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Tammy McGuire Named Educator of the Year

Staff Writer, May 12, 2011
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At a special Colloquy program on Thursday morning, Pacific Union College named the 2011 Educator of the Year: associate professor of communication Tammy McGuire.

McGuire, who came to PUC in 2005, completed her undergraduate studies at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska. She went on to earn an M.A. in English from Eastern Washington University and a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Missouri-Columbia. In addition to teaching a series of major classes in the communication department as well as courses in the Honors Program curriculum, McGuire is a prolific researcher who has presented her studies on communication, linguistics, religion, and feminism at several national communication conferences.

At colloquy, a number of faculty friends and students offered a roast, paying tribute to McGuire; each praised her in every aspect, from her innate ability to engage students in the most challenging of subjects to her impossible athleticism. Roasters Elaine Neudeck, Lynne Thew, Michelle Rai and Doug Wilson left no base uncovered, revealing everything from her love of peanut butter to her ferocious childhood temper to photographs from her days as a lanky Pathfinder.  The communication department honored the woman of the hour with a video featuring messages from various family members, students, and staff, and a clip from her infamous game-tying 3-point buzzer shot at the intramurals finals.

In his tribute, PR/journalism major Aren Rennacker said that this shot, which will live on forever in a YouTube video entitled “McGuire on Fire,” demonstrates “why it’s even weirder that she chooses to teach us about the dynamics of leader-member exchange in an organization and the difference between t-tests and chi-squares in communication research.” He added, “And not to mention, she does it really well.”

Lynne Thew, a colleague in the communication department, shared her experience with the “landscape” of McGuire’s spiritual life. “Thoughtful, late-night conversations with Dr. McGuire have shown me—regardless how insignificant each one of us seems—that in God’s greater plan each dot is equally vital to God’s canvas of human history and salvation,” Thew said. “Regardless of how ordinary you feel, how insignificant you see your contributions, without you or me God’s canvas would not be complete. That is what I’ve learned from Dr. McGuire.”

The Educator of the Year is selected jointly by the students and the Faculty Development, Research, and Honors Committee. The selection is based on excellence in teaching, spiritual leadership, scholarly credibility, relationships with students, and support of the college.