Patricia Bennett-Minor believes much of being a great teacher comes from being a great listener. Now, Bennett-Minor is listening to her colleagues as they honor her with the 2004 Rend Lake College Foundation "Faculty Excellence Award."
Bennett-Minor has two professions -- she is a Practical Nursing Professor for Rend Lake College and also is a registered nurse. According to one of her colleagues, Bennett-Minor "is an invaluable asset to Rend Lake College and its students, the field of education and the health care profession."
Many of Bennett-Minor’s students describe her as demanding, fair and fun. A statement often made about her by her students is "nearly everything she presents in class has an obvious and direct application to our jobs," according to one of her recommendation letters.
Bennett-Minor "has always put her students first in her teaching. Her whole demeanor and focus is aimed at making sure the students have the best educational experience possible ... she is very much a role model of the caring and empathetic nurse," the letter reads.
Bennett-Minor herself says, "To teach is to listen, first to listen. Then hearing the needs of those in our service, to teach is to lead others to a stronger and more autonomous place in life."
Outside the classroom, Bennett-Minor is a tireless worker for the college. She has served on the Academic Council and has been a member of numerous standing and ad hoc committees, and is a "promoter of Rend Lake College and the nursing profession in the Southern Illinois area."
A single mother, Bennett-Minor has managed to find the time and energy to provide outstanding service to her profession, college, students, church and community with "a quiet dignity that all too often goes unnoticed and yet still makes sure that her children have her time, guidance and love so as to be successful, confident and admirable youngsters," her colleagues wrote.
Successful institutions of any kind have one common thread -- "dedicated, tireless, intelligent workers who go about their jobs with a passion ... people who do not seek the spotlight, who neither want nor expect anything more than the small monetary amount they earn to feed their family, the success of their institution and the people whom they serve," states one colleague.
Her friends say her sense of humor makes working with her a delight. In a clinical setting, Bennett-Minor has a strong commitment to her patients and her emphasis on quality care makes her a role model.
"Trish serves as a very professional liaison between the college and area health care personnel," her nomination letter states.
Bennett-Minor helped convert RLC’s "Nursing the Child" course to an on-line format. One of the first on-line courses at Rend Lake College, it continues to be a quality course.
Bennett-Minor is the coordinator of the American Heart Association Training Center and continues to make significant contributions to the Allied Health Division at RLC, her friends said. Last year, the Training Center generated approximately 1,500 credit hours of training to businesses, correctional centers, community agencies and other students of the district in areas such as CPR, automated external defibrillator (AED) training, first aid, Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS).
Bennett-Minor also was lauded for volunteering to take an extra workload by teaching classes left uncovered by a sudden vacancy. "Her unselfish promotion of the department and the college over her own interests makes [her] a true leader in anyone’s eyes," according to one of her nomination letters, which also described her as "truly an unsung hero of Rend Lake College."
"It is my belief that the educator’s role is to help students discover the possibilities and to direct them to their own place of individual strength and freedom," Bennett-Minor said.
Her Philosophy of Education continues: "Were the students all going to (or even starting from) the same place, the trip wouldn’t be nearly as adventurous. It is difficult to listen for the artist and the analyst in each group, to capture the attention of the diversity and really, really hear what they need. It is difficult. It is surely not impossible.
"To run headstrong into the challenges of as many students as possible and facilitate some type of growth in each encounter equates to nirvana in the classroom."
"She epitomizes all that is good about Rend Lake College, higher education and human beings in general," a colleague wrote.
Previous RLC Foundation "Faculty Excellence Award" winners:
2003--Diane Metzger, Mathematics
2002--Larry Sidwell, Business
2001--Janet Miller, Business/Computers
2000--Sandra Cox, Mathematics
1999--Ro Hoar, Developmental Studies
1998--Linda Denton, Science
1997--Carolyn Stewart, Psychology
1996--John Howard Fisher, Chemistry
1995--Dr. Sue Santoro Tomlin, Sociology
1994--Michael P. Mullen, English
1993--Joseph Henry Rust, Speech
1992--William Dill, Mining/Advanced Technology
1991--Jim Waugh, Health/Physical Education
1990--David Scott, Agriculture
1989--Wayne Arnold, Health/Physical Education
1988--Dr. John Homan Jr., English
1987--Sarah Capps, Art
1986--Sandra VanCleve, Allied Health
1985--Dr. Barbara Luchsinger, English
1984--Shirley Yeargin, Allied Health
1983--Gary Wade, Mining Technology
1982--Dr. Eugene Estes, Science
1981--Vincent Cain, History/Political Science
1980--Eleanor Hall, Sociology