PBSC Faculty Members Earn Distinguished Teaching Award

Palm Beach State College presented Dr. Matthew Klauza and Dr. Magdala Ray with the Stewart Distinguished Teaching Award during the 2013 faculty convocation for their innovation in the classroom.

Klauza teaches English at the Lake Worth campus, while Ray instructs strategies for college success at the Palm Beach Gardens campus. Each received $5,000.

Before receiving the award, funded through a grant from the Douglas and Virginia Stewart Charitable Foundation, each submitted a proposal that was chosen from a pool of submissions by a nine-member committee on how they designed and implemented a learning routine that helped their students grow in their critical thinking skills.

Klauza’s focused on improving students’ writing and analytical skills. In the lesson, Klauza and his students analyzed the writing approach and strategies in the original manuscripts of author Mark Twain. Students were asked to interpret the changes Twain made in his work and to reach conclusions about his reasoning for the changes. To promote success, Klauza focused on the elements of composition that generally prove difficult for students.

Ray focused on improving students’ test-taking skills. She designed a lesson based on the 4MAT framework developed by Bernice McCarthy, CIO and founder of About Learning in Wauconda, Ill., as well as the test prediction model of Supplemental Instruction and renowned educator Dr. Mark Taylor’s advice for teaching the millennial generation.

Students learned how to predict test questions in a six-step process of preparing for a test. They also applied the process to other applications in college, career and home life. They were then asked to practice that knowledge and skill in a take-home test and then apply the lesson to future tests, including the comprehensive final exam.

Klauza, a resident of Wellington, has worked at Palm Beach State College since 2011. Prior to that, he spent 14 years teaching high school English and college composition and literature in Michigan, South Carolina and Alabama. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English education and earth science education, a master’s degree in English language and literature from Eastern Michigan University and a doctorate in English from Auburn University.

Ray, a resident of Palm Beach Gardens, has been employed at Palm Beach State College since 1987. She has served as an adjunct faculty member, learning specialist, Student Learning Center coordinator, associate dean of academic affairs for communications and math, dean of academic affairs and dean of baccalaureate studies.

Ray holds an associate’s degree from Palm Beach State, a bachelor’s degree in human resource management, a master’s degree in human resource development from Palm Beach Atlantic University and an executive doctorate in higher education from Florida Atlantic University.

Serving 49,000 students, Palm Beach State College is the largest institution of higher education in Palm Beach County. Established in 1933 as Florida’s first public community college, it offers more than 100 programs of study.

ABOVE: Dr. Magdala Ray and Dr. Matthew Klauza.