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College announces 2023 recipient of Dr. Aileen Creighton Award for Teaching Excellence during today’s fall convocation

Professor of Speech Michael Jones selected by peers for coveted DMC recognition of faculty

Article by Melinda Eddleman/Rosa Linda Reynoso

As the son of a mechanic, Del Mar College (DMC) Professor of Speech Michael Jones noted among documents in a nomination packet that he “has always been fascinated with tools, not only for what they are but also for what they enable me to do. Used properly, tools give me the ability to create something new. They enable me to make repairs and, sometimes, to completely rebuild whatever project I have undertaken.”

Mike Jones_DMC Creighton Award_Standing Ovation 2

Jones’ analogy focuses on using “tools” for effective teaching and competent communication that intertwine in his classroom. His comparison to “tools” is also among the reasons the College announced Jones as the 2023 recipient of the Dr. Aileen Creighton Award for Teaching Excellence during fall convocation in Richardson Performance Hall on the Heritage Campus today

He is the 21st recipient of the coveted faculty award established for its namesake, the late Dean Emeritus of Arts and Sciences and English Professor Dr. Aileen Creighton. Each year after the nomination and selection process, the College keeps honorees’ names in secrecy until a special video unveils the recipient for employees to see. 

During his acceptance address, Jones noted that many of the faces shown as past Creighton Award recipients were not only colleagues but mentors since his joining DMC faculty in 1999, especially the late Professor of English Mike Anzaldúa, who chaired the committee that established the award in 2002.

“This award is special to me because Mike asked me to serve on the committee to establish an award that recognized our top educators; so, I served,” Jones said. “And, when I heard the passion and excitement Mike had in his voice and the look on his face when he talked about his own mentor, I realized that’s the kind of person we wanted recognized with this educator’s award. It helped me to become that person, so [the award] is a big one. I even had the honor to meet Dr. Creighton as well as work with every single person in that video.”

The award represents Dr. Creighton’s legacy as a “master teacher” during her 41-year career with Del Mar College and serves as the benchmark faculty must emulate to receive the honor. Known for her dedication to students and higher education, the late educator’s example provides inspiration to DMC faculty. 

About his own teaching philosophy, Jones wrote he concentrates “on guiding students in the use of those tools that enable the discovery and development of their voices. Once they establish a comfort with using the tools for being a confident and competent communicator, their potential is unlimited.”

Professor of Speech Mike Jones_DMC President and CEO( Mark Escamilla_2023 Creighton Award

His supporters also believe that Jones lives up to the standards required of Creighton Award recipients,  whether teaching students in the classroom or online, dedicating time to student learning, instruction and assessment or professional growth.  
Former Communications, Languages and Reading Department Chair Dr. Patricia Walter wrote that Jones “enthusiastically embraces change and seeks to adapt his teaching to meet the ever-hanging education landscape. When the College decided to expand dual credit opportunities, he volunteered to teach dual credit courses by travelling to area high schools to deliver instruction. In addition, as the College moved forward to offer more credit courses online, Jones was the first faculty member within the speech program to teach online courses.”

Assistant Professor of Speech Jack Stubblefield, who nominated Jones for the Creighton Award, added, “As a professional communicator, Mike has shown he believes strongly in the speech discipline, and as such, he has empowered countless students to find their own voice in academia and in their chosen careers.”

During his convocation remarks, Jones estimated that he’s taught over 15,000 students and heard 60,000 speeches. 

This institution gives us opportunity. It gives us the ability to teach,” he said. “Every one of those students has impacted me, changed me; and I hope that I have impacted them.

Michael Jones, Professor of Speech
Mike Jones Portrait 1

Jones has. A former student described Jones’ teaching with three words—trustworthy, professional and dynamic––noting that “ if students don’t trust what the teacher is saying, they lose credibility. If teachers don’t act professionally when delivering curriculum, students will never see them as teachers; and, if teachers are not dynamic enough to gain students’ attention, they will never have their students.”

Outside the classroom, Jones has filled several other College roles as well as served on committees, including serving as the eLearning Faculty Coordinator and being a member of the Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, Faculty Council, North Bay Initiative and Dual Credit Task Force, Speech Program Review Committee and the Professional and Organizational Development Committee. He has chaired  the Commencement Ceremonies Committee, among others, and is one of the orators during each DMC commencement ceremony.

Jones earned from Stephen F. Austin State University his bachelor’s degree with a triple major in Speech Communication, Sociology and Secondary Education, along with additional hours in General Business, and his master’s degree in the fields of Communication and Secondary Education. He has taught for 34 years, including at Stephen F. Austin State University, Houston Independent School District, the University of St. Thomas and Lee College before he joined Del Mar College’s faculty.

He has received many awards and recognitions, including the Texas Speech Communication Association’s  Community College Educator of the Year Award for which he also served as the association’s Comptroller, the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Excellence Award, Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, DMC Academic Advisor of the Year Award and the Carroll Hickey Award for Outstanding Service to the AFA-NIET District III. He was also a member of the Texas Computer Educators Association and the Texas Distance Learning Association.

Jones’ community service encompasses serving as Scoutmaster for Scouts BSA Troop 345G and Assistant Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 345. He also volunteers with the Scouts BSA South Texas Council. Currently, he chairs the Administrative Council at the First United Methodist Church in Portland and is a member of the Gregory-Portland Independent School District (G-PISD) Safety and Security Committee. He has served as a parent volunteer in the schools and as a member of the G-PISD Strategic Design Team, along with volunteering with Kairos Prison Ministry.



About Del Mar College

Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.