Featured Teacher

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Featured Teacher: Shining the Spotlight on Education Excellence.

Do you check the web for teacher reviews? Interested in knowing what your teachers have to say? Here at the Featured Teacher page we're here to bridge the gap between student reviews and the classroom experience. What if you could hear directly from your teacher before you took their class? Come here and you can! Learn about their teaching styles, hobbies, hopes, and much more.

Past Featured Teachers

Matthew Fun - Feburary 2014

Lauren Kuhn - December 2013

Bernice Duckrow - Novemeber 2013

February's Featured Teacher is Matthew Funk

Unfortunatley I missed last months Featured Teacher, but in an effort to keep it going I have started emailing teachers requesting submissions. Though I'm not able to interview them in person, it is my hope that their email interviews will still support student interest and provide informative information to the students. Below is February's interview with Matthew Funk.

Matthew Funk
S: What department do you teach in and how long have you been at PCC? 

M:  14 years (10 yrs FT math instructor at Cascade, 4th year at department chair of mathematics at SE).

S: What is your goal as a teacher? What do you hope students will get out of your class?

M: To inspire my students to be better every day. For my students to become better problem solvers, to be more attentive to detail, and to learn how to think more critically and openly.

S: What is the best piece of advice you might give students who are about to take your class?

M: Give themselves a chance to be successful by not creating obstacles, based on what has happened to them in the past.

S: What teaching style would you say you use most?

M:  Socratic, very interactive; always willing to adapt to different learning styles.

S: What are your rules on attendance/assignment/

participation. I don't need a layout of your syllabus but just a general feel.

M: 2 - 3 tests, regular homework, a participation grade, and a final exam (writing assignments given to classes at 100 level or higher).

S: What were your favorite classes in college?

M: Intro to Religion and Theology, Ethics, Complex Analysis.

S: What do you do for fun? 

M: Plane spotting, crosswords, flight simulation, tennis.

S: Are you working on anything big that pertains to your field of education? 

M: Trying to find a formula for circumference of an ellipse (25 years, still looking for solution).

S: Is there anything you want to add? Future hopes or projects?

M:  Maybe a job as dean in the future, but not for another 7 - 8 years.


December's Featured Teacher is Lauren Kuhn

Lauren works in the Psychology department here at SE and teaches 5 different classes. She has been at PCC since 1979 and became a full-time employee of PCC in 1983. Unfortunately I didn't get the opportunity to sit down with her and do a formal interview due to dead week and finals but she was kind enough to send me the responses to the questions I most commonly ask.

Lauren Kuhn

S: What is your goal as a teacher? What do you hope students will get out of your class?

L: I have several goals as an instructor: to encourage students to take ownership of and be active participants in their education; to be more conscious/critical thinkers; to appreciate how, even if they have no desire to be psych majors, that taking various psychology courses can help them have a better life. I teach five different classes so the goals in each class vary depending upon the course.

S: What is the best piece of advice you might give students who are about to take your class?

L: Be prepared to challenge yourself, to have to do a fair amount of work outside of class, to learn things that will be relevant and applicable to your everyday life, and to have fun!

S: What teaching style would you say you use most?

L: I think my teaching style is fairly interactive. I try to take into account various learning styles by giving lectures and mini-lectures, by facilitating individual, small group and large group activities and discussions, by bringing in guest speakers when appropriate and by incorporating audiovisual and online resources.

S: What are your rules on attendance/assignment/participation. I don't need a layout of your syllabus but just a general feel.

L: This is a difficult question to answer, because as I said I teach 5 different classes and each is a little different. But generally speaking, participation and attendance carries a fair amount of weight in each of the classes I teach, and that involves not just participation itself but the completion of several mini-papers and activities. All classes (except for one) require some multiple choice quizzes as well as the completion of one fairly significant writing assignment, in addition to several smaller ones.

S: What were your favorite classes in college?

