Sandra Croasdell, Denise Dufek, and Spencer Slade
Bay College honored its 2017 Outstanding Full-Time Educators at an awards dinner held on April 18.   Don Johnson Agency/MEEMIC Insurance sponsored the Outstanding Educator Awards.  To receive consideration for the award, faculty were nominated by a colleague, student, or someone from the community.  The primary focus of this award is to acknowledge faculty’s commitment to education and excellence in service to others. 

Sandra Croasdell
Sandra Croasdell was hired on August 22, 2007, as a full-time faculty instructor. Sandra holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Cleary College, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Wayne State University, a Master of Science in Nursing degree and Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Oakland University.
Sandra was nominated for the Outstanding Faculty award for her dedication to the profession of nursing, quality in education, and in particular because of her passion to provide the best educational experience possible for our students. In fact, this is the second time since her employment here that Sandra has received this prestigious award.  As well, Sandra has been nominated and has received the Outstanding Person In Education (OPIE) award, presented by the Michigan Education Association, and not for the first time, but once again this year. Linda Lewandowski, Dean of Allied Health stated, “to be recognized in such an honorable light repeatedly, takes a person of strong will and commitment.  Sandra is definitely all of that, and more.”

Sandra has proven herself a leader in the Allied Health Division on many occasions. As stated by her colleagues, “Sandra truly cares about the program, and she cares about her students, now and beyond, as they enter their careers as nurses. She sets the bar high, and holds her students to that level.  She puts her faith and trust in her students, knowing that they can do and be whatever they wish. Sandra is an expert in her field, and imparts her knowledge of critical care to her students, so that they have the ability to pull it all together when it is of the utmost importance. She challenges her students to think outside of the box, and has been very actively involved in the Simulation Center, as well as community education. Sandra follows best practices when it comes to teaching and learning principles, and creates an environment of discovery and inquiry in the classroom.  Her methods are always stimulating and exciting.”

Sandra’s personal commitment to the nursing program, our students, as well as the community at large, have helped Bay to promote student success, a culture of success, and a community of success. This is exactly what we at Bay College pride ourselves on.

Denise Dufek
Denise Dufek was hired on August 26, 1996 as an adjunct instructor, and then hired on August 25, 2008 as a full-time faculty instructor. Denise holds an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from Henry Ford Community College, a Bachelor of Science from Eastern Michigan University, and a Master of Arts in Education from Siena Heights College.

Denise was nominated because of her commitment to student success.  Denise’s advocacy for student success is matched by very few.  This is the second time she has received this award.  In addition, she has also received the part time outstanding faculty award prior to being hired full time.

Matt Barron, Executive Dean of Arts, Sciences, and Academic Support stated, “It is her energy that sets Denise apart from others.  Those working closest to her recognize her contributions to creative initiatives across campus.  She is always right in the middle of anything involving student success.  Additionally, Denise is an extremely flexible employee, with her schedule in constant flux.  She has taught Bay College classes on campus, at Escanaba high school, and at Gladstone high school, and she is always willing to adjust times and days according to need.”
Denise teaches Bay College’s First Year Experience (FYE) courses, where she is constantly pushing her students to be the best that they can be.  In the words of one of her students, “she inspires, encourages, and pushes anyone she can to go after what they want for themselves.  More importantly, she doesn’t do the work for you.  If you put the work in, you can make your life whatever you want it to be.  She is just there to help you achieve your goals.”

Outside of the classroom, Denise is just as active.  If there is an event, whether it is fifth grade Fridays, SOAR, or any of our wonderful events, Denise is one of the first to volunteer.  She is a true ambassador for Bay College.
This quote from one of her students is a perfect description of Denise: “She is the greatest instructor and perfect authority figure rolled up into one contagiously happy person.”

Spencer Slade
Spencer Slade was hired on August 28, 200 as a full-time faculty instructor. Spencer holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Mathematics from Michigan Technological University.
Matt Barron, Executive Dean of Arts, Sciences, and Academic Support stated, “Spencer has been nominated for the outstanding faculty award for his commitment to excellence in the classroom, his dedication to teaching and learning, and his passion for student success.  Unless I am mistaken, this is Spencer’s third time receiving this award, having been chosen in 2004 as well as in 2013.  This simply speaks to his continued commitment to Bay College students.”

Spencer is a leader in the Math/Science division, as well as throughout the institution, and he takes his role very seriously.  One of the ways he shows his dedication is in the direct contact he makes with his students. He meets with every one of his students individually at the beginning of each semester.  This is just one example of how Spencer proves his commitment.

Spencer is also a leader in advising.  He has co-led the advising team here at Bay, constantly bringing best practices to the broader community.  He also serves as the advisor for the Bay College STEM club, which is very active.  Each year they visit several places of interest including transfer institutions such as Michigan Tech and LSSU, as well as Local businesses, where engineering students can see professionals in action and get a better idea what their careers might hold for them.

In addition to all of this, Spencer is an ambassador for Bay College out in our community.  He and his wife Britt (also a math instructor at Bay College) regularly present to high school classes on the importance of taking math as well as the different opportunities that STEM students have at Bay College.  He has even presented math demonstrations to pre-school classes where he is just as engaging for young children as he is for his calculus students. 

Spencer is passionate about teaching and learning.  This quote from his nomination sums it up: “Spencer truly cares about his students and their success.  He goes above and beyond in reaching out to them to make sure they succeed in his classes.  He is always nice to work with and shows respect to everyone.”
Bay College offers career certificate programs, associate degrees, transfer options, and job force training.  Classes are available at the Escanaba and Iron Mountain campuses and M-TEC, as well as online and in Manistique.  Call 906.786.5802 for more information or visit
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2001 N Lincoln Road, Escanaba, MI 49829
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