Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Coast To Coast

Coast To Coast

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Michael Olds

Michael Olds

Orange Coast College economics professor, Michael V. Olds, has been named the college’s Part-Time Faculty Member of the Year for 2007-08 by a vote of the faculty and staff.

OCC’s Staff Development Office and Academic Senate sponsor the Part-Time Faculty Member of the Year Award.

Olds, 67, an Irvine resident, has been teaching at OCC since 1983. He retired last June, but has remained on as a part-time instructor.

“I’m very honored to be the recipient of this award,” he says. “I was nominated a couple of times for Full-Time Faculty Member of the Year, but didn’t win. Last year I finished behind sociology professor, Terry Timmins, the winner of the full-time award. I nominated Terry for that honor, so I felt very good about it.

“I’m truly honored to be recognized as Part-Time Faculty Member of the Year.”

Olds was announced as OCC’s Part-Time Faculty Member of the Year last Thursday (Nov. 29). Four part-time instructors were nominated by their colleagues for the award. Members of Orange Coast College’s faculty and staff selected the winner during an election, held Nov. 26-28.

Olds, who was nominated for the honor by OCC student, Chelsea Smith, will be recognized on Thursday, April 3, 2008, during a special presentation in OCC’s Student Center Lounge. The program will begin at 3 p.m., and will conclude with a reception.

Born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to an American diplomat and his wife, Olds earned an A.B. degree in international relations from Princeton University. He completed an M.A. and M.A.L.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Medford, Mass.

Olds completed a summer language program at Stanford University, and studied in China, at Jinan University, under a Department of State grant. He taught English and Western literature for three years in Taiwan as part of a Princeton-in-Asia Teaching Fellowship.

“I wanted to enter the foreign-service, but married a woman who didn’t want to travel,” he says. “So we settled in California.”

He taught political science for two years at Moorpark College, and was the chief of academic planning for the Chapman University World Campus Afloat, from 1972-76. Olds was an instructional designer for telecourses at Coastline Community College for seven years, from 1976-83.

“Telecourse design was lots of fun, and we were involved in a variety of projects,” Olds says. “Our team won the Coast Community College District’s first Emmy for telecourse design.”

Olds joined OCC’s faculty in 1983 as an economics professor. He also taught history courses, including a class in Chinese history. He retired last June.

Olds is teaching two sections this fall of OCC’s macroeconomics course. One class is an online section.

“One time in my life I thought about completing my Ph.D. and teaching at a university,” he said. “Well, I’ve taught at a university and, frankly, it’s a little boring. Everyone in your class is between the ages of 17 and 21. I love the community college environment because you get students of all ages. There’s tremendous diversity here.

“I was lecturing in a class many years ago on the subject of the Great Depression, and a student stood up – a 70-year-old woman – and said, ‘Sonny, you don’t know what you’re talking about. I lived through the Great Depression.’ I invited her to come to the front of the class and tell us about it. It was a great teaching moment.

“Community college students keep you on your toes.”

Olds has conducted State Department workshops in Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Romania.

“I did workshops for countries coming out of communism or socialism. In 2003, I conducted workshops on market economics for journalists in Romania. They knew nothing about capitalism but were going to have to write about it. They were highly suspicious of it.”

A passionate skier, Olds climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with his son, Stephen, in 1999, just before he turned 60. He recently returned from a trip to Turkey, has visited China on numerous occasions, and has been to Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands.

“I still have a huge list of places I want to visit, like Bhutan, Tibet and Machu Picchu,” he says.

Other nominees for OCC’s 2006-07 Part-Time Faculty Member of the Year Award included: Denis Jana, history and American studies; Dr. Athena Sawyer, English as a second language; and Rachel Winston, mathematics.


2004-05     Barbara Price, Education Instructor
2005-06 Six Divisional Winners
2006-07 Jennifer Peters, Communications and Business Instructor
2007-08 Michael Olds, Professor of Economics