News from Montgomery College

900 Hungerford Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850 

Date: November 13, 2003 (03-91)
Contacts: Steve Simon, 240-567-7952; Elizabeth Homan, 240-567-7970

Montgomery College’s Mary Furgol Named Md. Professor of the Year
History Professor, Scholars Program Director Honored by Carnegie Foundation, CASE

            Dr. Mary Furgol, a Montgomery College history professor, has been named 2003 Maryland Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).  

            The U.S. Professors of the Year program salutes the most outstanding 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.

            “For me, teaching is about passion, belief and pragmatism,” said Dr. Furgol. “Passion for the subject, belief in the student’s ability to engage in and make that subject his or her own, and the pragmatism involved in constantly looking for ways to innovate and to create assignments and classroom environments which encourage learning and the development of higher thinking skills.”  

            Robert White, a colleague and professor of philosophy at the Rockville Campus, who has team taught with Dr. Furgol, said, “Having attended daily lectures by University of Cambridge dons for two summers, I can say unequivocally that she outshines the whole lot. Simply put, she is the best teacher I have ever worked with....Despite all her accomplishments and personal distinctions, she is modest and reserved, but her intellectual presence is unmistakable.”

            Most important, Dr. Furgol is beloved by her students. Nina Moore, a former student, said, “....From the very first night of class she made us realize that history is a long, interesting story—something very stimulating if taught with enthusiasm....She would find someone to don medieval suit armor...so that we might understand the burden of the weight, the heat of the metal, and the exhaustion of carrying it while trying to fight....”

            Dr. Furgol was born and educated in Scotland. She attended the University of Edinburgh where she received her MA and PhD in history. Married to an American, she and her husband and three children moved to the U.S. in 1987.  

            Since 1992, Dr. Furgol has taught full time at Montgomery College’s Rockville. Campus. She became chair of the History and Political Science Department in 1996. In 2003, she became director of Montgomery Scholars, an academically rigorous two-year honors program for a select group of Montgomery College students who wish to transfer to the nation’s top universities.

            Dr. Furgol’s academic interests lie in 19th century social history as it relates to the problems of poverty in industrializing societies. She has taught a number of courses on Scottish and British history for the Smithsonian Institution and has led numerous travel tours for Montgomery College to Scotland, Ireland, and England. She also leads the Montgomery Scholars to the University of Cambridge in England for four weeks each summer, where they participate in the International Summer Programme.

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