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CMC honors top Summit County instructors

Carol Turrin and Lynn Donovan didn’t set out to be teachers. Now, both are being honored as top instructors at Colorado Mountain College’s Summit Campus, which has sites in Breckenridge and Dillon.

Every year, CMC awards top faculty at each of its seven campuses. Employees and students nominate part-time and full-time faculty members for recognition, and senior administrators then select a college-wide award recipient in each of those two categories.

Nominators are asked to explain how that faculty member has demonstrated excellence in several areas, including: receiving exceptional class evaluations from students, setting and achieving high academic standards, promoting student success, and looking for and finding ways to improve the quality of education.



“Every year we are thrilled to honor our top faculty, and to let their students and their peers know they have contributed to student learning above and beyond what is expected,” said Debra Crawford, public information officer for CMC.

Carol Turrin was working as an administrator at Vail Valley Medical Center when she received a call one Thursday afternoon asking if she could teach a group of nine students at CMC the next morning. She quickly rearranged her schedule to take Friday off. She ended up teaching the class for the rest of the semester, and the experience made her decide she wanted to be an educator. Now, she is in her fourth year as a full-time nursing instructor.



Turrin took a pay cut to be a teacher after leaving her administrative job at Vail, but said it was never about the money.

“It’s really about doing something that’s really worthwhile, and that’s how teaching feels to me,” she said. “You can make a difference. I love to see them learning.”

Turrin has 40 years of experience in clinical and administrative nursing positions. At the college, she teaches four nursing courses and labs each semester.

“Carol Turrin has shared with students her extensive professional and educational experience, passing along her love for learning to her students in the critical field of nursing,” Crawford said.

“I was surprised, but very pleased,” Turrin said of the award. “It’s quite a nice honor, but I didn’t expect it at all.”

Lynn Donovan started volunteering for the college’s literacy program in 2000, with the feeling that helping students learn to read and write was important and worth volunteering for.

“At that time, I had no idea I would wind up teaching GED classes,” she said.

Donovan quickly got hooked on teaching, and started teaching two courses a semester three years later. She helps students develop work and college skills and prepare for GED testing. She estimates she has helped more than 50 students earn their high school equivalency certificate.

“I always wanted to be a teacher and never quite got there, which may have had something to do with wanting to volunteer, she said. “I love it; I really, really love it.”

When she’s not teaching, Donovan works in the county public health office providing support for the Nurse-Family Partnership program, which provides in-home visits for first-time mothers.

“Lynn Donovan’s genuine caring for her students, and her focus on their success in achieving that all-important high school equivalency, is quite evident,” Crawford said.

“Because it’s a peer and student award, I’m very deeply honored, Donovan said. “I love my students and I try to help them. Maybe some of that came back.”

Both Turrin and Donovan learned about the honor through a a surprise visit from the college president, Dr. Stan Jensen, and the campus CEO to their classrooms. Both women have lived in Summit County for more than 30 years.


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