Skip to content

Three Rivers College has selected faculty members Elizabeth Deken, Professor of Engineering Technology, and Dr. Michael Malone, Adjunct Instructor in the Information Technology Specialist program, as the College’s Teacher of the Year and Adjunct Teacher of the Year. The awards were presented at the Greater Poplar Bluff Area Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Year Banquet.

“We’re proud to honor these educators who prepare the leaders of our community,” said Steve Halter, President of the Greater Poplar Bluff Area Chamber of Commerce. “We believe it’s important that education and business work together to train the future workers for our businesses.”

In the technical classes and math classes that she teaches at Three Rivers, Deken said she focuses on helping students learn problem-solving skills in addition to subject skills.

“Learning is a lifelong process and helping students to see that education is important and doesn’t end with a degree or certificate is an important part of my approach to teaching,” said Deken, who has taught at TRC for 20 years. “Treating students with respect and setting learning expectations so that each student is challenged is also important in the approach I use with all of my classes.”

Deken holds a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education, Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, and Master of Science in Industrial Management.

Malone has taught at Three Rivers for three years. He teaches classes in the Information Technology Specialist program, including Server Administration and Programming.

“I focus on three things: (1) prepare, prepare, prepare; (2) don’t be afraid to admit you’re wrong; and (3) if you don’t know something, admit it, say you’ll find out, and follow through,” Malone said.

Malone said he likes the small class sizes at TRC and the College’s focus on teaching.

“At large institutions it’s difficult to build relationships between students and faculty. Here, the faculty’s focus is on teaching, not research,” he said.

Malone holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Software, a Master of Science in Computer Information Science, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Organization and Management, with a specialization in Information Technology Management.

“Both of these instructors are committed to providing the best educational experience possible for our students,” said Dr. Justin Hoggard, TRC Dean of Instruction. “They have a passion for helping students achieve their dreams and goals for college, career and life.”

“We’re extremely proud of the work that Liz and Mike have done in our classrooms,” said Dr. Wesley Payne, President of Three Rivers College. “They are examples of the excellence that all of our instructors display and the kind of high-quality education that our students receive.”

Three Rivers College is committed to contributing to the quality of life in Southeast Missouri with quality, affordable higher education opportunities and community services that support and encourage the economic, civic, and cultural vitality of the region. For more information about college and workforce programs and upcoming events, visit

Main Campus
2080 Three Rivers Blvd., Poplar Bluff, MO 63901
Office Hours: Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

P: (877) 879-8722 View all locations