Harutun, Keohane earn CMC teaching honors
At the Roaring Fork Campus graduation ceremony conducted earlier this month, Mary Harutun and Wewer Keohane were presented with the Roaring Fork Campus Full-Time Faculty of the Year Award and the Colorado Mountain College Roaring Fork Campus Adjunct Faculty of the year Award, respectively.
The criteria set forth by the CMC president and staff includes effective teaching, active role in academic advising, creativity in meeting student needs, and involvement in the local community.
Harutun, associate professor of developmental education, is the director of the Learning Lab at CMC’s Carbondale Center and director of the Tech Center at the CMC’s Spring Valley Center, where she also runs the Academic Assistance Center. She teaches reading and mythology classes.
At CMC’s Roaring Fork graduation ceremony, Harutun remarked, “Teaching has been a passion for me long before I was a teacher. I have received far more than I have given.” She urged the graduates to “go forward now” and “Carpe Diem.”
Doug Evans Betanco, associate professor of communications and humanities, said of Harutun in his letter nominating her for the award, “We are more than fortunate to count Mary as a valued colleague.She brings a zing to the learning environment and a needed professionalism that helps us all.”
Betanco emphasized Harutun’s personal approach to effective teaching. “[Mary] has been helping our students to grow in significant and healing ways for many years. I know that her commitment to improving the skills of CMC’s developmentally deficient learners has impacted all areas of our curriculum, for she empowers her students to charge forth into the world as she does, raring to go to war against apathy, dysfunction and negative self-esteem,” he said.
When Jan Shugart, assistant campus dean, presented Harutun with the award, she said, “This person’s entire training and experience is dedicated to making sure that our students succeed. She does this with great style, a wonderful sense of humor and, some would say, `tough love’.”
Shugart added that many new students take their first college classes with Harutun and “because of her wonderful teaching techniques move on to great success in their higher level classes.”
Keohane has long been recognized as one of the valley’s most prolific and revered artists. She has a doctorate in creative art and depth psychology. She is a painter, published author, and previously taught at Harvard and the University of Maryland.
At CMC’s Roaring Fork graduation ceremony, Keohane remarked, “I have made some of the best friends of my life at CMC.” She then admonished students to “focus on what you want to be and to find your purpose and put that to work.”
In her letter of nomination, Mary Clement, CMC division director, described Keohane as “an excellent teacher, an enthusiastic person, and one who freely shares her up-to-date ideas with the college. I value all she has done for the Art/Humanities departments at Colorado Mountain College.”
Betanco, who also nominated Keohane, stated in his letter of nomination that, “This twenty- year veteran at Colorado Mountain College, first at the Aspen Campus and then here at the Roaring Fork, admirably handles a successful career in fine art active community service with the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts, and stellar instruction every semester for our CMC students.”
Keohane’s classes – Book Arts, The Psychology of Dreaming, Drawing, Art Appreciation and Watercolor Workshop – continue to be popular with students. Betanco added that, “Each of these courses swells with happy, engaged students, learning and loving it.”
Keohane describes herself as “a creativity and authenticity coach. I do that no matter what I’m teaching. [I] find out what your unique talents are and blend them with your best self, your heartfelt self. I try to find out each student’s passion and if they don’t have one, I try to help them figure out what it is.”
Part-time teaching is plenty for Keohane, especially now that she is the head of the exhibit committee for the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts. “This is a really active board; I feel very excited about it,” she says.
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Since Colorado’s not yet in the clear of the global pandemic, the Garfield School District Re-2 is heading into next year with a relatively frugal budget.