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Chemistry Professor Named L&C’s 2020 ICCTA Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Member Award Nominee

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Article by: Laura Inlow, L&C Media Services, linlow@lc.edu

GODFREY – Professor of Chemistry Alan Bruha is Lewis and Clark Community College’s Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA) Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Member Award nominee for Spring 2020.

Bruha coordinates the Chemistry Department, teaching general chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry.

“I enjoy the subject, chemistry.  I enjoy teaching chemistry to students.  I have a talent for taking complex ideas and simplifying them, which is necessary for teaching chemistry,” Bruha said. “I like that no two days are the same. Each day brings up new challenges. I believe that our society needs more scientific literacy and as a teacher, I can do that. I like helping people move forward with their lives and, again, teaching allows me to do that.”

Bruha has a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, and a doctorate in chemistry from Marquette University.

Prior to teaching, Bruha spent five years working in hospitals as a Medical Technologist, five years in graduate school performing chemistry research, three years in the chemical industry following graduation with his doctorate, and three years running his own environmental consulting business. While at Sigma Chemical Company, Bruha received a Senior Chemist Award in 1991.

Bruha was an adjunct instructor at four different schools before teaching full time in 1997. He got his start at L&C as an adjunct in the late 1990s and started full time in Fall 2002. 

“Alan Bruha is very deserving of this award,” said colleague Gerald Mozur. “He is well-liked by all and is known for his excellence in the classroom and as a coordinator. It couldn’t happen to a better guy. He teaches a full load of classes, coordinates the chemistry program, and volunteers his time for various programs like the L&C National Great Rivers Research and Education Center Water Festival here on campus. Just an outstanding faculty member.”

Bruha says the best part of his job is spending time with his students in both the classroom and laboratory. 

“There are many duties a full-time faculty member fulfills, but the time spent with students is the most rewarding,” he said. “I am proudest when a former student sees me out in public and they tell me that I was the best teacher they had. When they tell me that it was my teaching that allowed them to pass the class and move forward in their field of study, I am very proud.”

L&C offers freshman and sophomore-level chemistry classes that appeal to a variety of students. The most popular is CHEM 130, an introductory course designed for nursing and dental students, among others.

“Chemistry is a science that helps explain how the world around us operates,” Bruha said. “I’ve always been someone who stresses the fundamentals so that’s what I stress in class.  Chemistry is a skills-based subject and students are expected to master those skills. I come from a working background so I try to stress those skills that are valued in the workplace. I didn’t start teaching until my late 30s so I have a wealth of work experience that I can bring into the classroom as well.”

When not in the classroom, Bruha also serves as the assistant golf coach for the Trailblazers.

“I am an avid golfer, having played the game for over 50 years,” he said. “About five years ago I got the opportunity to help the golf team as an assistant coach. Coaching has been lots of fun and it has put the icing on the cake, so to speak, for my career here at Lewis and Clark.”

Each spring, Lewis and Clark announces an ICCTA Award nominee, chosen by their teaching peers. The Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Member Award recognizes the instructor’s high achievements. Nominees from each of the state’s community colleges attend an annual ceremony in June, where an overall winner will be announced.