Biology/Microbiology Professor Judy Penn has made a name for herself during her more than 20-year tenure at Shoreline Community College. Recognized by colleagues and students as a stellar instructor, Penn’s commitment and abilities go far beyond the classroom. She has authored and co-authored a number of college textbooks, created a sustainable gardening class for non-majors who need a science lab course (designing it to support service learning), and most recently taken the initiative to encourage other instructors to learn more about online education.
It was her commitment to create and lead a Science eLearning Community (SELC) at Shoreline that led Director of eLearning Ann Garnsey-Harter to nominate Penn for a Leadership and Innovation in eLearning Award by the Washington State eLearning Council. Penn pulled together math and science faculty to focus on eLearning in general as well as online science labs.
“Her personal initiative to engage her fellow Science and Math colleagues in learning more about online education certainly fulfills the award’s focus on “the mentoring of eLearning faculty,” Garnsey-Harter said in her nomination form.
Garnsey-Harter explained in her nomination form that her attendance at a SELC meeting and the constructive conversation about online labs was so moving that she nearly found herself in tears.
“I have been a professional in the eLearning field for 13 years and a challenge that has persisted in the field is how to offer science labs online,” Garnsey-Harter said. She said that she has worked hard to support this for some time for online AA students to have more options for meeting that requirement but that it has been a slow process. “During that recent SELC meeting,” she said in the nomination form, “I experienced the power of faculty assembling as a community in a comfortable, but structured learning environment.” She said they were talking openly and candidly about their current practices and how they might contemplate change and she felt confident that they were comfortable because Penn, a trusted colleague, was leading the conversation.
Penn was very involved in the Quality Matters learning community and committed time and effort to take eLearning training sessions and then going back to the FLC to present on what she learned.
(Photo from l to r: Leoned Gines, Amar Yahiaoui, Emma Agosta, Judy Penn, Kira Wennstrom and Sarah Leyden. Not pictured: Federico Marchetti, Linda Kuehnert, Stephanie Diemel, Phyllis Topham, Linda Khandro, Brian Saunders, and Steve Bogart).
Penn will receive grant funds to present on her project at the Pacific Northwest Higher Education Assessment, Teaching, and Learning Conference in May. She will receive their awards at a luncheon session at the conference.