abstract graphic imageCARE logo

Home | About CARE | Newsletter | Reunion | Member Directory | History Project | Resources | Support CARE

Table of Contents



Support CARE


CARE Member Contributions to The Next Thirty Years

The Buffington Award
Submitted by Helen Bridge
Chabot College

When the founding president of Chabot College, Dr. Reed Buffington, retired in 1980, he created an endowment to be used by the college (and later by both colleges) to present an award each year to a faculty member for all-around excellence in their teaching career. This award also includes a check from the fund. This award is considered the most prestigious honor a faculty member can receive.

A large plaque, along with a check, is given to the recipient during convocation at the beginning of each school year. The engraved plaque reads as follows:

Reed L. Buffington
Faculty Excellence Award

In Recognition of Professionalism
of the Highest Order and
Outstanding Contribution toward
The Achievement of the Objectives of
The Chabot-Las Positas Community College District
The Faculty has selected
(recipient’s name here)
(year of award here).

Dr. Buffington's standing in the college community, along with the "faculty centered" nature of the award, immediately made it a subject of great enthusiasm and interest among faculty and staff. In the early years of the award, numerous nominations were made every year, and interest was very high on the first day of school to see who got "The Buffington." Over the years since then, nomination numbers have fluctuated up and down, partly because some senate presidents have been a bit late in getting announcements out, and partly because in some years, faculty have been busy with other tasks such as program review, accreditation, or other extra responsibilities. Since the development of Las Positas College, there has been an unofficial effort to alternate the award between the two campuses, though that doesn't always happen. With two colleges participating, award judges usually have a pile of at least nine or ten nominations, as well as candidate letters, to read and evaluate. As a look at the list of winners will confirm, they come from various disciplines across both colleges. What they share is a kind of exceptionalism that all of us as teachers try to emulate. We learn from, and are inspired by, their achievements. Dr. Buffington managed to create an ingenious way to inspire excellence in his faculty even when he would no longer be there in person to lead them.

Because of the logistics involved, the award has usually been presented near the end of the morning's activities in the auditorium at Chabot College, where faculty from both campuses have assembled. That tradition, though, will likely be changed now that Las Positas has its own large facility.

There is always a great sense of anticipation before the announcement, because every attempt is made to keep the award winner's name a secret beforehand. When it comes time for the presentation, both faculty senate presidents are on stage, and the first indication of which school's faculty member will be honored is when one or the other senate president is introduced to make the announcement. On some occasions, the winner will have been notified before the official ceremony, and in those cases, the winner has a chance to compose a short speech when he or she comes to the stage to accept the award. Other times, winners just have to "wing it," and do their best to say something coherent at a time when they are likely feeling surprised and overwhelmed. In either case, the moment is thrilling and inspiring for both the recipient and the audience, even more so when the previous speeches and announcements about the upcoming year seem grim or dull, as they often do.

Even after twenty seven years, the Buffington Award is one of the most talked-about happenings of the school year.


Since the award’s inception, twenty seven faculty members have received the Buffington Award. These outstanding teachers are listed below.

1986 Joy Sanderson, Chabot (1971-1987)
1987 Harold Lubin, Las Positas (1961-1988)
1988 Jack Healey, Las Positas (1966-1992)
1989 Mary Lou Fitzgerald, Chabot (1964-1990)
1990 Larry Toy, Chabot (1969-1999)
1991 Don Nilson, LPC (1974-1991)
1992 Don Eaton, Chabot (1963-1994)
1993 Glenn Malcolm, Chabot (1963-1994)
1994 Robert Dahl, Las Positas (1967-1996)
1995 Billy Smith, Chabot (1965-1997)
1996 Jerry Ball, LPC (1964-1996)
1997 Helen Bridge, Chabot (1975-1997)
1998 Zack Papachristos, Chabot (1969- )
1999 Juliette Bryson, LPC (1971-2004)
2000 Bob Wiseman, Chabot (1975-2004)
2001 Esther Goldberg, LPC (1970-2001)
2002 Dick Albert, Chabot (1962-2002)
2003 Sophie Rheinheimer, LPC (1975- )
2004 Linda Barde, CC (1975- )
2005 Peggy Riley, LPC (1985-2005)
2006 Dennis Chowenhill, CC (1977- )
2007 Alene Hamilton, LPC (1980-2004)
2008 Susan Sperling, CC (1987- )

Criteria and Protocol

Dr. Buffington suggested that criteria for the award be developed by the faculty themselves, and accordingly, those criteria were developed and have been used ever since. These criteria are listed below.

