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For Immediate Release (01-38)
Date: May 9, 2001
Contact: Steve Simon, 240-567-7952

Montgomery College Professor Earns National Recognition for Teaching Excellence by Associated Builders and Contractors
Parcan's Honor Comes on Heels of ABC Award for College's Student Club

Mario Parcan, head of the construction management program at Montgomery College’s Rockville Campus, has been named winner of the nationwide John Trimmer Award for Excellence in Construction Education. The Construction Education Foundation, the educational arm of the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., (ABC), a national trade association, awarded the prize.

Parcan was cited for his work with the local ABC chapter; ABC employers; Montgomery College’s ABC student chapter; and for his pivotal role in developing a distance learning course on construction management.

He received the award on Thursday, May 3, at an awards luncheon held at the ABC’s Education Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana

Parcan’s award comes on the heels of an award given to the College’s Student Constructors Association (SCA), for which he is an adviser. Competing against colleges and universities across the country, the Montgomery College club received the ABC Student Chapter Program Excellence Award, which recognizes superior performance of student chapters for projects and activities that enhance the student's learning process.

"You must have enthusiasm to do what Mario has done … he has taught us, he has mentored us, and he has honed us," said SCA President Hank Erslev.

"In my nearly 30 years of teaching, I have never known another professor who continuously receives the highest possible praise from all of the students in his classes," said Jill Irey, chair of the College’s applied technologies department. "He combines the virtues of teaching excellence with a rigorous academic expectation and a nurturing approach. The students in his classes thrive. In fact, the program and the students have gained industry recognition because of his leadership."

George Payne, acting vice president of Montgomery College’s Workforce Development and Continuing Education, praised Parcan: "Students see in him all of the characteristics they need to succeed in the construction industry and in life. Hundreds of students, employees, and construction business owners have taken courses in his management of construction program over the years. He has taken the lead in ensuring that construction students have a continuum of educational opportunities through his program. Articulation agreements with ABC apprenticeship programs recognize advanced placement in the management of construction program; credit by exam for working practitioners; and articulation agreements with four-year program all ensure that students can continue their education through and beyond his degree program."

Parcan, who lives in Rockville, previously ran his own design and construction firm in Montgomery County. He joined the College’s faculty in 1989 as a part-time instructor. After a while, a full-time position was offered to Parcan, and he agonized over whether to accept it. It would mean a major career shift, and Parcan wasn’t sure about leaving the construction business. The industry, however, was undergoing tough times, so Parcan came on board.

"Now," he smiles, "It would take a big crane to get me out of here."

Parcan never really left the industry; every summer he consults for local and out-of-state construction firms. He credits his teaching success to the fact that he knows exactly what his students need; they connect very well with someone who has been where they’ve been.

"I’m not a person who looks for personal recognition," he said, "but this award recognizes the College, our students, and my peers."

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