PROF. BETTY OKA
Office: Center for the Arts - CA102 
Phone: (626) 585-7216
Email: BAOKA@pasadena.edu

Music Professor Betty Oka was honored by PCC with the 2003 Risser Outstanding Teacher Award in recognition of her quality of instruction and inspiration to students. The nomination was based on letters from Professor Oka’s students. A committee of faculty composed of past winners made the final selection. Professor Oka was cited in the nomination for her excellent teaching and for her genuine concern for students. She was described as one of those rare teachers who positively influences a student’s whole life through enriching one’s skill set as well as developing one’s cultural and educational foundation. She has a great passion for teaching music.

Professor Oka has taught at PCC since 1974. She has taught class piano, music appreciation, music theory and musicianship. When Mrs. Oka started teaching, the PCC music program was geared only for music majors. Mrs. Oka diversified the curriculum aimed only at music majors and developed the curriculum for the non-major, the adult learner, and the leisure student. She has taught the piano classes for both the music majors (Music 4 series) and the non-major (Music 41 and 42 series).

Professor Oka currently educates students in music through the introductory piano course series Music 41ab and Music 42abc. As part of the piano instruction, Oka also incorporates elements of music appreciation, theory, structure and composition. Her students range in age from teens to seniors, and range in abilities from those planning to major in music to those who are undertaking piano lessons as a hobby. Across this broad spectrum of students who supported the nomination, Professor Oka was described as always encouraging and supportive of every individual, and as always being able to find something complimentary to say even after a music performance that does not go well. Many students wrote in their nomination that they never would have progressed in their music education and realized their potential without the special support and inspiration of Professor Betty Oka.