CAC sociology professor Derrick Span earns George Fridell Excellence in Teaching Award

Derrick Span(This article is the first in a two-part series on the 2014 George Fridell Excellence in Teaching Award winners.)

By Guy Harrison, Media & Marketing Specialist

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. - Derrick Span (pictured, right), professor of sociology and philosophy at Central Arizona College has been named one of two recipients of the college's George Fridell Excellence in Teaching Award.

Formerly known as the President's Award, the George Fridell Excellence in Teaching Award is presented annually in memory of Fridell, who passed away several years ago.

Span joins Kristen Benedict, professor of agriculture as the 2014 recipients.

"I am honored to be a recipient of this prestigious teaching award," Span says. "In many ways, it is a validation of the need to introduce important and critical issues on race, ethnicity, poverty and power into the classroom and helping students to develop ideas through critical thinking."

Winners are chosen based upon their willingness to further their own knowledge; engage and support students and student knowledge; use a variety of new concepts and teaching methods; and participate in the college's community activities. Recipients must meet the following criteria:

• Demonstrate excellence in the teaching/learning process
• Be actively involved in student learning (inside and outside the classroom)
• Demonstrate use of a variety of teaching methods
• Actively and successfully integrate technology in the classroom
• Actively demonstrate innovation, which facilitates student learning
• Incorporate into the classroom the concept that students have different learning styles
• Be active in institutional, campus and division activities

Currently serving the college as vice president of its faculty senate and as chair of its policy and procedure committee, Span has taught at CAC for the last five years. Prior to joining the college, he served the Community Action Partnership, the nation's largest anti-poverty network, as its president.

Span holds a bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Louisville and a master's degree in social sciences and human behavior from the State University of New York at Binghamton. Span also earned a master's of divinity degree in philosophy and theology from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Ga. and was given an honorary doctorate degree in social justice by Mount Aloysius College (Pa.). He is currently working on a doctorate of education degree from Northern Arizona University, which he is scheduled to complete in May.

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