2015 Faculty Excellence Award; Rebecca Donna wins


Kyle Russell

Rebecca Donna, criminal justice program coordinator, brushes bones for fingerprints in the forensics lab.

The winner of the Stephen Charry Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence was given to Rebecca Donna for the 2015 school year.

Donna became a part of the IVCC faculty in 1991 as the Criminal Justice Program Coordinator. She finished her Ph.D. in Sociology in 2001 at Southern Illinois University. In the 24 years that Donna has been at IVCC, she has been a student, instructor, a faculty advisor to the Criminal Justice Association, and a representative of her division and faculty on many committees.

When asked how she felt about winning the award, Donna said, “It is a tremendous honor to receive this award, as I am surrounded by superb colleagues. Every day I observe my peers pour their heart and soul into their classrooms. They question their own pedagogy, continue to learn, and encourage students to critically think.” She continued to say, “I am humbled daily by their compassion, humor, intelligence, and strength. I strive to be as remarkable and memorable as they are as teachers, but more importantly as human beings.”

Donna has over 30 years of teaching experience and is currently involved in four committees throughout IVCC, including advising the Criminal Justice Association. In the community Donna is a member of six associations as well as participating in over fourteen activities.

“I have been blessed in my years at IVCC through the friendships I have made and I cherish those friends both old and new,” Donna added. “I have been fortunate enough to have great mentors (Jack Bauswell, Gil Meyer, Lori Scroggs, Joe Mikyska, Jimmy Hochstetter, John Erwin, and Hans Andrews) who helped me find my way on this journey. My friends, mentors, and students deserve this award.”

“Rebecca is also an example of a lifelong learner to her students because she recently completed training to become a police officer,” Sue Caley Opsal, Anatomy and Physiology instructor, said when nominating Donna. “This not only improves her ability to be an effective teacher, but provides her students with goals that seem more attainable to them as well.”

The goal of this award is to recognize instructors and counselors for exceptional services throughout the college and the community through their teaching, guidance, and assistance.

“Dr. Donna genuinely enjoys the teaching process,” Jared Olesen of the Natural Sciences and Business department, commented. “Because she is so at ease in the classroom, she is able to engage the students in a way that models enthusiasm for the discipline of criminal justice.”

The past three award recipients reviewed and evaluated all the nominations and recommended finalists to be awarded. The full-time faculty then reviewed and scored each of the nominations. Out of the eight finalists, which included Steve Alvin, Sue Caley Opsal, Keith King, Betsy Klopcic, Steve Nett, Adam Oldaker and Kim Radek, Donna was selected to receive the award.

Steven Charry was a history professor for IVCC from 1999 until his death in 2008. Charry was a faculty member whose main purpose was to serve the faculty, staff and students. During his time at IVCC Charry was involved with the school and the community. He is remember by his peers as being a devoted father, husband, friend and teacher. His devotion to the faculty and students is why he is remembered every year through the Stephen Charry Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence.