Instructors receive annual excellence in teaching awards

Each year, two faculty members are selected by their peers to receive the Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Service Award which goes to instructors who demonstrate high levels of leadership, performance and excellence.

This year’s winners are Frank Mestemacher and Valerie Hunt, Ph.D.. In addition to receiving a $1,000 award, they were formally recognized at this year’s commencement ceremony, held in June.

Frank Mestemacher is an instructor in the Carpentry Program at the Wood Technology Center. Several of his students nominated him for the award. In their nomination letters, they reflected on his humility, his commitment to collaboration and group-learning, and his dedication to helping students tackle difficult problems. Frank encourages his students to use their carpentry skills to support their communities. Many of his students referenced a particular project in which they constructed low-cost cottages that provided housing options for low-income individuals.

Valerie Hunt, Ph.D. is a faculty member in the Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Behavioral Science (ABS) program. Both peers and students reflected on Hunt’s superior empathy, her excitement for providing robust educational opportunities to underrepresented students, and her role in advancing the ABS program. She encourages her students to engage in constructive dialogue about race and cultural differences in order to build respect among people from different backgrounds. She co-founded Professors Responding to a Crisis (PRC), a consortium of faculty and community activists working to bring economic prosperity to the black community in Seattle.