A Passion for Technology and Teaching Earns National Honors for Top Professor in Florida

A Valencia College professor is being recognized today by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as the 2011 Florida Professor of the Year.

James May teaches English to speakers of other languages, but he has developed his own style – using technology to get beyond language barriers and help students learn.

“I guess I’ve always liked technology,” May said, “but I have never really believed in using technology for technology’s sake. Ask a language teacher and you will hear, ‘Truly acquiring a language requires interaction.’ As social networking sites, blogs, wikis, video-sharing sites and smart technology proliferated, so too did my ability to interact with my students. And I have found that, in addition to being more interested, my students read and write better as a result.”

The U.S. Professors of the Year program, administered by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), salutes the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country – those who excel as teachers and influence the lives of their students.

A total of 27 state winners and four national winners will be honored at a reception today at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

“We’re thrilled that Dr. May was named Florida Professor of the Year,” said Ruth Prather, president of Valencia’s East Campus, where Professor May teaches. “His students do extraordinarily well. He’s a credit to Valencia and to his fellow faculty.”

May has had an extraordinary year. He won the Excellence in Technology award by the Association of Florida Colleges, taking first place. And last November, May was honored by the Florida Association of Community Colleges as their 2010 Professor of the Year.

Valencia is one of the nation’s largest and most celebrated two-year colleges. In September, the school was named one of 10 finalists for the million-dollar Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, which rewards the best and most innovative community college in the nation. Valencia is also ranked first in the nation among all community colleges in the number of associate degrees awarded, second in the number of associate degrees awarded to Hispanics and third in the number awarded to African-Americans.


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