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2014 Distinguished Teaching Award Goes to Dr. Michael Wilson

May 02, 2014

“Extreme elation” and “excitement” – these were the words Dr. Michael Wilson uses to describe how it felt when he learned he was selected for the 2014 Distinguished Teaching Award. “I was walking on air,” said Wilson.

The Distinguished Teaching Award was created by Phoenix College to recognize teaching excellence by its faculty. The award is based on a teacher’s commitment to quality teaching, ongoing professional development, and service to the campus and community. Nominations for the award are submitted by students, faculty, alumni and members of the community, although, most nominations are submitted by students, according to Dr. Karl Schindler, program director of the Music program as well as chairman of the selection committee for the award and a previous award winner. Once nominated, the committee confirms eligibility for the award, including the requirement that the nominee is a current, full-time faculty member who has completed three or more years of full-time teaching at Phoenix College.

Once eligibility has been determined, nominees must submit documentation of their teaching philosophies, efforts of ongoing professional development, as well as any work outside the classroom they are completing in order to have a positive effect on the campus and community. The process also includes in-class observations from the selection committee.

The in-classroom interaction stood out for selection committee during their review, “[We] felt Dr. Wilson excelled in the classroom, with his enthusiasm for the subject area and his interactions with his students, including engagement that encourages critical thinking,” said Schindler.

Wilson has taught History courses, stretching from the early Middle Ages to World War II, at Phoenix College since the fall of 1997. In his almost 17 years at PC and 27 years of teaching college, “to be named for this award is one of the greatest thrills,” he said. “It is truly an honor to have such a fabulous thing happen to me.”

The tradition of surprising the winner continued this year with the help of Dr. Albert Celoza, chair of the Liberal Arts department. “He told me that he wanted to see me in his office,” said Wilson. “I thought to myself, ‘What'd I do wrong this time?’ He was merely part of the ruse, though.” Three members of the selection committee, including Schindler, surprised Wilson with the award. 

As part of the Distinguished Teaching Award, Wilson will receive a plaque, have all expenses paid to attend professional conferences or seminars (up to $1,500), and have the opportunity to award a student of his choice with a $250 scholarship. Next year, Wilson will begin his three-year tenure as a member of the selection committee.

Wilson will be recognized for this achievement at the upcoming 92nd annual Phoenix College Commencement Ceremony on May 9, 2014, at 7:00 p.m. in Hoy Stadium.