Ivy Tech Kokomo adjunct honored for excellence in instruction

Michael Durr

Michael Durr

Michael Durr receives statewide 2013-14 Gerald I. Lamkin Award

KOKOMO, Ind. – Michael Durr has spent a lifetime as a respected emergency medical services provider, always willing to share his knowledge and experience with others. On Saturday, his dedication to developing more well-trained emergency responders was honored by Ivy Tech Community College when he was named recipient of the 2013-14 Gerald I. Lamkin Award for Excellence in Instruction.

Durr, an instructor in the paramedic science program at Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Campus who lives in Burlington, received the award honoring Ivy Tech’s top adjunct faculty instructor at the College’s annual statewide adjunct faculty conference in Indianapolis. The award recognizes the adjunct faculty member who epitomizes the mission of Ivy Tech – “to prepare Indiana residents to learn, live, and work in a diverse and globally competitive environment by delivering professional, technical, transfer, and lifelong education.” Durr received a professional development grant and a commemorative medallion.

With nearly 43 years of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) experience and 35 years of instructional experience, Durr has been described as living and breathing the paramedic sciences.  Since beginning his career in 1971 as part of the first state classes who graduated as paramedics, he has worked in ambulance services, directed hospital EMS/Paramedic programs at St.Joseph Hospital & Health Center in Kokomo and in Carroll County, and served an ambulance driver and staff flight paramedic for patient helicopter transport, all supported by an extensive list of certifications and licensures in emergency management services.  He has also been a certified “primary instructor” in EMT and paramedic programs in the state of Indiana since 1979.

Since 2003, Durr has put that long history of service, and his connections to emergency management services throughout the state, to impressive use as an instructor in the paramedic science program at Ivy Tech. In winning the Lamkin Award, Durr was cited for his ability to pair a student-first teaching approach and an innovative teaching style and curriculum that allows his students to succeed at a high rate.

“If one were to identify all the characteristics of an ideal EMS instructor, Mike Durr would be the model,” said John Chalfin, program chair for Paramedic Science at Ivy Tech Kokomo. “His broad base of experience affords Mike’s students added dimensions in their classroom, lab, clinical and field internship experiences.

“Mike’s integrated approach using previously taught materials, coupled with his real-life experiences, enable his students to excel in pharmacology, cardiology and all aspects of patient care,” Chalfin continued.  “His students are aware of his high expectations of them and, through his dedication and expertise, they attain them.”

Chalfin also cited Durr’s involvement in the community and service learning activities as well as his contributions to a new applied mathematics curriculum for paramedics and other health care workers that ties math instruction to practical medical applications such as drug calculations and intravenous drip rates.

In support of his nomination for the Lamkin Award, many students and former students praised Durr for what he provides – great resources and examples on which to pattern their careers, as well as great training opportunities and chances to build connections of their own.

“Mike has been around the field of emergency medicine so long that his name and medicine go hand in hand,” wrote Brittany Wescott, a former student and current co-worker. “You can’t buy experience, but you can learn from what others have done. As you can imagine, being a paramedic at three services (and being in the director position) requires a lot of hours of dedication and a strong work ethic. Mike puts pressure on all of his students and employees to always be the best.”

Durr’s teaching philosophy is based on a commitment to a lifelong process of learning and he sees his work as part of a continuous process started by his students’ desire for a rewarding and exciting career in a stable employment field and ending with a strengthened community. His students understand that even for their instructor, this process continues and that they can look to him as an example, as a mentor and as a fellow participant.

While hospital officials, first responders and physicians from around the Howard and Carroll County communities sing his praises, Durr’s nomination even received international endorsement with support from a South Korean instructor who was a visiting professor at Ivy Tech in 2007-2008. After sharing his teaching techniques and experiences with the professor in Kokomo, Durr has visited South Korea several times to work with other Korean professors and help set up a national health personnel licensing examination board in that country.

Kim King, interim vice chancellor of Academic Affairs at Ivy Tech Kokomo, said, “We are extremely proud to be able to offer the high level of instruction and student success provided by Mike Durr as a member of our adjunct faculty. We are thrilled that this excellence has been recognized at the state level with the Lamkin Award and very pleased to note that Kokomo Region instructors have been the recipient of this statewide award in two of the four years it has been presented.”

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About Ivy Tech Kokomo Region

Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region serves Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, and Tipton counties and includes campuses or instructional sites in the communities of Kokomo, Logansport, Peru, and Rochester. Ivy Tech serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association. For more information, visit www.ivytech.edu.
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