University Relations and Communications

City College instructor named No.1 Cisco Instructor for U.S. and Canada

April 29, 2014 


Carmen Price, University Relations, 657-2243


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — A lot has changed in the information technology field since Bruce Brumley began his career creating computer code with punch cards on a mainframe computer and using a Teletype machine.


Bruce Brumley and student

As much of the world may be unfamiliar with these largely obsolete machines, today—unlike in 1980 when Brumley started his career—we have Google and other Internet search engines to provide a plethora of information and background history.


“A lot has changed since then, and I have had a seat in the front row,” Brumley, an instructor for City College at Montana State University Billings, said.


While the world of technology information has drastically changed in the last few decades, one thing remains the same: some of the greatest accomplishments made in the world often start with the influence of a good instructor.


In late March, Cisco Networking Academy named 52-year-old Brumley the No.1 instructor of Cisco Certified Network Associate Discovery Curriculum Specialist in all of the United States and Canada. He was selected among nearly 4,000 other instructors.

Brumley also received the prestigious Expert Level Instructor Award—the highest recognition given to the top 10 percent of all Cisco Networking Academy instructors worldwide.


By partnering with schools around the globe, Cisco Networking Academy teaches individuals to build, design and maintain networks through 21st Century learning.


The honors are given to instructors for their dedication and passion in the field of information and communications technology as well as their contributions and instructional excellence.


When asked about the recognition, Brumley said he was astonished. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until weeks after the announcement when he realized the award was for all of the U.S. and Canada.


“You create the best instructional environment and class that you can for your students, and to be recognized on a national level for those efforts, it’s truly humbling,” he said.


Several factors are considered during the selection process, Karen Alderson, the regional technical manager for the U.S. and Canada Cisco Corporate Affairs, said.


“We look at instructors’ participation in professional development opportunities, such as courses, virtual conferences and instructor contests as well as instructors’ student final exam scores,” Alderson said.


Other factors include attention to student needs, which is measured by the satisfaction with lab facilitation and student interest in the course, and instructor use of Cisco resources.


Brumley, an alumnus of MSU Billings, earned his Master’s of Education degree with a focus on curriculum and instruction in 1992 from MSUB’s College of Education.


Originally from Malta, Bruce has been an instructor with City College since 1993, or what was known until a few years ago as the College of Technology. Prior to this instruction, he served as an instructor for the College of Education for two years.


He teaches a myriad of courses for the Computer Systems Technology program at City College, including several CCNA and Cisco Certified Network Professional courses. Brumley has also presented at dozens of Cisco Academy Network conferences.


Most recent, Brumley and two of his computer technology students teach a rigorous A+ Certification class—a Cisco Network Professional course—four days a week to a group of 14 inmates at the Montana State Women’s Prison, providing IT skills to help inmates find jobs upon release. The six-month class, which will conclude in May, is a pilot program in conjunction with the Montana Department of Corrections through the Second Chance Act technology grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice.


Among his extensive professional development qualifications, Bruce is certified with Cisco as an academy instructor, a network associate instructor trainer, an associate security instructor trainer and a professional instructor trainer.


“I work hard to continue to keep our program as one of the best in the country,” Brumley said. “As Cisco is the dominant network equipment provider, we are able to provide City College students the opportunity to work on industry equipment.”


Brumley said his teaching philosophy is centered on engaging students and “guiding them to where they need to go to be successful.”

“It is an always-changing field and there is always something new to learn and explore,” Brumley said. “I am very proud to be out front educating the next generation of IT professionals.”


His teaching influence is vast and has made a long-lasting impact on many students.


Second-year computer technology student Atkinson said Brumley pushes his students to reach their fullest potential.


“One of the things that makes him such a successful instructor is that he has very high expectations of every student,” Atkinson said. “Because of this, his students are highly accomplished. He pushes students more than any other instructor.”


For example, Atkinson said, he and several of Brumley’s students have participated in the Cisco NetRiders IT Skills Challenge—the largest Internet networking competition in the world. A handful of his students have advanced to compete and represent Montana at national and international levels.


“In the future I will keep adding additional resources outside of the curriculum requirements to expose students to more learning opportunities as well as continuing my own professional development,” Brumley said. “The students have a way of raising the bar for me. You just need to listen to them and respond. They always keep me active.”


PHOTO ABOVE: Bruce Brumley, City College computer information technology instructor, demonstrates how to assemble Ethernet cables for computer networking to a group of inmates at the Montana Women’s Prison. The course is taught by two City College students and is overseen by Brumley. Through a Second Chance Act technology grant awarded to the Montana Department of Corrections by the U.S. Department of Justice, the trio teach IT skills four days a week at the prison to help inmates find jobs upon release.