Rowan-Cabarrus announces teaching excellence awards

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College announced its 2010-11 Excellence in Teaching award recipients and showcased its Center for Teaching and Learning at the September board meeting.
“Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is committed to excellence for our teachers and our students,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of the college. “Creating the Center for Teaching and Learning was a way for us to ensure that our faculty has access to quality resources to make our classroom experiences better than ever.”
The center offers consultations and workshops about all aspects of teaching for instructors and provides support for curriculum design, development and assessment. It also facilitates faculty learning communities to promote best teaching practices and offers programs to promote and share instructional innovations.
“The Center for Teaching and Learning was established this spring and set out to provide faculty with quality professional development opportunities that reinforce and demonstrate the college’s commitment to student success through delivery of high quality instruction,” said Dr. Rod Townley, vice president of academic programs.
“The college’s vision is to build sustainable futures through the power of learning,” said Spalding. “This influences how we view our own faculty and staff development. In order for us to complete the mission of the college, we all must hone our skills. We’ve established a goal for each member of our faculty and staff to complete 30 hours of professional development per year to help them do their jobs better, more effectively and more efficiently.”
This summer, the college faculty participated in a five-week long training program. During the program, more than 150 instructors heard from 25 nationally known presenters, authors and organizations in the Summer Institute’s facilitated sessions.
Over the course of the Summer Institute, Rowan-Cabarrus faculty earned a number of nationally respected certifications, including certification from the National Tutoring Association with 61 faculty members receiving the basic certification, 47 receiving the intermediate certification and 50 receiving the advanced certification.
A major component of the training was an intensive series of seminars applicable to all disciplines conducted by the National Paideia Center from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Paideia is based on the Socratic teaching method. Seventy-four faculty were awarded the first level of Paideia certification.
“The Paideia philosophy provides students with skills that will last a lifetime,” said LaNita Kirby, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Rowan-Cabarrus. “Paideia helps our students learn how to think critically, evaluate multiple sides of issues and engage in civil dialogue. Certifying our faculty in this approach ensures that our classrooms are positive, student-centered environments focused on learning that extends far beyond the classroom.”
Ongoing initiatives of the Center for Teaching and Learning include service-learning opportunities and tutorial services, Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) course design and support, additional Paideia seminar training and curriculum consulting, a college-wide focus on customer service in the classroom and student success.
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College also presented 2010-11 Excellence in Teaching Awards to 10 members of the faculty. Award winners include:
• Carol Beaver, associate degree nursing instructor;
• Teena Boone, developmental reading instructor;
• Cathy Cook, program head and instructor, communications;
• Martha Cranford, accounting instructor;
• Sallie Herrin, psychology instructor;
• Michelle Lyerly-Wiener, religion instructor;
• Frankie Lyons, program head and instructor, radiography;
• Carol Scherczinger, program head and instructor, biotechnology;
• Jenn Selby, photography and visual arts instructor;
• Donna White-Cook, computer information technology instructor.
“We are proud of this group of instructors for the commitment they have made to our community and our students,” said Spalding.
“Beyond cultivating excellence among our faculty, it is important to develop the support staff, who also serve our students,” said Spalding. “We have an intentional, planned approach to development that is focused on the needs of specific employee populations. Everything from customer service training, to developing better communications skills, to dealing with multiple generations in the workplace, is important in today’s work place.”
The college has undergone a technological upgrade in the last two years. Software such as WebAdvisor (our online registration system), WeaveOnline (the assessment tool that links deliverables to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools which accredits the college) and Datatel (the core system for registration, payment, financials and payroll) play an important role in serving students. Continuous training to support emerging technology is a critical component of the college’s commitment to excellent customer service. Additional training on organizational effectiveness and leadership development is scheduled to further enhance the effectiveness of the college.