Ken Clifton of RCCC named one of best teachers in state

  • Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2012 6:51 a.m.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has announced that its 2011-2012 Excellence in Teaching award recipient, Paul Ken Clifton, has been selected as one of five finalists among the 58 North Carolina community colleges.

Clifton, instructor for computer information technology, received the college’s Outstanding Excellence in Teaching Award. By receiving this honor, Clifton was named the college’s nominee for the 2012 North Carolina Community College System’s R.J. Reynolds Excellence in Teaching Award.


A graduate of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Clifton has taught at the college for 22 years.

“Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has changed my life, and I’m all about giving back. I feel like I’m a beneficiary of the college in a lot of ways,” said Clifton. “More than anything, I enjoy working with all of the different students and programs. Because the introduction to computers class is usually required, I get to see almost every student who comes through our doors.”

“I am so proud of Ken. As a graduate of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and an instructor here for 22 years, we are truly lucky to call him one of our own,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus.

Clifton is also well known for his personal and professional commitment to “go green.” What started as simply wanting to leave a better world for his children turned into a passion, including additional teaching and hands-on work with companies like Duke Energy and Frierich Foods.

“We are thrilled that Ken has been selected as a finalist and want to offer our congratulations,” said Carl. M. Short, chair of the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College board of trustees. “It is wonderful that his talent and many years of service are being recognized and supported.”

Clifton holds a bachelor’s degree from Catawba College and a master’s degree in electronic commerce from the University of Maryland. Clifton and his wife, Katherine, live in Salisbury.

In a letter to Clifton, senior vice president and chief academic officer for the North Carolina Community College System Dr. Sharon Morrissey wrote: “You have been selected as a finalist for the 2013 Excellence In Teaching Award. You are among a select group of instructors who represent the best teachers employed in the North Carolina Community College System.”

“People here work really hard. Having been a student here at Rowan-Cabarrus myself, I really try to think about what they’re dealing with in their lives. I hope that makes me a better teacher.”

“Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is committed to excellence for our teachers and our students. Ken continues to make us proud and honor his alma mater,” said Spalding.

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