Marcy Bruflat and John Frank are the recipients of the 2011 Fuerstenberg Teaching Excellence Award. This honor, which faculty members are nominated by their students, is given to those who display high professionalism and excellence in teaching and learning. Recipients also demonstrate positive student-teacher relationships.
Bruflat is a FireMedic/Fire Service instructor at Chippewa Valley Technical College’s Emergency Service Education Center in Eau Claire. She is known for her high expectations, treating students as if they were already on the job. Kyle Homan, a FireMedic student, nominated Bruflat for her dedication. “Her single goal is to make us well-rounded people who will be valuable to any employer in our field,” Homan states. “She constantly preaches the importance of service within our community, both on and off the job. She is a selfless person who puts her students before herself.”
Bruflat has been at CVTC since 1991. Her teaching philosophy centers on altruism. “The successful firemedic demonstrates an altruistic personhood,” she explains. “They serve. They give. They share. They volunteer first and are the last to leave.”
Bruflat strives to help all students be successful. “If students are passionate and work accordingly, my calling is to help them fulfill that passion.” Daily assessments provide feedback on skills, knowledge, behavior, and attitude. Feedback is given in a caring manner that helps students improve.
Bruflat’s most scholarly work was her graduation as an Executive Fire Officer from the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Academy program, considered to be the “Harvard” of fire schools. She also holds a master’s degree in education-professional development from UW-Eau Claire; a master’s degree in education-school counseling from UW-Oshkosh; and a bachelor’s degree in health education/physical education, with a coaching emphasis, from UW-La Crosse.
Before coming to CVTC, she taught health and physical education at Horicon High School, and then became a school counselor. She also coached numerous sports.
Bruflat ended up in firefighting while in Horicon, attending Moraine Park Technical College and becoming an EMT and Horicon ambulance squad member. “I loved it,” she states. When she moved to Eau Claire, she became a firefighter/EMT, SCUBA diver, and hazardous materials technician for the Eau Claire Fire Department. “I just kept thinking, ‘You know, a person could teach this.’”
When she began teaching at Wisconsin Indianhead Industrial Technical College in Ashland, she learned of a CVTC fire service dean opening–and got the job.
John Frank co-chairs the liberal arts program and is a behavioral science and civic effectiveness instructor at the Business Education Center in Eau Claire. Among students he is known for his vast knowledge of law and social sciences. “His experience and stories that pertain to what he teaches are huge pluses. He is always encouraging even when we are wrong, and he kindly and effortlessly brings the correct information to the table,” states criminal justice-law enforcement student Christopher Gagne, who nominated Frank.
Frank’s teaching philosophy focuses on giving students more than skills to do a job. Rather, education is demonstrating why those skills are important and how they fit in the world around us. He challenges his students through a combination of methods and activities.
“First and foremost, you demonstrate relevance; you vary your presentation so you keep your students guessing ‘What’s he going to do next?’; you share personal, real-life experiences … you’ve done it before, not just studied it; and you inject humor into your presentation, since a good laugh aids retention.”
Frank has a bachelor of science degree in political science and economics from UW-Eau Claire and a doctorate in law from UW-Madison. In addition to teaching a long list of subjects at CVTC since 1978, he assisted in the establishment of and was one of the first three attorney instructors in the Legal Assistant Program (now Paralegal Program) at District One Technical Institute (now CVTC) in the late 1970s.
Frank’s experience in the field includes serving as legislative director and then chief-of-staff for Congressman Steve Gunderson; first minority staff director for the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy & Poultry; and deputy chief counsel for the House of Representatives Agriculture Committee. When not working for Congress, he was in private practice as a lawyer from 1977 to 2005.
The Roy and Jan Furestenberg Teaching Excellence Award is to improve education by recognizing quality role models, to increase the value that society places on education, and to enhance the status of and respect for the teaching profession.