The award is considered the highest faculty honor from the University System of Georgia.
Dr. Binh Tran and his family escaped Vietnam in 1979 and were rescued by an English tanker ship. He grew up in London before moving to Atlanta in 1990.
He worked in the industry for a few years but knew he wanted to impact people more and the way to do so was through education.
“I want to make sure students get out of the class way more than the grade and content material … stuff they can use in real life.”
“I think that [his] experience has instilled empathy for students who have all kinds of distractions from their education based on family issues and financial issues,” Dean Mundie said. “I think he has an empathy toward students because of his experience and really think that that’s his real strength.”
Dr. Tran has been a teacher at GGC since 2012. Before that, he taught computer hardware, Cisco networking, and Microsoft server environment for higher education in Georgia for more than 10 years as an instructor and program director.
Dr. Tran earned his bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech, master MIT, an MBA in Information Technology, and an MBA in Business Administration from AIU and a doctorate in information systems from California University.
He is certified in Cisco, Microsoft, EC-Council, and various CompTIA and has won several awards from GGC including Top Claw Award in 2014, Outstanding Faculty Award in 2016, Outstanding Service Award nominee in 2018, Top 25 National Professor Recognition, and Outstanding Teaching Award in 2018. His most recent awards include the Regent Excellence in Teaching Award and the Felton Jenkins Hall of Fame Faculty Award in 2019.
“Everyone wants to be in Dr. Tran’s class,” Dean Mundie said. “He is immensely popular, and it is not because he is easy, but because he goes out of his way to help students. Students gravitate toward him.”
Dr. Tran has been a full-time faculty member since August 2014. He created the certification program once he was offered to teach upper-level classes.
“I found that many students pass courses, but don’t actually have skills to do anything with them,” Dr. Tran said. “The program is a Microsoft Technology Associate Certification program, so I can embed the information into the class. So, when students pass my class, and do a little extra work, they can attempt to take the certification exam.”
Dr. Tran has partnered with the Testing Center to have the Microsoft Technology Associate Certification exam is proctored here at GGC.
According to Dean Mundie, the program has had a 90 percent success rate.
These success rates are not the only thing that shows the kind of teacher Dr. Tran is.
“It really became apparent when I would get emails every semester from students in his class saying, ‘I took him for networks, and I’m taking advanced networks next semester. Can you please have him teach advanced networks because I really want to have him?’” Dean Mundie said.
ITEC major Thai Lee is one of those students.
“I am currently taking him for ITEC 1001, but I plan on taking his networks 3000 class,” Lee said. “I am trying to transfer to UGA next semester, but if I can get into his class, it will keep me for one more semester. That is how much I like him.”
Dr. Tran teaches a networking class every semester with hopes of teaching students workforce skills.
“Being a liberal arts college, we need to make a lot more workforce development skills embedded into our program,” Dr. Tran said. “There are many students that graduate and have a hard time finding a job because they don’t have real-world skills.”
This is one of the reasons he has started to implement the content from the Microsoft certification exam into his classroom.
“I have a Cisco certification, and I am trying to advance. [Dr. Tran] has the certification as well, so I feel like he can help me and will be able to explain it better than any of the books,” Lee said.
Dr. Tran has plans to teach a cloud computing class in the fall once the curriculum has been approved.
“I hope this increases popularity for ITEC in the fall,” Dr. Tran said.