September 2016, Volume 20, Number 4

Making Their Mark

Pinnacle of Excellence

Miami Dade College proudly salutes its most talented, hard-working faculty members each year by awarding Endowed Teaching Chairs. This year, eight outstanding professors have been chosen to receive this prestigious, highly competitive, three-year award.

The College’s Endowed Teaching Chairs are generously funded by donors through the ongoing work of the MDC Foundation. The honorees were selected by a committee of their peers, who reviewed evidence of student retention and success, effective teaching strategies, professional growth and a commitment to making student learning a top priority in their work. To date, more than 300 recipients have been inducted into the program since its inception in 1992.

Roberto Cabezas, Dr. Robert H. McCabe Endowed Teaching Chair

A true man of the world, Professor Cabezas has studied or taught on three continents and visited more than 40 countries. Born in Havana, Cuba, Cabezas travelled to the then-Soviet Union to pursue studies in nuclear physics. He holds a doctorate from the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, and is the author of more than 20 scientific papers.

J. Danixia Cuevas, Daniel K. Gill Endowed Teaching Chair

Professor Cuevas is dedicated to helping the disenfranchised in society through her work in law and as an educator. A professor in the Paralegal Studies Department of MDC’s Law Center, Cuevas pays particular attention to students who face adversity. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Rutgers University, and a juris doctorate in law from Rutgers University School of Law-Newark. Cuevas was named a Fulbright Nehru Visiting Lecturer to India in 2013 and was awarded a Fulbright Specialist grant in 2016.

Lourdes M. España, Elpidio Núñez/Northwestern Meats Endowed Teaching Chair

Professor España is an associate professor senior in the department of mathematics at MDC, where she has taught full-time since 2001. She has been recognized for her devotion to her students, and a pedagogical approach that links mathematics to the world beyond the classroom.

Arlen J. García, City of Miami Police Department Endowed Teaching Chair in the Social Sciences

Professor García is a licensed mental health counselor and an associate professor senior in the department of social sciences at North Campus. She earned a doctoral degree in developmental psychology from Florida International University in 2007 and began teaching at MDC in 2010. Her research and clinical work focuses on positive youth development.

Carolina Hospital, Congresswoman Carrie Meek Endowed Teaching Chair

The daughter of Cuban exiles and an MDC alumna, Professor Hospital knows something about the transformative power of education. A highly regarded author and professor in the department of English and Communications, Hospital has been teaching at MDC since 1988. The recipient of numerous recognitions, she has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in Hispanic-American literature from the University of Florida.

Kelly Kennedy-Everett, Southeast Banking Corporation Foundation Endowed Teaching Chair in Communications

An MDC alumna, Professor Kennedy-Everett teaches in the Department of World Languages and Communications and also in The Honors College at MDC. Kennedy-Everett frequently incorporates service learning projects into her curriculum. She holds a doctoral degree in educational leadership from the University of Phoenix and has written six publications devoted to writing and service learning.

Steven Ritter, The Mac Smith Endowed Teaching Chair in Environmental Ethics

In a lifetime spent in the study and cultivation of plants, animal science and ecology, Professor Ritter has amassed a wealth of knowledge. As teacher, author and even call-in radio host, Ritter has shared his knowledge freely and broadly in a wide variety of venues. Ritter received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rutgers University, as well as a master’s degree from Northwest Missouri State University. He was awarded a doctorate in biology from Florida International University in 1997.

Marisol L. Varela, Anastasios and Maria Kyriakides Endowed Teaching Chair

A native of New Orleans, Professor Varela has been a teacher at MDC since 2000. Now a professor of English in the Department of English and Communications, Varela is committed to helping students overcome barriers to college success. She is an MDC alumna and earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida International University, as well as a master’s in reading and a doctorate in curriculum instruction and organizational leadership from Nova Southeastern University.


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