Artist, Monroe Community College professor, Yankees fan and jazz lover Kathleen Farrell (Greece) was recently named an inaugural recipient of the John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Award. The award is given by the League for Innovation in the Community College in recognition of her leadership and teaching.
Farrell started her MCC career more than a quarter of a century ago, eventually becoming director of MCC’s Mercer Gallery and teaching art at the college. During her first 10 years here, she managed to bring in over a quarter of a million dollars in grants and was instrumental in developing the Mercer Gallery’s national reputation.
“I’ve always looked at the gallery as a teaching space,” she said. “This is a place where our students can see the art – for many of them this is the first time they’ve actually stood in front of a painting or sculpture. But beyond that, they often get to meet the exhibiting artists. They have an opportunity to speak with them, to ask questions and, hopefully, to discover something about their own creative potential. That’s huge.”
According to Farrell, coaxing her students out of their comfort zone is simply part of her role as a teacher. “For years, I’ve taken a group of students to New York City to visit the art museums and experience the diversity there. I’ve taken students to London, Montreal, Spain, Italy and Paris, too,” she said. “And I tell them, go, explore, it’s a huge and interesting world out there so soak it up, have at it.”
The John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Award is the most recent of several honors Farrell has earned throughout her MCC career. In 1996, she was awarded the prestigious State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service. In 2001 she received the NISOD Excellence Award for Teaching. In 2002, she was the recipient of the State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Scholarship and Creative Activities.
When asked what makes her good at what she does, Farrell responded with a grin. “I love my job,” she said. “There’s no substitute for that.”
About the John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards:
John E. and Suanne D. Roueche, leaders in the community college field and early proponents of the idea that teachers have major responsibility for how well students perform in the classroom, have been partners and friends of the League for Innovation in the Community College for over 35 years. What began as a working relationship with the founders of the League has evolved into a full-fledged partnership through collaborative efforts on projects of mutual interest and national concern.
In recognition of the long tradition of excellence in community college teaching and leadership, the League is proud to announce the establishment of the John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards in 2012. These awards are open to League Alliance member institutions to celebrate outstanding contributions and leadership by community college faculty and staff.