AACC to Present Inaugural National Award to MCC Instructor Hollie Benson

Hollie Benson

Hollie Benson

Muskegon Community College reading instructor Hollie Benson, who chairs MCC’s College Success Center and coordinates its College Success Seminar, will be among the first recipients of the Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty recognition presented by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

The primary advocacy organization for the nation’s community colleges, AACC represents nearly 1,200 two-year, associate degree–granting institutions and more than 12 million students.

The Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty recognition honors individuals making a difference in the classroom by demonstrating passion for students; being willing to support students, inside and outside of the classroom; participating in college committees; and going above and beyond what is required to ensure students are successful in their academic endeavors.

The award, which will be presented for the first time in late April at the AACC national convention in Dallas, Texas, was named in honor of the late Dr. Dale P. Parnell. An Oregon native, he worked tirelessly in the 1960s to develop community colleges in that state and later served as the AACC President from 1981-1991 in Washington, D.C. He passed away in April 2017 at 88 years of age.

Benson, who will be honored at the convention, will be recognized on the AACC Faculty Wall of Distinction and on the AACC website.

“Hollie’s passion for our students and their success is a quiet and consistent passion,” noted MCC President Dale K. Nesbary. “Hollie is well aware of the statistics that show enrollment in developmental education is highly correlated with leaving college without a degree.”

“She does all she can to help students avoid her reading classes before the semester begins by assessing their abilities and using a tool other than our standard placement measures. It is not unusual for her to move students out of developmental reading, reducing her enrollment, just by taking a close look at their abilities and needs.”

“For students who do need reading, Hollie provides structure, reassurance, and acceptance to students with all kinds of challenges, not the least of which is their feeling of belonging in a college environment.

Hollie has been an integral part of our student success team for a number of years. In that capacity she has looked at alternate ways to place students, has been involved in accelerating developmental programs through her department chair work, and perhaps most significant, has reworked our college success course to make it more interesting, relevant, and consistent across instructors.”

In 2018, Benson accepted the additional responsibility of serving as co-chair for MCC’s Higher Learning Commission Reaccreditation Team for its 2020 Comprehensive Evaluation.

A native of Grant, MI, Benson earned both a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Michigan. She earned an M. Ed. In Reading from Grand Valley State University.  She has been a full-time instructor at MCC since fall 2011.