“Exemplary dedication and commitment to occupational education.”
According to colleagues, students and industry partners, that sums up the day-to-day passion that OCC’s Claude Townsend displays as a faculty member in the College’s Automobile Servicing program. It is also the criteria that members of the Michigan Occupational Deans Administration Council (MODAC) used when choosing Townsend to receive the 2021 Trends in Occupational Studies Outstanding Educator Award.
Each year at MODAC’s Trends Conference, one notable faculty member is recognized for their demonstration of leadership and teamwork impacting learning, student performance and outcomes as well as teamwork and collaboration with internal and/or external associates.
Townsend was nominated for the award by his dean, Jolene Chapman, who oversees OCC’s Engineering, Manufacturing and Industrial Technologies programs. In the nomination, Chapman recognized Townsend’s long-standing work to ensure the College’s program is among the best in Michigan.
“Claude has always been committed to both professional and personal development and industry-based training to ensure his students receive the best education and guidance they need to be successful after graduation,” said Chapman. “His commitment and continued pursuit of high-level industry certifications in the automotive instruction arena truly sets him apart as an excellent candidate, deserving of this prestigious award.”
Townsend joined OCC in 2016 charged with recalibrating and rejuvenating the Automobile Servicing program -- and he’s done so with tremendous street credibility. Among the program’s recent high honors is accreditation from the ASE Education Foundation. In his commitment to teaching excellence, Townsend has worked to earn professional distinction as a certified NC3 Master Instructor – the only community college instructor to earn this certification in Michigan.
Townsend has also been at the forefront in developing OCC’s new Heavy Equipment Repair program to effectively address the skills gap within the region. Launching this Winter, it is the only community college program of its type offered in Southeast Michigan.
Grounded in his commitment to student success and program excellence, Townsend remains humble.
“I was surprised to be given this award from MODAC,” he said. “It is really a testament to the great team we have at OCC in the automotive and EMIT areas that made this possible.”
OCC Provost Jennifer Berne proudly notes Townsend’s collaborative style as do those who work with him most closely – his students, alumni and colleagues.
“Claude is consistently rated as one of the best faculty members at the College by both current and former students and his peers, testament to his classroom excellence and dedication to the program,” said Berne. “We are very fortunate to have someone who is so passionate about student success and a recognized leader in automotive education,” Berne said.
Offering nearly 100 degrees and certificates, OCC is Michigan’s largest multi-campus community college and No. 1 transfer institution in the state. The College provides academic, career training and enriching experiences, designed to empower students to reach their potential and enhance our community. More than 1 million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. A seven-person Board of Trustees governs OCC. Board members are elected on a non-partisan, at-large basis, serve as volunteers and are not paid. Mission statement: OCC is committed to empowering our students to succeed and advancing our community. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.
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