Outstanding faculty are everywhere at Pittsburg State University.
But each spring, when three educators are selected as the year's Outstanding Faculty Award winners, those who have made a strong enough impression to be selected by students rise to the top.
This spring's Apple Day convocation recognized a trio of first-time winners: Dr. Cynthia Woodburn of mathematics and automotive technology professors Ron Downing and Bob Schroer were honored for their passion in the classroom and reputation for hands-on education. They will also be recognized as members of the platform party at Spring Commencement in May.
For Woodburn, who received the honor after multiple nominations, the win was a way to honor her father, a former accounting professor who won the award during his tenure at PSU.
"I'm humbled, because there are so many other good teachers at PSU," said Woodburn, whose students cited her teaching skills, personality, and skill at her craft. "It's a good feeling to be recognized."
For Bob Schroer, the award is affirmation that his 30+ years in industry are valuable to students who will soon seek careers in the diesel and heavy equipment field.
"When you work on projects with your class, you always hope the students will enjoy it and learn from it," he said. "To get this award affirms the fact that we're doing things students appreciate and are learning from. It makes my work all that much better."
On the heels of his recognition for leading his latest advisee to a win at WorldSkills USA, Ron Downing says the real reward is simply being able to work with student each day.
"I like to see young people succeed," he said. "If I can pass on the knowledge to help them do that, then this has all been worthwhile. That's why I teach."