Minnesota State Community and Technical College instructors Dr. Matthew Borcherding and Pam Cummings have been honored by the Minnesota State colleges and universities as 2017 Outstanding Educators for excellence in teaching.
The system-wide Board of Trustees’ Outstanding Educator award recognizes educators for their exemplary work with and service to students, their institutions and Minnesota State.
Borcherding joined M State as a biology instructor in 2001 on the Fergus Falls campus and in January was named interim dean of liberal arts & sciences.
“My goal is to get my students to think outside of the box,” Borcherding said. “One of the basic tenets of science is to push the limits of knowledge, and that is something I try to accomplish with my students in every course I teach.”
Cummings joined the college in 1999 as an instructor in the Paralegal program, which is taught in Detroit Lakes and online.
“My philosophy of teaching is simple: Teach how to learn,” she said. “I want my students to question ‘why’ on the assignments they are doing. Having critical thinking skills is crucial in the legal field and in life.”
Borcherding and Cummings were chosen for the Outstanding Educator award by M State President Peggy Kennedy based on nominations by students, faculty peers and staff. They were among 31 educators from 20 two-year colleges honored by the Minnesota State system at its annual Board of Trustees awards luncheon in St. Paul on April 19.
“Pam Cummings and Dr. Matthew Borcherding are excellent instructors who are tirelessly focused on student success,” said Dr. Carrie Brimhall, M State vice president and chief academic officer. “The Board of Trustees’ recognition is a testament to their service to the college, our students and our communities and a reflection on the quality of their teaching. We are incredibly proud to see two more faculty honored at this event.”
Previous M State Outstanding Educators include instructors Roberta Freeman, Loren Haagenson, Nandini Banerji, Teresa Beacom, Nancy Stigen, Bill Evans, Dixie Fjeld and James Bainer. Two M State instructors, Shana Petermann in 2015 and Paul Carney in 2012, were named Educators of the Year, the Minnesota State system’s highest teaching award.
The Minnesota State system includes 24 two-year community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving more than 430,000 students. It is the fifth-largest higher education system of its kind in the United States.