LSC-CyFair honors four teachers with excellence awards
Four instructors at Lone Star College-CyFair won awards in teaching excellence from the school on Jan. 19.
The school, one of six colleges in the Lone Star system, honored Sharon Bippus, Heather Gamber, Maria Sanders and Venancio Ybarra for their commitment to active learning, according to a press release.
Bippus teaches English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). Instead of only lecturing her students, she incorporates small group activities, role playing, group discussion and games. She's also organized opportunities for her students to use their language skills in volunteer projects.
In one, Bippus paired her students with residents at a retirement community. During weekly visits, she tasked each student with interviewing his or her partner and writing the person's biography.
Gamber, who is also LSC-CyFair's nominee for the Piper Professor state honor, encourages her mathematics students to think logically and see the real-world applications of math concepts.
Gamber helps students understand complex equations with hands-on activities, for instance using the dates on a bag of pennies to show a bell curve of statistical distribution, folding paper to see exponential growth, or sparking a discussion about the trigonometric construction of halfpipes for Winter Olympic competitions.
Sanders, who teaches philosophy, says she wants her students to learn to be better critical thinkers and how to discuss ideas articulately. She engages her students with live debates and role playing. A recent exercise in Sanders' class was to stage a mock court trial of Socrates, as outlined in Plato's "Apology."
Ybarra worked in the electronics industry for a decade before deciding to teach the discipline. He's the only full-time electronics professor in the Lone Star system and teaches most of the required courses.
Ybarra focuses on applied theory in his classes, for example tasking students with building a DC power supply or a system for playing Guitar Hero. He also takes students on industry tours and brings in guest speakers from local companies to discuss new technological innovations with his class.
The four professors will be recognized at a system-wide event this spring.
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