McConnell named TIFA Educator of the Year
03.29.2017 | By Andrea Vasquez
HOUSTON – San Jacinto College speech professor Floyd McConnell was recently named the 2017 Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association (TIFA) Educator of the Year.
The award honors excellence in speech and debate teaching and coaching among Texas universities and community colleges. “His level of service is a credit to San Jacinto College,” said M’Liss S. Hindman, TIFA Educator of the Year committee chair and Tyler Junior College speech professor. “While serving with him as an officer for the Texas Speech Communication Association and Phi Ro Pi national speech organization, I have observed his attention to detail, focus on teaching students and his professionalism. His service to his students and these state and national organizations is a reflection of his commitment to increasing quality educational practices.”
McConnell started debating as a student at the San Jacinto College Central campus in the ‘90s and says he has come full circle. “In total I have coached for 21 years, with 12 of those being at San Jacinto College,” he said. “Our students always excel at debate competitions. We are definitely on the map when it comes to speech and debate.”
McConnell says that while speech and debate competitions might not be for everyone, the skills learned from speech courses benefit students in numerous ways. “Speech courses teach you more than just how to speak in front of a group of people. They can help you in every possible academic and professional scenario. You become a better writer, speaker and communicator. Speech courses also allow you to see an argument from both sides. This vital skill allows you to exercise critical thinking skills to find and sort credible facts that form the basis of your opinion.”
Each year the San Jacinto College North Campus hosts a fall and spring debate tournament event, with debate teams from Rice University, University of Texas, Baylor University and other Texas universities competing with San Jacinto College. This year, the College will have four students – all freshmen, including one dual credit student - competing at nationals from April 10-15 in Washington, D.C.
“The fact that we are a community college competing against these renowned state universities says a lot about our program,” said McConnell. “We continue to show that San Jacinto College debate students are on par with their strategies and coaching techniques. They see us as peers and have a new respect for us that they probably didn’t have before.”
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. As a fiscally sound institution, the College currently holds bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively. San Jacinto College is a 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Rising Star Award recipient and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. Approximately 30,000 students each semester benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success. The College offers seven areas of study that prepare a diverse body of students to transfer to a four-year college or university or enter the workforce with the skills needed to support the growing industries along the Texas Gulf Coast. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.