GCC teacher wins faculty of the year award

Glendale Community College professor John Queen — a key advocate for faculty members during the tumultuous leadership of former President/Supt. Audre Levy — has won the statewide Full-Time Faculty of the Year Award.

"John Queen has proven himself a dedicated leader on faculty and student issues," said Patrick Harbison, communications director for Faculty Assn. of California Community Colleges.

The 10,000-member association and lobbying group advocates on behalf of community college faculty members. The faculty award, which dates back to the 1950s, is given to an individual who promotes the mission of the association on a local and statewide level, Harbison said.

There are typically more than 100 nominees each year. Queen will be formally recognized at an awards luncheon March 6 during the association's Advocacy and Policy Conference in Sacramento.

"I didn't know I was nominated until I was told I had won," said Queen, who chairs the political science department. "It was a complete surprise … It is very nice."

The Montrose resident, who has taught at the college since 1992, continues to inspire his colleagues with his activism on behalf of community colleges, students and staff, said academic counselor and Glendale College Guild President Ramona Barrio-Sotillo.

"He can seem like he is very quiet, but at the same time he has got a lot passion," said Barrio-Sotillo, who nominated Queen for the award. "He will bring up a topic that is close to him … and you can really see his passion for the college, for the students."

A longtime member of the Faculty Assn. of California Community Colleges who served on its board of directors, Queen in 2008 worked on the Proposition 92 campaign, which would have guaranteed community colleges 11% of education revenue under Proposition 98 and lowered unit fees from $20 to $15, Harbison said. The proposition was rejected by voters.

Queen has also filled numerous campus leadership positions, including serving on the Glendale Community College accreditation committee and heading up the college's Model United Nations Club for 10 years.

He has also been elected multiple times to the Glendale Community College Academic Senate, serving as president from 1998 to 2000, and again from 2007 to 2010.

His second term coincided with the college presidency of Levy, who proved to be a polarizing figure on campus. Levy was criticized for what some described as an exclusionary management style that created tension between faculty members and the president's office.

She stepped down in June 2009 after three turbulent years.

Queen was a forceful and adept leader for the faculty during a period when they were being shut out, colleagues said.

"His job at the time was to say we have a rich history of faculty involvement in decision making and we want to protect our voice and we want to be heard," said Peggy Renner, a Glendale Community College political science teacher who has known Queen for about 15 years. "That kind of leadership is just hard to find."

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