KETTERING, Ohio - The last few years have seen a lot of changes in the HVACR industry, and as can be expected, those changes are reflected in the classroom. James Eller of Sinclair Community College, an honorable mention honoree in the Best Instructor contest sponsored byThe NEWSand the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), noted that change has become a way of life over his 26 years of teaching.

"Our program continues to evolve with the industry," said Eller. "I certainly don't teach the same way I did when I started. I can't even cover many of the same topics, as they just no longer apply."

Click on "Quick Stats" for a brief rundown on Eller.

One thing that doesn't change, though, is that Eller is still excited to teach. He loves the fact that he's been able to touch hundreds of lives over the years, helping students learn more about heating and air conditioning. Even better, he stated, "I've learned so much more from students than I ever taught them. I am so grateful for everything they have brought to the classroom."

Eller has been at Sinclair Community College for 10 years and teaches between five and six courses per term. Sinclair offers a wide range of programs, from a one-year certificate in residential and light commercial HVACR to a two-year associate degree in HVACR. A four-year apprenticeship class in HVAC and sheet metal for associated builders and contractors is also offered. Several off-campus courses are available, and Sinclair works with Ferris State University so students can have a direct track from high school to a four-year degree.

Recruiting students into the HVAC program is a top priority for Eller, and he and other faculty from Sinclair participate in high school visits, engineer's day, tech prep day, and career fairs. Students also participate in Habitat for Humanity as part of a service-learning project. Last year through Habitat, students constructed a house for a family that lost its home in Hurricane Katrina. The home was constructed over the winter months, then disassembled, trucked to Louisiana, and reassembled in seven days - even including the sod on the lawn, noted Eller proudly.

Publication date: 11/13/2006