Mathematics professor Mohammed Rajah, who has donated more than $100,000 to fund student scholarships since his tenure at MiraCosta College (Calif.) began in 1975, has been named the college’s Philanthropist of the Year. Rajah, a staunch believer in financially supporting scholarships and campus programs, is known for encouraging others to join him in his philanthropy, and his department has the highest payroll giving participation rate on campus. Hundreds of students have benefited from his generosity. Born in Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean some 500 miles east of Madagascar, Rajah was raised by parents who instilled a sense of empathy toward others and a responsibility to help those who are less fortunate. Rajah’s contributions go far beyond monetary. Former Mira- Costa College Associated Student Government President Adam Frye said Rajah was generous with his advice and support. The MiraCosta Cares! Philanthropist of the Year Award is given to a faculty or staff member who has provided or inspired significant financial support to MiraCosta College.
Red Rocks Community College Foundation (Colo.) awarded the 2014-2016 Swede Johnson/- Coors Endowed Teaching Chair to Art faculty member Berndt Savig. As the 20th endowed teaching chair, Savig joins an exclusive group of faculty recognized for their commitment and excellence in teaching Colorado students. The 20 Endowed Teaching Chair faculty members are unique among their peers in the Colorado Community College System, as this premier program is the only one of its kind at a Colorado community college. Savig is a working artist in addition to his teaching. His professional experience leads to excellence in the classroom. He helps his sculpting students formulate and realize their ideas, while providing them with tools that will assist them in continuing the critical thinking and creative process long after they have left the classroom. Savig says his teaching philosophy is to strive to be an encouraging, informative and inspiring model for my students. Savig, who received his MFA from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2002, has assisted students at RRCC appreciate and think critically about their work and artwork since 2005.
Beth Krueger, a professor of science at Central Arizona College’s Aravaipa Campus since 2007, has written a chapter in a recently-published instructional book titled “Exemplary College Science Teaching.” The chapter, called “Take Your Students Outside: Success With Science Outdoors,” was peer-reviewed and included in the book published by the National Science Teachers Association. The section draws on Krueger’s experience with and staunch support for experiential learning. Krueger, who was recently named Faculty of the Year by the student body at CAC’s Aravaipa Campus, was invited by the NSTA to write the chapter after giving a conference presentation on the practice of teaching science outside. The chapter itself describes CAC, the Aravaipa Campus, and Eastern Pinal County in great detail and includes testimonials from several of the students who have enjoyed Krueger’s methods. The outdoors model even worked for a student, David Rowlands, who took Krueger’s BIO 182 hybrid course, which meets partly online. Although the chapter is geared toward those who instruct science courses in higher education, Krueger believes that her model can be scaled up or down to fit any level of education and can be used in other subjects as well. A 2010 George Fridell Excellence in Teaching Award recipient, Krueger came to CAC after serving Miles Community College in Montana as its chief academic officer. Before that, she was a grade 7-12 science teacher at the Westby School, a K-12 school of 49 students located in the town of Westby, Mont., which boasted all of 90 residents and sat on the border with North Dakota. Krueger earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Tampa before getting her master’s degree from the University of Rochester. She holds a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin.