Two instructors who go “above and beyond” are the recipients of 2012 Fuerstenberg Teaching Excellence Awards at Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC).
Steven Chronis is an instructor in the Criminal Justice program at CVTC’s Emergency Service Education Center in Eau Claire, and Kimberly Ernstmeyer is an instructor in the Nursing program at CVTC’s Health Education Center in Eau Claire.
The Roy and Jan Fuerstenberg Teaching Excellence Awards recognize instructors for their professionalism, excellence in teaching and learning, and their positive student-teacher relationships. Faculty members are nominated for the prestigious award by their students, and those honored receive a cash honorarium of $1500.
Rachel Cernohous, the 2011 Criminal Justice program graduate who nominated Chronis, recalls how he had everyone stand at the start of each class, as a way to teach the students respect, and the importance of respect.
“He teaches his students everything from how important community service is, to how to interact with different types of people, to crime scene evidence collection,” Cernohous said. “But what he stressed most was the importance of how to act professionally and have good communication skills with the public and co-workers.”
“Teaching is something that needs to be done from the heart and with passion. Teachers need to truly believe in what it is they are teaching and know that the classroom is more than a place to learn about curriculum. It is also a place to discuss life and help students learn about themselves,” Chronis said. “The theme I try to instill in my students is professionalism.”
“Mr. Chronis’ time and devotion to his students, past and present, are beyond what is expected of him as an instructor,” Cernohous added.
“Steve is unique in his ability to develop realistic and relevant scenario-based instruction in all of his courses,” said Eric Anderson, Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement program director.
Chronis’ love of teaching can be traced to his work as a field training officer for the Menomonie Police Department since 1990. He became a field training supervisor in 2001. He joined CVTC as an adjunct instructor in 2006 and a full-time faculty member in 2007.
Amber Parr, the Nursing student who nominated Ernstmeyer, recalls how she feared a class in the program–until she experienced Ernstmeyer’s teaching style.
“Kim offers several different styles of learning tools in order to provide something for all types of learners,” said Parr. “Kim is always approachable and has made my experience with a class I feared so much an enjoyable experience.”
Nursing student Janelle McKinney noted how Ernstmeyer set up two study groups per week for her students. McKinney said she only had one other instructor in her entire educational career, which includes bachelor’s degree, set up a study group.
“She brings current, relevant nursing protocols to class to supplement the text. She took time to set up two labs to re-enforce lecture material,” McKinney said.
Ernstmeyer is meticulous in how she aligns course content, learning activities and assessments with core competencies in the field.
However, she says, “As gratifying as it is to review the objective measures of success, it is the subjective measures of success that makes teaching so personally fulfilling.”
Ernstmeyer cites examples of students who have commented, “I never would have made it through nursing school without you,” or “I struggled to pass every nursing class, but you made it all come together and make sense for me.”
She recalls how a patient once confided to her, “You have a great group of nursing students. I look forward to having them take care of me.”
“These comments let me know that I am truly making a difference, not only for our students, but also for our community,” Ernstmeyer said.
Ernstmeyer holds a master’s degree in Nursing from Marquette University. She has been a CVTC Nursing instructor since 2005. She has been a registered nurse since 1993 and has worked as a nurse practitioner providing primary care to patients in family practice and women’s health settings. She continues to work as a nurse practitioner in home healthcare during the summers, keeping her knowledge base current.
Fuerstenberg Teaching Excellence Awards are made through CVTC Foundation, Inc. which enhances the mission and vision of CVTC by securing resources for student scholarships, staff initiatives, technology investments and other purposes. The award is named for Roy Fuerstenberg, the president of Documation LLC in Eau Claire and a member of the Foundation Board of Directors, and Jan Fuerstenberg, a lifelong educator. For more information about the Foundation, go to www.cvtc.edu/foundation or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.