Maureen Sparks' career as a pharmacy technician started at CPTC. She's been a program instructor for nearly 19 years.

Teaching Excellence: Nationally Recognized Instructor Dedicated to CPTC

September 2, 2014

In a series of articles over the coming months we will explore the meaning of teaching excellence and how it is personified at Clover Park Technical College.

Maureen Sparks’ career as a pharmacy technician started at Clover Park Technical College. Soon after completing the Pharmacy Technician Program Sparks returned to CPTC as an instructor, where she has been for nearly 19 years. Sparks is also a certified sterile compounding technician.

Sparks’ dedication and commitment to CPTC, the community and her field is also evident outside of the classroom.

The instructor was named the first pharmacy technician to ever be appointed to the Washington State Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission last year. Sparks also works as an on-call pharmacy tech at St. Clare Hospital.

Sparks was nationally recognized last spring at the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development annual conference in Austin, Texas. Sparks received a Teaching Excellence Medal, which is awarded to community and technical college educators who demonstrate an outstanding commitment and contribution to students and colleagues amongst community.

Sparks recently answered questions about receiving the coveted award and teaching excellence.

Q: What does teaching or faculty excellence mean to you?

Sparks: To me it has to do with students and their success. How do you reach the different learning styles and diverse population? How do they react to the classroom – is it a welcoming situation or not? It is all about students learning.

Q: How do you measure teaching or faculty excellence?

Sparks: As a technical instructor I feel that if students are graduating and are being hired in our community then we are obtaining excellence in both teaching and faculty.

Q: Why do you think so many dedicated members of the industry choose to teach at CPTC?

Sparks: We choose to teach at CPTC because of the variety of students we have here. The faculty is awesome. There are some very good administrators that have worked with us over the years to help us make it a great place to teach.

Q: Can you share about recently becoming an accreditation evaluator?

Sparks: It's something I've been asked to do in the past and I've never been able to. We are accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and they reached out to me to serve as a second on an accreditation committee. I will help evaluate program curriculum and labs. My first visit is next week in Michigan. I'm excited about it because it will help me see what other people do and you can always improve your own program that way.

The Pharmacy Technician Program at CPTC prepares students for a rewarding career assisting pharmacists in hospitals, clinics, long-term care and community pharmacies. For more information, visit

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Sparks was recognized nationally last spring at the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development annual conference.