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Wednesday, July 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Spokane

SFCC instructor known as ‘Doc Polly’ named Washington community colleges’ faculty member of the year

UPDATED: Wed., May 3, 2017, 12:28 p.m.

Polly McMahon, who teaches social services and gerontology at Spokane Falls Community College, waves at a photographer on Saturday, April 22, 2017 during a college fundraising event at the Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute in Spokane. McMahon was recently named “faculty member of the year” by the Washington State Association of College Trustees. (James Mangis / Courtesy of Community Colleges of Spokane)
Polly McMahon, who teaches social services and gerontology at Spokane Falls Community College, waves at a photographer on Saturday, April 22, 2017 during a college fundraising event at the Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute in Spokane. McMahon was recently named “faculty member of the year” by the Washington State Association of College Trustees. (James Mangis / Courtesy of Community Colleges of Spokane)

A Spokane Falls Community College instructor has been named “faculty member of the year” by the Washington State Association of College Trustees.

Polly McMahon has taught social services and gerontology at SFCC since 1995. She was awarded tenure in 1998 and was one of the college’s first instructors to offer an online degree program.

“She is an instructor but recognizes that teaching is more than just what happens in the classroom,” SFCC President Janet Gullickson said in a news release.

McMahon has long advocated for students with disabilities and makes an effort to use open-source teaching materials that are cheaper for students, the news release said. Students call her “Doc Polly.”

McMahon has served on the board of directors of the Community Colleges of Spokane Foundation since 2011. In that role, she created a scholarship for students in the social services and gerontology program.

McMahon also reviews textbooks and training manuals, consults with social service providers and has participated in national research on the aging American population.

SFCC’s board of trustees nominated McMahon for the “faculty member of the year” award. She’ll be recognized at a banquet May 25 at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake.

She described her teaching philosophy in the news release: “Teach with joy and clarity and compassion at all times. A lot of humor helps. Try to do no harm. Encourage the shy. Silence the noisy. Tame the angry. Inspire the weary. Give hope and a bit of chocolate to everyone.”

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