E. Munroe says BMCC faculty have played a critical role in helping the college move forward, especially during the pandemic.
“Promoting and celebrating outstanding teaching is a priority and central to BMCC’s commitment to student success,” Munroe said. “It is inspiring to see how are faculty continue to practice innovate pedagogy to offer our students a quality educational experience. We are proud to honor all the nominees and awardees.”
This year, 165 eligible faculty members were nominated from a total of more than 230 nominations from students. (Faculty could be nominated more than once.)
“All of the candidates for the Distinguished Teaching Award were nominated by students and/or peers,” said Jim Berg, Associate Dean of Faculty. “They are truly inspiring examples that we can all look up to and be proud of.”
The Distinguished Teaching Awards is co-sponsored by BMCC’s Academic Senate, which is responsible for the principle academic policy decisions of the college including admissions criteria, academic programs, degree requirements and graduation requirements.
Even though the 2020 Distinguished Teaching Awards honor the work by BMCC faculty prior to COVID-19, the contributions and dedication by faculty in response to the pandemic cannot be ignored.
“Isolated by an unprecedented health crisis, BMCC students, faculty and staff came together virtually, collaborating on technology and pedagogy to succeed in the pursuit of, in the words of the late, great Provost Sadie Bragg, ‘access and excellence.’ We remain a community college with the emphasis on community stronger and more vital than ever,” said Kenneth Levinson, Professor of Academic Literacy and Linguistics, and Chair of BMCC’s Academic Senate.
“When COVID-19 forced in-class instruction to move fully online, the dedicated faculty of BMCC quickly responded to ensure that students continue to receive excellence in teaching,” said Janice Walters, Associate Professor of Social Sciences, Human Services and Criminal Justice. “The BMCC faculty are unique in their continued commitment to providing students with a high-quality education, as well as the support and encouragement needed to ensure that all students achieve their goals.”
The Distinguished Teaching Award winners for 2020 are Cara O’Connor, Assistant Professor of Social Sciences (tenure track); Kimora, adjunct professor in Social Sciences; Joel Barker, Professor of Accounting (tenured), and Jae Ki Lee, Professor of Mathematics (tenured).
Assistant Professor O’Connor received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Stony Brook University with the dissertation, “Empowerment Respect, Self-Respect, and Political Liberalism.” Working at the intersection of political theory, conceptual ethics, feminist care theory and disability theory, O’Connor is interested in reconceptualizing respect for people with severe and profound intellectual disabilities. She is currently working on a book-length project tentatively titled “Unraveling Respect,” which includes chapters on amour-propre, respectability politics, primary goods and disability rights. O’Connor currently co-directs the Society for Women in Philosophy-New York City (SWIP-NYC).
Kimora teaches corrections courses at BMCC. She also teaches courses in the Law, Police Science Department (LPS) as well as the Graduate School and Honors program at John Jay College. She developed the curriculum for COR 397: Corrections and the Media, as well as developing COR 395: Educating Behind Bars and Policy Implications, the first college correctional education course in the United States. She also teaches two leadership courses that she designed in the Honors Program. Kimora is an accomplished teacher in the classroom as well as online. In April 2015, Criminal Justice Pursuit named her the best criminal justice professor in the United States. In 2012, Princeton Reviewnamed her the second best professor (of all professors) in the United States. Professor Kimora has a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Minnesota. Her doctoral dissertation, “The need for cognitive skills training in correctional vocational education programming” was published in the Yearbook of Correctional Education, 1998-1999.
Professor Barker joined the BMCC Accounting Department in 2012, having earned his degrees within the CUNY system. These include an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Accounting degree from BMCC and both a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Accounting and Economics degree, and Master of Science (M.S.) in Accounting degree from Queens College. Barker is also a New York State-licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in both New York and Pennsylvania. Prior to accepting a full-time position with BMCC, he taught as an adjunct throughout the CUNY system, including Queens College and York College. “Teaching seems to be an intrinsic part of my DNA,” as Professor Barker puts it. He is one of the coordinators of BMCC’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, through which BMCC students are trained to be IRS-certified volunteers providing free tax preparation through the New York City Food Bank. He is also committed to mentoring students and guiding them toward internship opportunities in the field of business and accounting.
Jae Ki Lee
Professor Jae Ki Lee received his Ed.D. in Mathematics from The Teachers College, Columbia University. He is interested in developing alternative learning method, Flipped Classroom Instruction and Inquiry Based Learning (IBL). Lee’s areas of expertise include teaching techniques and learning techniques, math education and developing alternative algorithms, among many other pedagogical approaches in mathematics. Lee also earned a M.A. in Mathematics from The Teachers College, Columbia University and a B.S. in Chemistry from SunMoon University in South Korea.
The 2020 Distinguished Teaching Awards finalists
Bettina Berch, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Social Sciences, Human Services and Criminal Justice
Ayendy Bonifacio, Professor, English
Cheryl Comeau-Kirschner, Associate Professor, Academic Literacy and Linguistics
Celeste Conway, Adjunct Professor, English
Barry Cooper, Associate Professor, Accounting
Daniel Diprenda, Adjunct Professor, Social Sciences, Human Services and Criminal Justice
Angeles Donoso Macaya, Associate Professor, Modern Langauges
Christopher Donovan, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Speech, Communications and Theatre Arts
Eleanor Drabo, Adjunct Lecturer, Ethnic Studies
Johannes Familton, Assistant Professor, Mathematics
Miguel Fiolhais, Associate Professor, Science
Herb Fischer, Adjunct Professor, Social Sciences, Human Services and Criminal Justice
Racquel Goodison, Associate Professor, English
Maria Greene, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Science
Alan Greenhalgh, Adjunct Professor, Mathematics
Ruth Guirguis, Associate Professor, Teacher Education
Maram Hallak, Associate Professor, Social Sciences, Human Services and Criminal Justice
Heather James, Assistant Professor, Social Sciences, Human Services and Criminal Justice
Lori Ann Kee, Associate Professor, Speech, Communications and Theatre Arts
Aradhana Kumari, Assistant Professor, Mathematics
Barbara Lawrence, Professor, Mathematics
Jennifer Longley, Associate Professor, Teacher Education
Hyacinth Martin, Professor, Nursing
Michael McGee, Associate Professor, Health Education
Gloria McNamara, Associate Professor, Health Education
Serine Ndiaye, Assistant Professor, Mathematics
Michael Odom, Associate Professor, English
Emmanuel Paki, Lecturer, Mathematics
Sharon Preiss, Adjunct Professor, English
John Reder, Associate Professor, English
Jason Schneiderman, Associate Professor, English
Janet Schwenk, Assistant Professor, Nursing
Achraf Seyam, Professor, Accounting
Jill Strauss, Associate Professor, Speech, Communications and Theatre Arts
Marcos Zyman, Professor, Mathematics
- The annual BMCC Distinguished Teaching Awards celebration, co-sponsored by the BMCC Academic Senate, are being live-streamed on December 16
- This year, 165 eligible faculty members were nominated from a total of more than 230 nominations from students. (Faculty could be nominated more than once.)
- The Distinguished Teaching Award winners for 2020 are Cara O’Connor, Assistant Professor of Social Sciences; Kimora, adjunct professor in Social Sciences; Joel Barker, Professor of Accounting and Jae Ki Lee, Professor of Mathematics.