One of the most distinguished traditions at Miami Dade College marks its 21st year with the announcement of winners of its 2013 Endowed Teaching Chairs.
“Someone told me it’s like the Oscars,” said honoree Ileana Porges-West, who has taught at MDC since 2006.
Seven professors with stellar skills in music, mathematics, journalism, humanities, finance, and international relations will be recognized at a reception at 6 p.m. Monday at the Wolfson Campus’ Chapman Conference Center.
“MDC has always received a lot of recognition and accolades, locally and nationally. But the reason is our faculty, who are second to none,” said MDC President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón. “They allow Miami Dade College to have such a positive national profile. And, this year’s honorees are the best of the best.”
Each year, a committee of their peers makes the selection of the new honorees. The winning professors are chosen for excellence in making student learning their top priority and for effective teaching strategies, professional growth, and student retention and success.
The winning MDC professors are: Rosany Alvarez, the Northern Trust Bank of Florida Endowed Teaching Chair; Sarah Garman, the Dr. Stanley Sutnick Endowed Teaching Chair; Alina Coronel, the Charles A. and Carrie Mastronardi Endowed Teaching Chair; Billy Oliver, the Squire, Sanders & Dempsey Endowed Teaching Chair; Alex Gancedo, the Honorable Jack Gordon Endowed Teaching Chair; Porges-West, the SunTrust Bank Endowed Teaching Chair in Banking and Finance; and Stephen Quinzi, The Frances Louise Wolfson Endowed Teaching Chair of Excellence in Arts.
Gancedo, who teaches social sciences at the MDC Hialeah Campus, has been a MDC professor for 22 years and is co-advisor to the college’s National Model United Nations Team. He is proud that the 18-member MDC team finished in the top 10 percent at the April conference after competing against 350 teams from around the world. Gancedo has lectured at the Russian State Hydrometeorological Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the Jagolonian University in Krakow, Poland.
He called the Endowed Teaching Chair program, and his honor, a unique opportunity.
“The award is your colleagues’ stamp of approval that you have their respect, and that you’re doing the right things for your students. It says that you’re elevating your students to achieve at a higher level,” Gancedo said.
Porges-West, also at the Hialeah campus, brought 25 years of business experience to her classroom. She said she gives that experience back to her students and likes to focus on civic engagement and service learning. She also draws on her background in anthropology, economics, ecology, business, literature and second language acquisition to teach English courses and classes in banking, business, economics, earth literacy and sustainability.
“It is wonderful to receive this award at this stage of my career. I had awards when I worked in business. I am very honored to achieve this from Miami Dade College,” Porges-West said.
She said the college has many cultural activities that she includes in her teaching to give her students real world experiences.
“It prepares them for when they apply for scholarships, internships and careers,” Porges-West said.