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Martin Berdinis Receives Adjunct Teaching Excellence Award

June 20, 2005

Martin Berdinis of Margate, senior adjunct instructor at Atlantic Cape Community College, was awarded the college’s first Adjunct Teaching Excellence Award during the school’s 38th annual commencement ceremony.

The award was created to honor an adjunct instructor who cares deeply about students and demonstrates a passion for teaching and learning.

ACCC president John T. May, in presenting the award at the May 26 commencement, said, “ACCC has been fortunate over the years to have hundreds of dedicated part-time faculty teaching on our three campuses.

“This year’s winner is someone who challenges students to think critically and engages them in lessons that stretch their minds,” May said.

In nominating Berdinis for the award, Maryann Carol, director of instructional technology said, “I believe that he is one of the most dedicated and inventive online instructors I have ever met…(he) clearly strives to make his online classrooms interactive and engaging – examples of true ‘learning communities.’ The strategies used in his courses appear to increase student participation in Martin’s courses in ways that I have not seen replicated in others,” she said.

Berdinis retired from the candymaking business in 1984 and enrolled at ACCC the following spring. He graduated from ACCC in 1986 with an associate in arts degree in psychology. He transferred to Stockton, graduating in 1988 with a B.A. in psychology. He went on to Widener University, earning a master’s degree in human resources with a concentration in industrial psychology.

Berdinis joined the ACCC adjunct faculty in 1990 and was among the first instructors to teach online. Last fall, he began teaching at Richard Stockton College, where this spring he was awarded the Stockton Psychology Alumni of the Year Award.

On what led to him to begin his college career upon retirement and then to take up teaching, Martin said, “Often, when introducing myself to a new group of students, I talk to them about why I am teaching. Uppermost in the list of reasons is the whole concept of community college education. As a nontraditional student, I would have never had the opportunity to be exposed to higher education if it were not for institutions such as Atlantic Cape Community College.

“For many bright, capable people a college education is out of reach for a myriad of reasons that might include money, family and work responsibilities, inability to travel, and/or age,” Berdinis said. “I became so enamored of the idea of open enrollment and the type of close relationships between teachers and students that community colleges have to offer, I just wanted to be part of that process.”

Twelve adjunct instructors were nominated and four finalists were interviewed for the award.