Patricia Kiernan, MCC Excellence in Teaching Part Time 2016
Patty Kiernan teaches her students how to learn. There are no flashy tricks, or simple shortcuts. The key component to Prof. Kiernan’s success is that she is emotionally invested. She is a proud alumnae of Middlesex County College (class of ’05) and believes the purpose of MCC is to provide students a second chance to achieve greatness.
Ms. Kiernan started working at MCC as a peer tutor in 2003 and quickly found her niche tutoring statistics, math and accounting courses to students who were terrified of numbers. She teaches her students to translate complex mathematical equations into common English.
Prof. Kiernan was one of the first instructors at MCC to fully embrace a flipped classroom model, where students watch a video lecture before class and work on projects in class. This method allows her to offer individualized instruction to all of her students and adapt instruction as needed. During a traditional lecture period, she will explain why a formula exists, but she will not explain how to do a problem. Instead, she uses carefully worded questions to have her students to find the formula on their own and translate the formula into statistical notation.
Ms. Kiernan has managed to make statistics education look easy. She uses a combination of technology, educational psychology, and a heaping dose of real Walt Disney World data to condition her students into believing that statistics can be fun.
She is also a CELT executive board member for the 2016 – 2017 academic year and the volunteer Faculty Adviser for the M3 Club (Middlesex Math and the Mouse Club) that allows MCC students to explore advanced math and statistics topics to various aspects of Walt Disney World vacation planning.