There is no higher honor presented by Del Mar College to its faculty than the Dr. Aileen Creighton Award for Teaching Excellence. During Monday’s fall convocation ceremony, members of Del Mar’s faculty decided there was no instructor more deserving of the peer-elected award than Carolyn Mauck, Professor of Kinesiology in the Department of Kinesiology.
“As a kinesiology faculty member, I feel this is one of the last opportunities I have to enact change in this individual’s life,” Mauck said. “That could mean a healthy lifestyle or one riddled with disease, so I hope they’ve learned to take care of themselves, whether it’s social dance, whether it’s yoga or weight lifting – whatever I’m teaching.”
Mauck is the 13th recipient of the award, which was first established in 2002 and named for Dr. Aileen Creighton, Dean Emeritus of Arts and Sciences. The award represents the late educator’s legacy as a “master teacher” and serves as the benchmark faculty must emulate to receive the honor. Dr. Creighton was known for her dedication to students and higher education, along with the inspiration she provided to other educators.
In all of these areas, Mauck lives up to the standard and the tradition of the award. Letters of support from faculty and students extolled Mauck’s value as a first-class educator who cares not only that her students learn the subject at hand, but also that they learn how to apply that knowledge to living a more successful, fulfilling life.
“In a city widely known for its problems with obesity, diabetes, and other issues related to inadequate physical activity, Carolyn, like her colleagues in the Department of Kinesiology, has helped literally thousands of area residents who happen to be Del Mar College students develop practices and habits that not only reduce the prevalence of these debilitating health problems, but set those residents on a path toward lifetime wellness,” wrote Brian Hart, a Professor of History. “In my opinion, there is not much teaching done at this institution that is more important than that done by Carolyn in both its immediate and its long-term impact on residents.”
A member of the Del Mar faculty since 1985, Mauck is a graduate of W.B. Ray High School, Del Mar College and Stephen F. Austin State University. Mauck currently teaches Beginning and Intermediate Weight Training, Beginning and Intermediate Yoga and Beginning and Intermediate Social Dance. She has developed classes in Aerobic Instructor Training and Beginning / Intermediate Water Aerobics and taught classes in a wide range of recreational activities and sports in the past.
“My teaching philosophy is very student-centered in that, at the end of my courses, no matter what I’m teaching, I want my students to totally get what my passion is, and I think that’s very common at Del Mar,” Mauck said. “All our instructors in any department are very passionate.”
Mauck isn’t just a master of knowledge; she’s a master of working with students. One of Mauck’s former students wrote the professor had a knack for making intimidating subjects approachable. Another credited Mauck with inspiring them to pursue their own career as a kinesiology instructor. Shawnee Jones-Bonnette, professor of kinesiology and a peer of Mauck’s, wrote of an ability to connect to the students that goes beyond the subject at hand.
“Ms. Mauck is genuinely interested and concerned for her students and they respond to her in-depth care,” Jones-Bonnette wrote. “I watched her today with her social dance students as she coached them through difficult movements and took specific time with each individual guiding, listening and teaching them. The class was well past the allotted time and yet, there she stood, until each student had individual time with her. Often, the students’ questions are in reference to their own lives and problems, not only the material she has presented. Thus, the students trust her not only as a professor, but as a person they respect.”