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Montgomery College Professor Wins National Faculty Innovation Award

Professor Heather Bruce Satrom, English for Academic Purposes faculty member, received the American Association of Community College’s award for her oral history project that opens doors to deeper understanding and belonging for MC’s immigrant and refugee students

Montgomery College Professor Heather Bruce Satrom, English Language for Academic Purposes (ELAP) instructor, received the American Association of Community Colleges’ Faculty Innovation award earlier this month. Satrom’s award is for her sabbatical project from last spring, an oral history project, which opens doors to deeper understanding and belonging for MC’s immigrant and refugee students. “History in the Making – Documenting Stories of Immigrant and Refugee Students at Montgomery College” is available online.

The American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) annual Awards of Excellence underscore the association’s priorities and bring national visibility to promising practices among its member colleges. Winners were announced at the Awards of Excellence Gala on April 8 during the AACC Annual Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

A believer in the healing power of storytelling, Satrom uses storytelling, through oral history and digital storytelling, in her teaching. She has taught non-native speakers of English at the College since 2005.

“I am deeply honored to receive this recognition, which reflects on the inspiring students who participated in this oral history project,” Satrom said. “It is my hope that increased attention to the project will bring them - and all community college students, especially immigrants, refugees, and first-generation students - increased opportunities. I hope this work will lead to greater empathy and that it will allow us to continue documenting stories, so others may learn from them.”

Satrom has participated in MC’s Smithsonian Faculty Fellowship, the Scholarship for Excellence in Teaching Fellowship, the Global Classrooms Fellowship, the Quantitative Reasoning in the Disciplines Fellowship, the Many Voices One College Global Humanities Fellowship, and the Belfer National Conference for English Educators at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Prof. Satrom was also awarded an Outstanding Faculty Service Award in 2018.

The AACC states that the AACC Faculty Innovation Award recognizes faculty of member colleges who have demonstrated leadership in the development and implementation of a campus program that has had positive impact on the learning experience for students. The outcome of this program should result in the improvement of student completion numbers within a course or a degree field. Nominees should demonstrate an ongoing commitment to student access and success.

Criteria used to evaluate applications include:

  • Leading substantive and ongoing innovation in the classroom that promotes and supports student access and success.
  • Implementing classroom strategies, including belonging, that have led students to persist and complete.
  • The initiative for which the faculty member is being nominated should be scalable and has resulted in improved completion numbers for the college.
  • The innovation:
  • Focuses on access and student success.
  • Shows a move from low rates of student success to high rates of student success.
  • Supports eradicating achievement gaps.
  • Is based on data.
  • Incorporates the use of data analytics, educational diagnostics, and learning management systems to ensure that students are achieving mastery within the course or program.

Montgomery College was also nominated in the Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership category this year.

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is the primary advocacy organization for the nation’s community colleges. AACC represents nearly 1,200 member institutions and more than 12 million students. AACC provides advocacy, leadership, and services to its members.