The Illinois Community College Faculty Association selected Nicole Perry, associate professor of biology at Oakton Community College, as its 2012 Instructor of the Year.
Perry, who lives in Skokie, will receive her award at the group's conference in Springfield Friday, Oct. 26.
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"Being named Instructor of the Year was quite a surprise -- and a real honor," said Perry, who joined Oakton in 2006 as an adjunct and was hired as a full-time instructor in 2009. "Teaching is truly its own reward, and I have such a passion for helping my students succeed in our anatomy and biology classes. But it is nice to be recognized."
The award is presented to one Illinois community college faculty member each year who demonstrates teaching and learning excellence, while working actively with the association.
Ruth Williams, Oakton professor of biology, nominated her colleague, noting that Perry "continually upholds high standards and expectations. She maintains the integrity of her course content, while developing students' transferable skills -- such as critical thinking, literacy, communication, and responsibility."
Williams also highlighted Perry's "brain child," an academic success seminar for biology. Students who receive a grade of D or lower in the Oakton's Anatomy and Physiology I course must take the seminar, which sharpens study skills, before re-enrolling in the course.
"It is always gratifying to be recognized by one's peers," noted Perry, who has a doctoral degree from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "And this award encourages me to challenge my students -- and myself -- to continue doing quality work."