Interactive Learning, Personal Attention Hallmarks of Prof. Lisa Stein’s Teaching Style

Art Wexler, vice president of academic affairs; Lisa Stein, Teaching Excellence Award recipient; Dr. Peter Mora, president of Atlantic Cape

Prof. Lisa Stein

  • Title: Associate Professor of Early Childhood Development and Education
  • Recipient: 2010 Atlantic Cape Foundation Teaching Excellence Award
  • Education: B.S, Bradley University; M.Ed., George Washington University
  • Leadership: Former national president, American Associate Degree Early Childhood Educators
  • On Atlantic Cape: “We have smaller classes. We’re able to give students personal attention; we’re able to mentor students and develop a sense of trust in the classroom.”

Since joining Atlantic Cape Community College in 2000, Associate Professor of Early Childhood Development and Education Lisa Stein has consistently made a difference in the lives of students through her personal, hands-on approach to teaching. That’s one of the many reasons why she received the Atlantic Cape Foundation Teaching Excellence Award at the College’s May 20, 2010, commencement.

The award was created to honor one faculty member at commencement each spring for outstanding achievements and dedication to the profession. As such, Stein has endeared herself to students and faculty alike for her allegiance to the creative enhancement of the overall learning experience.

Hands-on Projects Enhance Learning

“I believe I won the award because of the interactive learning type of teaching I do,” she said. “We do hands-on learning in my classroom, along with group work and problem solving. I try to do more innovative-type activities.”

For example, this year, Stein and her students created museum-type presentations to explain different theories. Each student brought in pictures that described the theories they designed. Stein devised this program so that the students could better internalize the work, as well as the educational and child development theories she imparts.

Assistant Professor of Social Science Carolyn Coulter nominated her for the award because she believed teachers like Stein are what make community colleges great.
“Students continuously go on to enroll in additional courses with Professor Stein,” Coulter said. “Students who have taken courses with Professor Stein utilize her expertise in the field as a resource long after they have completed course work with her. I have heard many students say that Professor Stein’s classes are always exciting and interesting.”

Accessible to Students

Another reason why Stein is so effective as a teacher is because she is very accessible to her students.

“Professor Stein is always available to students in every capacity,” Coulter added. “Current and former students are always in her office and she is consistently welcoming and helpful to their needs. I feel that students can rely on Professor Stein for any assistance they may need.”

Plus, she makes learning an enjoyable experience. “I think that because Professor Stein provides a comfortable learning environment that is open and inclusive, the students feel more contented to engage with the information and each other in fun and educational ways,” Coulter pointed out.

Helping Students Move Into Careers

Stein is also active with organizations that help her to prepare her students to move forward in their future careers. For one, she was the national president of the American Associate Degree Early Childhood Educators, a national, nonprofit membership association whose purpose is supporting and advocating for associate degree programs that provide professional development to those who teach and care for young children from birth through age eight.

I really feel that at the community college level, you can effect change, because of the more personal interactions with the students and the smaller classrooms.

The students aren’t the only ones who benefit. Their young charges also are positively impacted by the lessons, methods and philosophies Stein imparts.

“I had students who now have B.A. degrees in Early Childhood and are now on my advisory board,” Stein said.

With her background, expertise and beyond-the-call-of-duty dedication, Stein could very well move on to a larger higher education institution. But she feels that Atlantic Cape is the best venue for her, because she is able to offer students individual attention.

“We have smaller classes. We’re able to give students personal attention; we’re able to mentor students and develop a sense of trust in the classroom. I really feel that at the community college level, you can effect change, because of the more personal interactions with the students and the smaller classrooms. We’re always able to change things here; we’re never stagnant.”