Dec 18, 2014

FVCC's John Rawlings Wins Faculty Member of the Year for ACCT Western Region

FVCC's John Rawlings accepts 2014 ACCT Faculty Member of the Year Award.
FVCC’s John Rawlings accepts 2014 ACCT Faculty Member of the Year Award.

Flathead Valley Community College Art Professor John Rawlings of Whitefish has been named the 2014 Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) Faculty Member of the Year for the association’s Western Region. Rawlings accepted the award October 24 at the 2014 ACCT Leadership Congress in Chicago.


The award honors an outstanding faculty member in each of the association’s five regions. Rawlings was one of five faculty members recognized with the award from more than 1,200 community, technical and junior colleges in the United States and Canada. The Western Region is comprised of community college association members in Montana, Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Wyoming, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska and Canada.


“John has been a campus-wide trendsetter on the academic front while always striving to achieve that perfect combination of instructional excellence and person-centered, one-on-one skills that have enriched the lives of thousands of his students during his tenure at FVCC,” said FVCC Board of Trustees member Mark Holston.


Rawlings was recognized for his 49 years of classroom teaching and for his leadership role in steadily building an art department over the course of 25 years at Flathead Valley Community College that, as stated in the nomination, “is now the gold standard for two-year art programs in the nation.” His charisma and instructional expertise have played a vital role in growing the college’s art program, making it the highest credit-hour enrollment generator among non-required general education electives.


Throughout his FVCC career, Rawlings has focused on building an art program that exudes exceptional quality and diversity and includes painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, graphic design, sculpture, one of the nation’s few all-inclusive professional goldsmithing programs and a comprehensive ceramics program that specializes in unusual firing techniques. With the opening of the college’s Arts and Technology Building, Rawlings was key in designing the college’s Art Department facilities which include multiple cutting-edge art studios and labs and a Student Art Gallery.


In 1994, Rawlings began leading student trips to Venice, Italy, and to date, he has introduced more than 350 students to Venice and created a process for thoughtful, inspiring and safe international travel for FVCC students. In 2008, he founded FVCC’s Semester in Venice Program, the college’s only semester abroad program, offering an unparalleled opportunity for FVCC students to study in one of the world’s art and culture epicenters while learning Italian and gaining invaluable life-changing experiences.


Beyond his role as Venice program director, Rawlings has made the program accessible for low-income students. In 2011, he organized an annual Big Night scholarship fundraiser that has generated approximately $70,000 in scholarships, helping fund expenses for more than a dozen Venice students who otherwise would not have been able to participate without the scholarship support.


Rawlings is a founder FVCC’s national award-winning Service Learning program, which has involved FVCC students contributing more than 150,000 hours of community service to Northwest Montana communities throughout the program’s history. He also played a key role in working with representatives from across Montana to coordinate common course numbering for the state’s art courses, making the transfer of college credits seamless between institutions.


His other college career highlights include spearheading the FVCC’s most recent Fulbright-in-Residence, an Indigenous Maori artist from New Zealand, who served as the centerpiece of a year-long exploration of Indigenous arts in association with nearby tribal colleges and the Red Cloud Museum in South Dakota. He also initiated an artist-in-residence program that features famed international artists conducting one to two-week workshops for students and free presentations for the community. In addition, he has organized numerous public art exhibits on campus, featuring the works of FVCC students, faculty, alumni and local celebrated artists.


Outside the college, Rawlings has played a significant role in building Northwest Montana’s vibrant arts community by providing outreach to the K-12 arts community; assisting the Whitefish Theatre Company and Alpine Theatre Project with their set designs; serving as a board member of the Hockaday Museum of Art; volunteering at Stumptown Art Studio, where he designed and implemented a comprehensive remodel of the studio’s space;  coordinating Montana’s Ice Sculpting Contest; making artistic contributions to multiple fundraising efforts; and having a constant presence as an accomplished artist in exhibits throughout the region’s prominent museums, among making countless other contributions.


Rawlings’s award was the fourth ACCT honor presented to FVCC during the college’s 47-year history. In 2004, the college was presented the ACCT Western Region Best Practice Award for its role in the Flathead Business and Education Council. In 2009, President Jane Karas received the ACCT Western Region Chief Executive Officer Award. The following year, Psychology Professor Ivan Lorentzen won ACCT Western Region Faculty Member of the Year.


Founded in 1972, ACCT is the nonprofit educational organization of governing boards, representing more than 6,500 elected and appointed trustees of community, technical, and junior colleges in the United States and beyond.  ACCT’s purpose is to strengthen the capacity of community, technical, and junior colleges and to foster the realization of their missions through effective board leadership at local, state, and national levels.


For more information, contact Tara Roth at 756-3912 or