Colorado Mountain College names 2014 instructors of the year
Steamboat Springs — “Dynamic” and “spatial” may not be the words most people think of when it comes to geology, but they are among the ones Betsy Frick uses to describe the subject she has taught for five years at Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs.
Frick’s efforts to make geology fun and interesting for her students helped her earn recognition as the campus adjunct (part-time) Faculty of the Year for 2014. Tim Baldwin, emergency medical services coordinator, is the full-time honoree at the campus.
Each year, students, staff and faculty of Colorado Mountain College nominate one outstanding full-time and one adjunct faculty member from each of the college’s seven campuses and the online learning department. From those honorees, senior administrators then select a college-wide award recipient in each of the two categories, representing the span of the college’s 12,000 square miles.
Bringing environment down to Earth
“I’m very passionate about the environment and how it affects our day-to-day lives,” Frick said. “Especially around here; the environment is dynamic and varies at many spatial scales.”
She tries to make her students experience a dynamic environment through classroom activities and field trips.
“A local example of some relatively rapid change to the landscape is that the Steamboat Airport is built on former flood plain deposits from the Yampa River. The river has down cut several hundred feet to its current elevation.”
Frick’s classes also highlight current events, such as examples where fault planes dipping toward roads can lead to rock slides and close roads and highways.
In addition to her part-time work in the classroom, Frick worked 23 years for the U.S. Geological Survey and currently works for the U.S. Forest Service. She tries to provide examples of geologic concepts from her work experience to the classroom. She also has her students research a geologic topic of interest to them and give oral presentations to their classmates and critique each other’s presentations.
“I like the diverse student populations at CMC,” she said. “We have recent high school graduates to adult learners who come back to school. They all bring their own real-world examples, and we all learn from each other.”
Kevin Cooper, Frick’s instructional chair at the college, said she is always willing to go above and beyond for her students. He said Frick’s hands-on approach, with field trips and related life experiences, connects with students.
In nominating Frick for the honor, one student wrote: “She is the best professor I have ever had. She cares about her students and takes the time to connect with them to ensure student success.”
“She’s always willing to learn new ways to teach and listen to what I have to say,” Cooper added. “She’s open to improving and helping students learn and understand the knowledge they’re given.”
Baldwin teaches students why they should learn EMS
Teaching students why it’s important to learn to accurately diagnose someone — as well as how to treat them — is what full-time Faculty of the Year Tim Baldwin has focused on in his emergency medical services classes over the past eight years.
And seeing students use those skills is even more rewarding, he said.
“Whether they become EMTs, or if they decide to go into nursing or medical school,” Baldwin said, “[teaching] is really rewarding work with a wide variety of students.”
Baldwin said he first became interested in teaching while at an Outward Bound class.
“I was a paramedic, so EMS just fit right in,” he said. “I was also working as a guide and had my ski patrol duties, so it was kind of a natural progression.”
Matt Jost, Baldwin’s supervisor and an instructional coordinator at the campus, said the instructor’s knowledge of the subject matter is great, “as is his ability to bring that information to his students in a manner suitable for multiple learning styles.”
For instance, Jost said, some students learn better in class, while others prefer hands-on learning.
“Tim’s community connections with his experience as a paramedic and EMT are also something he can call on for his students and classes,” he said.
Baldwin’s approach resonates well with students, as one wrote in nominating him for the honor:
“Tim can make everyone relate in class or get them to have their ‘aha’ moments.”
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