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Blinn recognizes three for teaching excellence

Weathersby, Chau and McNutt are recognized for their commitment to student success

May 19, 2016

Janet McNutt Shahnaz Milani Amanda ChauBlinn College has recognized three instructors for their commitment to student success and for the passion and skill they bring to the classroom.

Blinn has named mathematics instructor Leon Weathersby, biology professor Amanda Chau and criminal justice professor Janet McNutt its 2016 Teaching Excellence Award winners. The awards are presented by the Blinn professional associations on the Brenham and Bryan campuses.

English instructor Debra Booth, Angela Hoekstra, parallel studies instructor Judith Lanfrey, kinesiology professor Larry Latterman, biology professor Michelle McNeil, real estate instructor Justin Nobles, mathematics professor Robert Parr and geography instructor Rhonda Reagan were nominated from the Bryan campus. Mathematics professor Shahnaz Milani was also nominated, but removed herself from consideration after winning the award in 2007.

Bryan campus students Jessica Avery and Samira Islam-Mina were named winners of the Bryan campus Blinn Professional Association student scholarships.

Weathersby has worked at Blinn since 2013. He holds a Bachelor of Science in pure mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Science in pure mathematics from Texas State University.

“I try really hard to connect with the students, and I really try hard to make sure that it isn’t just a one-sided conversation,” Weathersby said. “For me, it’s just about removing as many roadblocks as possible so they can make connections themselves instead of me making those connections for them.”

Leon WeathersbyMcNutt was the Criminal Justice Program coordinator from 1996-2014, and has been a full-time faculty member since 2014. She also spent five years as a part-time sociology instructor.

As Criminal Justice Program coordinator, McNutt established an internship class that has allowed more than 200 students to gain hands-on experience with a variety of criminal justice agencies. Some of those students are now employed at the same agencies where they interned.

In addition to her classroom experience, McNutt has 16 ½ years of experience as a juvenile probation officer with Brazos County Juvenile Services.

“Janet is constantly searching for ways to improve her knowledge of subject matter and teaching techniques,” Robert Stanberry, Criminal Justice Program coordinator, said in his nomination letter. “To say she cares about her students is an understatement.”

Chau has been an instructor at Blinn since 2007. She holds a Bachelor of Science in zoology, a Master of Science in forestry and a Ph.D. in biology. She has served as a member of the TCCTA Professional Development Committee since 2012 and the Blinn College Professional Development Funding Committee since 2008. She also serves as a member of the Blinn College Professional Development Committee.

“Her positive attitude and high-energy personality endear her to students, faculty and anyone else who encounters her,” said Dr. Joyce Langenegger, government professor and professional development coordinator, in her nomination letter.

Said Chau, “We learn best within a community that builds on mutual respect, values individual opinions, promotes teamwork and encourages personal growth. I believe we should build learning communities not only within our classroom, but also among faculty members.”