New CCM algebra professor makes his mark with struggling students

BY LYNN NIXON
Contributor

For many students algebra can be a painful subject, but having a patient and empathetic professor can make the difference between passing and failing. Luckily, for students at the County College of Morris, there is a new addition to CCM’s math department, Professor Evren Gulistan. While this is only his second semester teaching at CCM, Gulistan’s love of teaching coupled with his care and concern for struggling students has already had a positive impact on CCM’s algebra students.

Gulistan joined CCM’s math department as an adjunct professor in the fall of 2015, teaching two intermediate algebra classes. In addition, he is a full-time high school teacher at Bergen County Technical School where he has been teaching math for the past five years, including algebra classes for students struggling with High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) testing.

While he excelled in math as a student, Gulistan didn’t know he wanted to be a teacher until his junior year of high school.

“My pre-calculus honors teacher had a unique teaching style and a sense of humor which made the class fun and educational at the same time,” Gulistan said. “It was then that I had found my calling.”

Since then, education has been a lifelong passion for Gulistan.

“What I like most about teaching is being able to inform students of knowledge that they can use to better themselves and to further their careers,” Gulistan said.

He is already known at CCM for being committed to helping students who are struggling with math. Ryan Stampfl, a CCM business student, felt his grade has improved thanks largely to Gulistan.

“Professor Gulistan spent a lot of time with me and some of the other students before and after our algebra class,” Stampfl said. “He encourages you to ask questions and makes sure you understand everything before he moves on to the next problem. He definitely helped me improve my grade from a D to a B.”

Gulistan said he could offer this advice: practice.

“Practice makes perfect, or pretty close to it,” said Gulistan. “Consistent practice with homework problems and asking questions if you’re not sure … but the biggest thing needed is consistency to improve your skills.”

Gulistan graduated from high school in the top 10 percent of his class and was a Garden State Scholar recipient. He then went on to graduate from William Paterson University with a bachelor’s degree in math while taking part in the K-12 teacher education program. Thereafter, he obtained a master’s in math with a concentration in math education from Montclair State University.

Currently, Gulistan is teaching CCM’s college algebra class on Saturday mornings.

“So far it has been very rewarding and a great experience,” Gulistan said.

Gulistan said that he was always interested in teaching at the college level, so when the opportunity came to work at CCM, he jumped at the chance.

“I like the fact that he has teaching experience, especially since he is teaching at CCM part time, so he is comfortable in a classroom,” said Doreen Sabella, Assistant Chair of CCM’s math department.  “I am very happy with his progress and glad to hear the students like him.”

Gulistan lives in New Jersey with his wife, who is also a math teacher, and their 4-year-old son who they are hoping has inherited the math gene. In his spare time, Gulistan is continuing his own education and is presently attending Montclair State University to obtain his MED in Special Education.

“I noticed a lot of my colleagues have special education degrees, so I wanted to broaden my background,” said Gulistan.

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