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RCCC announces Excellence in Teaching Award winners

CONCORD — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College announced its 2014-2015 Excellence in Teaching award recipients at the college’s September board meeting.

The Excellence in Teaching award recognizes superior faculty who go above and beyond the expected levels of delivering instruction and improving educational excellence as demonstrated by student outcomes.

“Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is committed to excellence for our teachers and our students,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of the college.

Jade Bittle, full-time instructor for English, has received the college’s 2014-2015 Outstanding Excellence in Teaching Award. She holds three bachelor’s degrees from Lenoir-Rhyne University in English, communications and education as well as a master’s degree from Gardner-Webb University with thesis work in the infusion of technology in the writing classroom.

Bittle strongly utilizes technology in her classroom to incorporate online and traditional methods of learning.

“My classroom, online or face-to-face, is an energetic and challenging environment in which students can discuss, practice and apply concepts in rigorous scenarios,” said Bittle. “In addition to lecture, I use active learning strategies such as role play, debate, course projects and discussions.”

Bittle recognizes the importance of providing students with the necessary resources and opportunities to succeed both inside and outside of the classroom. One such opportunity is service learning. In service-learning focused English courses, students utilize writing and research to help identify career or employment goals and then develop a plan for educational completion to reach their prospective career goal.

“Service-learning gives students the opportunity to develop a plan and change their career path early if it isn’t the right one. In fact, several students did change their major as a result of the project,” said Bittle.

Bittle is committed to seeing all of her students succeed and ensures that she is giving them the optimal combination of support and instruction.

“I understand that our students need to be pushed, motivated, and need resources provided to them – and that should be our role as instructors. I am just as much of a cheerleader and motivator as I am a teacher,” Bittle said.

Aimee Durham, who has served as a part-time instructor in the Computer Technology Integration department since 2009, also received the Outstanding Excellence in Teaching award. Durham possesses a bachelor’s degree in information systems from Catawba College and a master’s degree in technology-digital communications from East Carolina University. Since receiving the award as a part-time faculty member, Durham has been hired by the college as a full-time faculty member.

“We are very proud of these two instructors for the commitment they have made to our community and our students,” said Spalding.

Students initiate the nomination process for this award annually by recommending their top instructors. Students then help narrow that pool of candidates by voting for their favorites who best represent the college’s teacher of the year. Final nominees are then required to submit an extensive portfolio, letters of recommendation and submit to an unannounced, filmed observation.

“Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has a long and proud tradition of hiring highly qualified and dedicated faculty in all of its academic programs,” said Dr. Michael Quillen, vice president of Academic Programs. “The faculty members selected for this year’s Excellence in Teaching Awards certainly are representative of this tradition. These faculty members, and many others, do a wonderful job of providing high quality instruction to the students at Rowan-Cabarrus.”

For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-7222. The college is currently accepting applications for classes beginning in October and January.

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