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News Release

Date: November 17, 2006
Media Contact: Elizabeth Homan, 301-251-7970; Steve Simon, 301-251-7952

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Montgomery College’s Joan Naake Named Maryland Professor of the Year
English Professor Honored by International Education Association and Foundation

PHOTO EDITORS: For high resolution images to accompany this release, click on these links: naake1.jpg, naake2.jpg, and naake3.jpg.

Montgomery College Professor Joan Naake has been named the 2006 Maryland Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, a national foundation dedicated to supporting teaching, and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the largest international association of education institutions.

The U.S. Professors of the Year program salutes the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country—those who excel as teachers and influence the lives and careers of their students. It is recognized as one of the most prestigious awards honoring professors.

“I feel privileged to represent all the dedicated and exceptional instructors at Montgomery College,” said Professor Naake. “I am grateful that I have had the opportunity not only to foster the intellectual endeavors of our students, but also to grow from the wisdom that the students have imparted to me.”

Professor Naake has taught English at Montgomery College’s Germantown Campus since 1992. To meet the different learning needs of today’s students, she adapted her teaching style and currently teaches two online English courses and one evening course on literature. The literature course is offered for students in the College’s Millennium Scholars Honors Program. It integrates seamlessly with a psychology course, allowing Naake and a psychology professor to co-teach and blend their instruction. For instance, Naake teaches students “Oedipus Rex” when Psychology Professor Diane Daniel discusses the theories of Sigmund Freud.

“I do believe in the potential of every student to achieve at the highest levels,” said Professor Naake about her philosophy of teaching. “Perhaps this is the reason I have spent most of my life, over 30 years, teaching in a community college, a hallmark of democracy, where all students—no matter their economic or social status, no matter their high school record or SAT scores, no matter their race or ethnic background—have an opportunity to fulfill their potential.”

“During her years of service in and out of the classroom, Joan has earned the respect and gratitude of faculty, staff, and students for her scholarship, her pedagogy, her diligence, and her generous support and assistance,” said Dr. Diane Daniel, professor of psychology and director of the Millennium Scholars Honors Program at Montgomery College. “Joan has taught us all how to be better teachers and better human beings. I have never known a teacher whom I have admired more.”

Student Keith Federman said of Professor Naake that “she finds and encourages the best qualities and talents within a student, providing a safe place for them to explore themselves and how they see the world around them.”

Former student Jennifer Ausden, who is now studying at the University of Maryland, said Naake has “acted as the catalyst for my success and it is impossible to imagine my experience with Professor Naake as an isolated instance.”

In addition to teaching, Naake serves as chair of the English Department at Montgomery College’s Germantown Campus. She also assists with faculty educational development by conducting workshops on classroom assessment.

Montgomery College’s student body includes students from approximately 175 nations. Naake embraces the diversity and seeks out opportunities that allow her to study other cultures. During a recent sabbatical, she took courses in Hindu philosophy, Chinese philosophy, and the Third World Novel. She believes the education will help her provide her students with a “broader perspective” and “better understanding.”

Naake, a Washington, DC resident, received her bachelor’s degree in English from Emmanuel College in Boston and her master’s degree in English Literature from Boston College. She also did graduate work in English literature at the University of Oxford in England. Prior to working at Montgomery College, she was a professor of English at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, California. She has also taught courses at Marymount University, Northern Virginia Community College, and Prince George’s Community College.

This is the second time that a Montgomery College professor has been named a Maryland Professor of the Year. Dr. Mary Furgol, a history professor, received the honor in 2003.

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves more than 55,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.

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