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Carol Bonham awarded with PHEA teacher of the year

15 May 2017

Pratt Community college has awarded their 2017 Pratt Higher Education Associations (PHEA) Teacher of the Year to Science Instructor, Carol Bonham. Fellow PCC instructor and PHEA Teacher of the Year award recipient in 2016, Dave Chambers, presented the award to Bonham at the PCC Commencement on Friday, May 12.

“It’s an honor to receive this award,” said Bonham. “Especially when it comes from your peers who I work with and respect very much.”

Bonham just completed her 29th year at PCC. She began as an adjunct instructor and became full-time in 1991. Bonham teaches chemistry and geology which she has had an interest in since she was a child and is one of many teachers within her family.

“I love the spark you get when a student “gets” a concept that will help them reach their career goals,” said Bonham. “Students share life experiences and begin to relate science concepts to those experiences.”

PCC instructor of English and Literature, Monette DePew, nominated Bonham for the award because of her outstanding display of instruction to students.

“She sets high standards but first meets students at their skill level and then creates opportunities for students to meet those standards,” said DePew. “By setting the mark high and her willingness to help students meet that mark she truly demonstrates outstanding instruction and a sincere visible concern for students.”

Bonham says that her teaching philosophy is centered on the students. By giving them the tools they need to succeed and by sharing observations and experiences in a way they understand. Each semester Bonham says she changes up labs and assignments that emulate the culture of the classroom or what is happening in the world so that lessons don’t become stale.

“I want each student, each class, to have a unique experience in my classroom,” said Bonham.

“She varies her classroom presentations and assignments to better engage student interest and understanding,” said DePew. “She works with students inside and out of the classroom. Her overall goal is student success.”

Bonham said part of the reason she thinks she is successful is because of PCC’s smaller environment. She says it’s an asset to have a small classroom community and to have a faculty that is so close to each other.

Bonham serves on the Executive Committee of the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science (KATS) as President for the 2017 year (previously Vice President). Bonham first became involved with the organization when she was a student teacher and has opted to stay involved by being a regional representative. She is also and a member of the National Science Teachers Association. In addition to teaching for PCC, she teaches science courses for EduKan and was a high school science teacher before coming to PCC.

In years past Bonham has also received the award for Outstanding Rural Science Educator from State of Kansas, the EduKan Achievement of an Exceptional Rating from students and was a National Science Foundation grant recipient for Radiation and Man Workshop.

Bonham serves as the department chairperson for the math and science departments at PCC.

For being the recipient of the PHEA instructor of the year, Bonham received $250 and plaque in her honor.