Three outstanding MCC adjunct faculty receive awards

MESA, Ariz. -- June 15, 2021 -- Mesa Community College bestows Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Awards on Yukari Takahashi, Malena Barnhart and Timothy Kaufman.

MCC knows meaningful instruction occurs best when students feel connected and included in the classroom. These dedicated faculty were nominated by their colleagues and selected by peers for promoting inclusion and diversity; using technology to enhance student learning; and for providing students, staff and teaching peers encouragement, care and respect.

Originally from Japan, Takahashi teaches Japanese in the MCC World Languages Department. Her engaging teaching practices incorporate the use of digital games to help students quickly learn content and breakout sessions to support inclusive learning practices with her students.

2021 Adjunct Faculty AwardeesBarnhart, MCC Art faculty, teaches digital photography and photographic imaging. In addition to teaching technical skills, she emphasizes critical thinking and empathy as crucial aspects of art creation stating that she believes her work as an artist is one of her biggest strengths as an educator because it informs her teaching practice in so many ways.

Kaufman, MCC Fashion Design and Merchandising faculty and an MCC alumnus, teaches Introduction to Fashion Merchandising and Visual Display and Merchandising. He shows empathy to his students and works diligently to get to know them one on one, priding himself on providing feedback on every assignment for every student. Kaufman shared that he once told a student that he was proud of them which prompted the student to cry because they had never received such an encouraging compliment. Kaufman believes educators need to communicate in such a way that the student feels like they are a valuable part of the educational process.

“As educators we do all we can to foster the growth and success of our students,” said MCC Interim President Lori Berquam, Ph.D. “These honorees are being recognized for their successful efforts to engage with students to help them learn new content, all the while providing that spark of courage that is needed to maintain momentum through rough patches. We are not just fostering students on their educational journeys, we are inspiring and preparing our future leaders…including our next generation of notable Thunderbirds.”

The awards screening committee, comprised of an academic dean, instructional service manager, a residential faculty member and an adjunct faculty member, give honorable mentions to Lyndsey Novak, English faculty; Rod Golden, Cultural Science faculty; Elizabeth Martinez, Administration of Justice Studies faculty; and Debra Masnperger, Ph.D., Physical Science faculty.

Takahashi’s contributions to student success is also recognized as the MCC faculty member honored by the Maricopa County Community College District Adjunct Faculty Association by the Maricopa Center for Learning and Innovation (MCLI).

MCC honorees and nominees were recognized during a brief in-person event on June 8. View the video online at

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Media Contact: Dawn Zimmer,, 480-461-7892

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized as an Aspen Prize Top 150 U.S. Community College and is known for service learning, career and technical programs, civic engagement and innovative approaches to education. For more than 50 years, the college has served as a resource for career readiness, transfer education, workforce development and lifelong learning. Host to more than 30,000 students annually, MCC offers degree and certificate programs at its two campuses, additional locations and a combination of online formats. Through Guided Pathways with Integrated Support Services and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, MCC is transforming how it champions student success, college completion, university transfer and career attainment and advancement. MCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution and nearly 50% of its students are the first in their families to attend college. Its American Indian Institute serves students from the 22 federally recognized tribes of Arizona as well as out-of-state tribes. MCC has the largest indigenous student population of all the Maricopa Community Colleges. The diverse student body includes more than 300 international students from 55 countries. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training that empowers MCC students to successfully transfer to a university or compete in the workforce. Located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, on the traditional territories of the O'odham, Piipaash and Yavapi Peoples, MCC is one of 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District. Visit to learn more.

Mesa Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) -

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin. A lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in the career and technical education programs of the District. MCCCD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs or activities. For Title IX/504 concerns, call the following number to reach the appointed coordinator: (480) 731-8499. For additional information, as well as a listing of all coordinators within the Maricopa College system, visit

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Publication Date: 
Tuesday, June 15, 2021