L: I loved cultural anthropology and sociology classes, seminars that included a practicum component,  and most all of my psych and social work classes. I also loved theater classes.

S: What do you do for fun? 

L: For fun I like to walk/explore different Portland neighborhoods, check out different restaurants, weight train (more fun on some days than others), hang out with my husband and friends at home or around town, read and play with my two cats

S: Are you working on anything big that pertains to your field of education? 

L: Not really right now. I've done some professional writing and consulting in the past, but lately just teaching four classes each term, meeting with students  and keeping up with my various administrative responsibilities has been more than enough to keep me busy! 

November's Featured Teacher is Bernice Duckrow

Bernice is a Math teacher here at SEC. She teaches MTH 20, 60, and 65 in a cycle starting in the Fall. Read below to see the full interview!

Bernice Duckrow

S: What is your goal as a teacher and what do you hope students will get out of your class?

B: My goal is to help students fulfill their goals. If their goals are fulfilled then my goals are fulfilled. One of the things that is really cool about community college is that a lot of people who come here know what they want to do and what they need to do to get there. To help them do that is very fulfilling. I hope students will learn the material and I hope that they'll pass, but beyond that I hope that they won't be so afraid of math but a lot of it is they don't like math. Most of the reason they're afraid of it and don't like it is because they don't know how to do it. Once they learn how they realize it's not something to be afraid of and it's not something to hate. Maybe they won't ever love it but maybe they can stop hating it.

S: What teaching style do you use most?

B: Well, my motto is mathematics is not a spectator sport. So, I give them enough information to start trying the problem and go step by step and I go around and make sure everyone can do the problem. I don't lecture much but I believe that I have to give enough theory that it goes beyond route memorization of procedure, you've got to have the understanding and that's only going to come if I give lecture

S: What are your rules for attendance, assignments and participation?

B: Well, I want students there everyday; I want them to do their homework everyday because that's the only way they're going to learn. But given that I'm working with adults who have other commitments, who have children, who have to work, I tend to be lenient in my makeup policy. So, finding a good balance between being to lenient and to strict is really necessary. The balance of points is such that you always get another chance until the final, a lot are really stunned when the see how much I weighed the final. But when they realize, ok, so you have this first chance in class, this second chance on your homework, and this third chance with the quizzes and if you can learn it by the final you can still pass the class. That's exactly why I do it, I believe in second and third chances. It's more beneficial for the people who are really struggling, to give them that much weight than it is for the people who have been doing fine all along. The fact that it's worth enough that they can make up.

S: What were your favorite classes in college?

B: German, physics, math, and band. I played saxophone.

S: What do you do for fun?

B: I play computer games and I play the flute. Right now I'm into Dragons of Atlantis. For a while I was really into Sim City. I'm not into the kind of games where you socialize with people you don't know. Even on Facebook I'm not friends with people I don't know. I play with my dogs and do a lot of camping, hiking and gardening.

S: Are you working on anything that pertains to your field of educations?

B: No, mostly I fell into math because I always seemed to be helping people. So, I'm more of a people person than a math person and one thing I do right now is tax preparation which helps lower income people who need help with their taxes. Last year I was working at Human Solutions on Powell. My field is Education.

S: Is there anything you want students to know about you?

B: I don't know, I suppose the most interesting thing about me is how many years I've lived outside the U.S. I went into the Peace Corps straight out of college and lived 3 years in the Philippines and came back, went to graduate school and then ended up in Guam for 28 years. Living over seas is life changing. It's not going to change the world, but it's going to change you. It's so valuable to get outside your comfort zone, even if you can just leave your town and stay in the U.S.

I have to say that I had the pleasure of taking Bernice's Math 60 and 65 classes and I learned so much. I felt truly supported in my pursuit of knowledge and Bernice was extremely helpful and clear in her teaching. She is by far my favorite teacher that I've had--though I've had the pleasure of learning from many amazing teachers at PCC.