The Buffington Award

Makeup of Selection Committee
The committee shall be made up of three faculty members: the winner of the last Buffington Award, plus one faculty member from each campus, chosen by the respective senates. The chair of the committee shall be chosen by committee members.

Nominee Pool
Nominations for the Buffington Award shall be made yearly by faculty members of both campuses. Instructions for nominations and other award information shall be distributed by Faculty Senate Presidents of each campus to their respective faculties. This distribution should take place early in Spring Semester, since award criteria specify that nominations should close by March 30th of each year. Members of the Award Committee should be appointed by March 15th, and should make every effort to keep the selection timeline on track, since late starts and incomplete information result in a last-minute scramble to select a winner. Since nominating a fellow faculty member or responding to a nomination is a time-consuming project, nominees for the Buffington Award shall remain the pool of applicants for three years.

Criteria For Award

I. Demonstrated evidence of excellence in teaching and commitment to students.

  • A. Created or developed curriculum, programs, or methodology in his/her field of education at the college.

  • B. Demonstrated involvement with students in a variety of teaching activities, such as: one-to-one assistance; innovative classroom methods; field trips or associated appropriate enrichment activities; and extension of the subject matter to a range of students.

  • C. Demonstrated involvement and success in improving instruction both in the subject area of the field and in related areas. Examples might include: introduction of cross-discipline or inter-discipline teaching with colleagues; introduction of new technologies; consistent involvement in updating and enriching the curriculum.

II. A Teacher of the Times

  • A. Career-long awareness of and response to the "outside world" and changing climate in education (i.e., new ethnic populations, level of preparedness for college work, etc.)

  • B. Career-long awareness of the changes in the training and outlook of new faculty.

III. Commitment to the College and Community

  • A.  A minimum of ten years of service in the district.

  • B. The recipient’s career should include an awareness of the need to contribute to the college family. Participation on committees which involve instruction, curriculum, the betterment of instructional materials and environment should demonstrate professional generosity and involvement.

  • C. In addition, the Reed Buffington Award winner should see his/her job as extending to the community at large in any way appropriate to the field or subject matter.

IV. Demonstrated involvement in professional self-involvement

  • A. Career-long evidence of involvement in further education (not necessarily degrees, but professional enrichment).

  • B. Experience in faculty associations or professional associations for the purpose of improving his/her own proficiency or depth of knowledge.

  • C. Knowledge of new technologies.

Procedures for Committee

Nominations shall be submitted to faculty senate presidents of the respective colleges.
Immediately after all nominations are received, candidates shall be notified by the president of the academic senate of the respective colleges. This notification letter should include congratulations and recognition of the honor inherent in being nominated for the award. Nominees shall also be given instructions concerning their part in the selection process.

Instructions for Award Nominees

Please write a letter to the nominating committee in which you respond to the four parts of the award criteria. The letter should be no longer than ten pages, and should include specific information about your career contributions. Letters of recommendation from colleagues or students should not be included and will not be considered by the Buffington committee when making its selection.. You may, however, include the names of faculty associates or students who can be contacted by committee members. Your letter should be submitted to your senate president by the following date:__________

Instructions for Nominating Committee

After all candidates’ letters are received by the senate presidents of the respective colleges, the letters shall be combined with the nominating letters. Each member of the nominating committee in turn shall then be given the entire group of letters to read.

When all members have read all materials and compared them to specified award criteria, the committee chair shall call one or more meetings to determine a winner. All deliberations shall be confidential. When a winner is chosen, the committee chair shall notify the senate presidents of the respective colleges, who then have the task of notifying t he district office and arranging for a commemorative plaque for the winner.

Note: The original instructions for the Buffington Award included percentage points to be awarded for each criterion. Perhaps the next award committee (2005) should discuss the advisability of restoring this practice. In recent years, the percentages seem to have been disregarded, and this may be the procedure that nominating committees find preferable.

In recent years, some applicants’ materials have included numerous added materials such as letters of recommendation, etc. These extraneous materials were disallowed in the original Buffington Award brochure, partly because of the potential imbalance of the resulting applications, and partly because of the extra workload such materials would impose on the nominating committee.

Return to Table of Contents


©2007 C.A.R.E.

Home | Contacts | Privacy Policy