Monday, September 22, 2008

Outstanding faculty honored

By day Allison Gee travels the west appraising costly American and European art including rare sculptures and expensive paintings.

On her off hours she translates her passion for the fine arts using her expertise to nudge students to a new level of appreciation.

As a Rio Salado College humanities instructor, Gee finds immense satisfaction in teaching her students about a subject she’s passionate about.

“I love teaching. I love the whole academic aspect of art,” Gee said. “I just feel really happy I can make a difference and help someone love art and see that art is all around us. It’s not just something in a book it can add something to our lives.”

Tuesday, Gee along with 27 other Rio Salado instructors, were honored for their efforts as Rio Salado College Outstanding Adjunct Faculty for 2007-08.

Rio Salado has more than 1,200 adjunct faculty teachers and 450 online courses. “Our adjunct faculty play an important role in the college. Our instructors are highly qualified professionals with expertise in the subject area. Their contribution to the college is very valuable,” Karen Mills, Rio Salado College Vice-President of Teaching and Learning said.

Gee, who has a master's degree in art history, travels throughout the west including Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and California in her job as a fine arts appraiser. She’s appraised priceless collections and original works of art including a Picasso and Warhol.

“I get to see so many different artists and I am exposed to so much,” said Gee. “Every day is different.”

Her job as an appraiser requires many hours of research, something she finds very exciting. Her position as adjunct faculty works very well with her schedule as a small business owner. If she travels out-of-state she still has access to her students as an online faculty member.

The former president of the Phoenix-Metro Chapter of the American Society of Appraisers, Gee recently became an officer for the ASA’s National Personal Property Committee and is accredited through the American Society of Appraisers as a senior member. Accredited appraisers must pass a difficult test to become accredited.

Also slated for recognition is Debra Cloud, an adjunct math teacher. Cloud has taught math for more than 29 years, 16 at Rio Salado College. A full-time math teacher at McClintock High School, Cloud who spends her evening and weekends teaching online says “you can’t have enough math.”

Cloud began teaching at Rio Salado in a traditional classroom before Rio Salado College’s online program began. Cloud admits she was hooked in just one class.

“To hear my students talk and see their desire was just amazing,” Cloud said. “They knew the benefits of the class and they were willing to put the work in that’s required.”

Born and raised in Minnesota, Cloud who spent a year in Egypt while in elementary school knew by high school she wanted to teach.

“Math makes you think and I am big on thinking,” Cloud said.

Each year the college honors dedicated adjunct faculty who make the college experience a positive one.

“Adjunct faculty contribute greatly to the academic excellence at Rio Salado College," Mills said. “Our faculty are our connection to our students. They are an integral part of college.”