January 17, 2003


Nation's Top Professors Honored: OCCC Professor One of 46 Saluted for Extraordinary Contribution to Teaching Christopher Oehrlein

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recently named an Oklahoma City Community College math professor the 2002 Oklahoma Professor of the Year. Christopher Oehrlein was honored for his dedication to teaching, commitment to students and creative approach to education.

"We are pleased to honor these distinguished professors who have demonstrated a passion for teaching, a dedication to student learning, and a commitment to an examination of their teaching practice," said Carnegie Foundation President Lee S. Shulman. "These extraordinary teachers are shaping the lives of tomorrow's leaders and scholars everyday in their classrooms."

Last spring CASE assembled two preliminary panels of judges who evaluated the nominees in four areas: 1) impact on and involvement with undergraduate students; 2) scholarly approach to teaching and learning; 3) contributions to undergraduate education within the institution and community; and 4) support from colleagues and students. Oehrlein was one of 46 state-level winners.

The Professors of the Year were honored today at a luncheon at the National Press Club. John H. Marburger III, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, was the keynote speaker.

Oehrlein has been a full-time faculty member at Oklahoma City Community College since August of 1997. J. P. Johnson, director of early college awareness, nominated him for the award.

"Chris isn't just a math teacher," said Johnson, "He is a true educator with tremendous knowledge of mathematics, almost infinite patience, a creative spirit, and fierce determination to help each student learn challenging concepts."

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching was founded in 1905 by Andrew Carnegie "to do and perform all things necessary to encourage, uphold and dignify the profession of teaching." The Foundation is the third-oldest foundation in the nation. Its non-profit research activities are produced by a small group of distinguished scholars.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is the largest international association of education institutions, serving more than 3,200 universities, colleges, schools and related organizations in 45 countries. CASE is the leading resource for professional development, information and standards in the fields of education fund raising, communications and alumni relations.

TIAA-CREF, one of America's leading financial services organizations and higher education's premier retirement system, is the primary sponsor for the awards ceremony.

Story Contact: Jessica Martinez-Brooks, (405) 682-7590