Mary Bath Balogh takes top teaching honor
Receiving this year’s highest teaching honor, the Faculty Achievement Award, was Mary Bath Balogh. Mary was chosen for her commitment to students, high academic and ethical standards, mastery of her field, and her dynamic, outgoing personality.
After earning a masters degree in biological structures from the University of Washington, Mary Bath Balogh started at Pierce in 1987 as a part-time teacher in the military program. She became a scientific instructional technician, then the military programs’ only specially funded full-time teacher of biological sciences. In 1995, began her tenure track position in biological and health sciences at Fort Steilacoom.
“Mary is a person of many talents. She is an extraordinary teacher, a respected and greatly loved colleague, supportive friend, dedicated mother and wife, accomplished pilot, avid skier and snowmobiler,” said Chancellor Michele Johnson. “Mary is always in action. She never hesitates to help.”
She exhibits total dedication to student success, the mastery of her discipline in anatomy and physiology, and a creative and ongoing commitment to professional development, both for herself and for others.
She is tireless in supporting students. She makes a special effort to know every student: their strengths, capabilities, and career goals. She spends endless hours writing letters of recommendation for students seeking admission to dental hygiene and nursing programs, scholarships, and employment. One student wrote, “I really appreciated Mary’s enthusiasm and dedication to all students. She’s always willing to go the extra mile to help students understand the material. She is honestly the best instructor I have ever had.”
Mary is also respected by her colleagues for her knowledge and mastery of anatomy and physiology. Sandy Lewis said Mary “studies” every day to stay current in her field. She particularly excels in teaching head and neck anatomy, and is considered a master in histology (the study of tissues). She has taught in the dental hygiene program and co-written a textbook entitled Dental Embryology, Histology, and Anatomy, now in its third edition.
Students recognize and appreciate her expertise. Mary is a past recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Award. A student wrote, “Mary was the best part of this course. She is an amazing woman with great knowledge. She is the best instructor that I have had at Pierce so far. I love her teaching style and her enthusiastic personality. She made this course very fun!”
Professional development and innovative teaching is at the core of Mary. Throughout the years Mary has been a dedicated colleague, committed to their success. She has served on numerous tenure committees, while at the military she helped guide the planning of the laboratory areas of the Stone Education Center. In winter 1999, Mary taught a learning community with Karen Harding entitled “Structure, Function, and Regulation of Metabolism.” While on sabbatical in 2006-07, she developed a lab manual for the anatomy and physiology courses.
For winning the award, Mary received a plaque and a check for $1,000.
In 1987, the Faculty Achievement Award was established through an educational improvement grant from Puget Sound Energy. This annual award honors a faculty member who has demonstrated teaching excellence, high academic standards, active participation in college and community activities, a commitment to professional growth and development, and creativity in curriculum development.