Wednesday, September 21, 2016

AOJ instructor brings the realities of thin blue line to classroom

 Five instructors at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges have been selected by their peers as the academic year’s best faculty members. The honorees were lauded at fall convocations for exemplary service to the East County campuses.

At Grossmont College, art history professor Marion de Koning received the Distinguished Faculty Award, and Administration of Justice instructor Shaun Donelson was picked for the adjunct award. At Cuyamaca College, English instructor Lauren Halsted and math instructor Terrie Nichols are co-winners of the Outstanding Faculty Member Award, and Arabic instructor Aklas Sheai received the award for adjunct faculty.

Here's a profile of one of the recipients, the second of an occasional series
Shaun Donelson
With 31 years in law enforcement, including 22 with the San Diego Police Department, Grossmont College Administration of Justice instructor Shaun Donelson engages his students and Police Academy cadets with real-world scenarios that are both thought-provoking and challenging.

At a time when police and community relations have been the focus of national scrutiny, Donelson is keenly aware of the importance of the lessons he brings to his students about the proper use of force and respecting others.

“It is an important part of my philosophy,” said Donelson, who received more than a dozen citations for exceptional service and performance during his years as police officer, detective, sergeant and training coordinator with the SDPD.

He began assisting an instructor at Grossmont College’s Police Academy 25 years ago, eventually becoming the lead instructor and later expanding his role as an adjunct AOJ faculty member.

“Using first-hand experience, I truly enjoy giving my students a real-world preview of how our criminal justice system actually works -- and sometimes doesn't,” said Donelson, who earned his Police Sciences degree from Miramar College in 2006.

Three years ago, Donelson began teaching an introductory AOJ course in the Freshman Academy, a Grossmont College program that provides mentoring, counseling and academic support to first-year students. Faculty in the multidisciplinary program have praised Donelson for working collaboratively with faculty in the English and Communication Departments to further student success.

In addition to learning the Freshman Academy’s unique approach to collaborative teaching, Donelson also took the time to do outreach to high schools students in underserved communities.

“I find Grossmont College to be a very nurturing, supportive and pleasing environment for both staff and students,” Donelson said. “My priority is my students and helping them understand that, with effort, they can accomplish anything.”

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