Chemistry Associate Professor Reva A. Savkar (AN), winner of the 2013 Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence, was a featured speaker at a White House conference for Teacher Appreciation Day on May 5.
The event, titled “A Celebration of Teaching,” was hosted by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Teachers from K-12 from around the country were in attendance, and NOVA was the only college invited to participate. Savkar was part of a group of 16 NOVA faculty and staff who attended the event hosted in the Indian Treaty Room of the White House.
“It was a great honor to be among such fine colleagues to represent our college for this very prestigious event,” said Communication Studies and Theatre Associate Professor Bryan Brown (WO).
Speaking on the topic of “Reflections on Teaching,” Savkar began by stating, “Each day, I wake up happy, knowing that I have the honor and delight of guiding students through their exciting discovery process of learning.”
“Teaching,” Savkar added, “is not about ‘covering material.’ It is about helping to uncover, so that students can truly discover.” She discussed the many challenges that her students have faced and the different paths they have taken to “education, job security, and the pursuit of happiness – the American dream.”
“The degrees they expect to earn at community colleges,” Savkar said, “the chance of transferring to other academic institutions, the discovery that they matter, and that, above all, they are respected and valued, is what makes their journey through NOVA and other community colleges one of hope and progress.”
She concluded her speech with a message to students: “I would like to say to our young learners, our mature learners, and our lifelong learners that the past, present and future are integral to the learning process, each in its own way. The past is from where we get prior information, the future is where we can experience the fruits, but it is only in the present that we can actually learn, think, assimilate and apply, so make the present matter.”
“She truly hit it out of the park,” Mathematics Professor David Conroy (AN) said after the speech. “Because of her incredible sensitivity and marvelous insights, she had the gathering in the palm of her hand. We as a College must be so proud to have such an outstanding ambassador.”
“It was an inspiring and exciting experience,” Savkar said of the event, “and it was beautifully organized.” A video of her entire speech can be found online.