Education briefs: RCCC names excellence in teaching award winners

Published 12:01 am Thursday, January 6, 2022

SALISBURY – Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has recognized two instructors as its 2020-2021 Excellence in Teaching award recipients. The award recognizes superior faculty members who go above and beyond expected levels of instruction and elevate educational excellence and student success.

Eric Savage, a full-time math instructor, and Sondra Thorson, a part-time business administration instructor, received the awards.

“We are beyond proud of these educators for their dedication to excellence in serving our students,” RCCC President Carol Spalding said “Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is committed to providing the highest quality instruction.”

Savage believes his three children, ages 6, 4, and 1, make him a better teacher. “I watch them learn things every day, and I explain things to them every day,” he said. His favorite part of teaching, especially math, is knowing that he is helping people in their personal lives, whether they realize it or not.

“Nowadays, mathematics is everywhere we look, whether in complex engineering models, social media posts, pandemic and vaccine statistics, or how to compute the interest on a mortgage,” Savage said. “Wherever you go, you will need to know some level of math. Although they may not love the subject as I do, I hope that after my class, students will at least have a healthy respect for its place in their lives.”

Savage holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, with a minor in History, from Lees-McRae College and earned a Master of Science degree in Mathematics with a minor in Statistics from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. He has taught at Rowan-Cabarrus since 2013.

After earning her Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees from West Virginia University, Thorson worked as a business manager and property manager for several organizations. She currently owns and manages her own small businesses, including an equine facility and several investment groups. An adjunct faculty member at Rowan-Cabarrus for more than 15 years, Thorson finds joy in seeing her students advance their personal and professional development.

“I am so honored to be selected for this award, and I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the success of my students at Rowan-Cabarrus,” Thorson said.

Catawba invites first-year students to apply for scholarship

SALISBURY — Catawba College invites admitted first-year students to apply for a new Humanities scholarship program called, The Pursuit. If selected to join the pursuit, students will receive a $2,000 scholarship in their
freshman year with additional opportunities available in their sophomore, junior, and senior years.

To receive the initial $2000 scholarship, students will complete two courses in their first year—a special section of GEN 1200: First-Year Seminar in Fall 2022 and HUM 2000: Transformative Texts in Spring 2023. These courses satisfy credits toward graduation. What makes the courses in The Pursuit unique is that students engage with transformative texts and pursue Big Questions:

  • What is good, true, and beautiful?
  • What is happiness?
  • What does it mean to be successful?
  • How do you lead a good life—a life of purpose, virtue, and fulfillment?

In GEN 1200: First-Year Seminar, students read famous speeches, essays, films, and media that will inform and inspire, encourage creative and imaginative capacities, and help students see the world from different perspectives. Students will gain skills in critical thinking, communication, teamwork, and personal and social responsibility that will prepare them to be successful in college and beyond.

The second course, HUM 2000: Transformative Texts, will connect the Big Questions to students’ professional aspirations. Students will choose a class related to a potential major in either business, health science and human performance, or environmental and natural sciences.

Students will consider issues relevant to their area of study within the broader range of society, culture, and human experience.

Throughout their freshman year, students will participate in a variety of enrichment activities unique to The Pursuit. Students will attend lectures with important scholars, have dinners with successful and well-connected alumni of Catawba College, visit museums, attend literary readings, see performances, and more. The Pursuit will provide more than the typical college education. Students will seek the extraordinary and have experiences that prepare them for life.

To be eligible for the scholarship, accepted students will complete an application and write a short essay in response to an assigned question. For the application and more information visit The priority deadline to apply is March 1; notification of selection will be emailed on March 9. The secondary application deadline is April 1; notification of selection emailed on April 9. Students must accept their scholarship offer by May 1. Interested students should apply quickly as funding is limited. Those who are waitlisted for the program will be notified of their selection on or before May 9.