CCC's Friedman shares big ideas in the world of the small


Science faculty Doug Friedman is selected 2020-21 Full-Time Faculty of the Year.



FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Doug Friedman’s passion for the subject gives him the ability to make the world of microscopic organisms accessible – and fascinating – to his students.


As one of his students stated, “Doug showed me this passion for Microbiology I did not know I had. It’s a fascinating subject. I never had an instructor who made me think outside the box so frequently. He is exactly what college professors should be doing.”


Friedman was selected by students and colleagues as the 2020-21 Full-Time Faculty of the Year at Coconino Community College.


“It’s a moving experience,” Friedman said of the selection. “Of course, my greatest priority as an educator is that my students are learning, but if that experience is one where they recognize me for it, it’s a great honor.”


Friedman began teaching part-time at CCC in 2005 and became a regular full-time faculty member in 2013. His road to teaching began once he received his bachelor’s degree in Biology from Sonoma State University and after he discovered a love for Biology while attending community college. He immediately began working in the biomedical manufacturing field, and management understood early on that if they wanted new laboratory technicians trained right, they should be sent to Friedman.


His secret: He added the “why” to his training regimen.


“If you leave out the ‘why,’ then you’re depriving that person the ability to troubleshoot when something goes wrong, and to innovate to make the procedure better,” Friedman said.


He decided to do his master’s degree work in Biology at Northern Arizona University.


“I discovered in graduate school that I loved classroom teaching, and it was what I really wanted to do,” Friedman said.


He also knew that most faculty positions at universities were research-based. Therefore, he decided early on that he wanted to teach at a community college, where the focus was on teaching.


“I really enjoy the diversity of life experiences my students bring,” Friedman said of community college students, who range in age, backgrounds, cultures and more. “I always make it clear on the very first day of every semester, that no one should feel pressured to bring their personal life experiences into the classroom, but they are always invited to do so.”


His philosophy of teaching has changed over the years, but he currently focuses on creating an environment where students can build their own understanding of Microbiology.


“I don’t think that students can come to deeply understand something unless they build their own understanding of it,” Friedman said.


His favorite moments as a teacher at CCC, like so many of his colleagues, is the “lightbulb” moments the students have.


“It’s students discovering big ideas, ideas that they had never been aware of before,” Friedman said.


As one student, who nominated Friedman for the award, put it: “I strongly considered switching majors due to his enthusiasm, knowledge and the teaching skills he brings to the classroom. Beyond the class, I looked into many kinds of infectious diseases and more specifically, the microbes involved, so I had that knowledge regardless if it was part of our learning. I was always interested in learning more.”


Another student who nominated Friedman stated, simply, “Microbiology was my favorite class this semester!”


Friedman said that he is proud to be a member of the CCC faculty.


“That group of people, that family, inspires me regularly,” Friedman said. “If my skills in the classroom are at all noteworthy, then it’s due in large part to the inspiration I get from my faculty peers.”



Wednesday, 27th May 2020 12:00 AM

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  • Wednesday, 27th May 2020 12:00 AM