Elevating Excellence in Instruction: First cohort graduates from inaugural Master Instructor Certification Program with NC Community Colleges

Twenty-three instructors from 16 community colleges across the state completed the North Carolina Community College Master Instructor (NC3MI) Certification Program last month – highlighting the System’s commitment to elevating the quality of education through active learning and alignment with workforce employability skills.  

NC3MI is a transformative journey designed to recognize and enhance the talents of distinguished faculty across North Carolina community colleges. The program launched in January 2024 with faculty members ranging in programs from nursing to fine arts. This diversity ensured a rich exchange of ideas and best practices to benefit the broader educational community. 

“The North Carolina Community College System is uniquely positioned to combine field expertise with exceptional teaching abilities. The NC3MI program exemplifies our commitment to elevating excellent teachers and ensuring they are equipped to meet students where they are,” said Dr. Lane Freeman, Director of Online Learning for the System. “This initiative underscores our dedication to fostering a robust and adaptable workforce, making us the best in the business at transforming students into the future leaders of North Carolina’s economy.” 

Participants were nominated by the Chief Academic Officers at their respective colleges and selected by an NC Community College System Office Task Force. The curriculum included modules on relational capacity, student motivation, metacognition, critical thinking, and career readiness. 
The program emphasized three key performance areas: Professional Development, Student Learning, and Collaborative Leadership. Faculty members developed portfolios demonstrating their mastery in these areas, reflecting on their teaching practices and documenting evidence of student success.   

“Being part of the first cohort of faculty to take the NC3MI was an honor. I had the opportunity to showcase the kind of teaching that I have been doing in the classroom over my 28-year career,” said Dr. Elizabeth Braun, Department Chair of Rhetoric and Composition at Catawba Valley Community College. “Not only did I get feedback from my colleagues, but all of our ideas coming together created an incredible database of specific examples of research-based pedagogy in practice. Most importantly, for me, was the chance to be a student again. Each time I am in that role it is a profound reminder of the many seen and unseen challenges my students have, and it helps me be a better teacher.”

NC3MI underscores the System’s commitment to fostering a culture of excellence, innovation, and student success. Graduates are now equipped with enhanced skills and strategies that will positively influence their students and colleagues – creating a ripple effect of quality education throughout the state. 

The rigorous program concluded with a capstone event on May 21 in Asheboro, NC, where participants presented their achievements and participated in a panel discussion.  
Graduates of the inaugural cohort are recognized below: 


College Name  


Mr. Nicholas Goble 

Alamance CC  

Advertising & Graphic Design  

Ms. Tonya Stephens 

Blue Ridge CC  


Dr. Elizabeth Braun 

Catawba Valley CC  

English/Rhetoric and Composition  

Ms. Katy Geymont 

Catawba Valley CC  


Mrs. Nichole Wells 

Catawba Valley CC  


Mrs. McKinsey Poarch 

Catawba Valley CC  


Dr. Kristen Smith 

Catawba Valley CC  


Dr. Maryann Aucompaugh 

Central Carolina CC  

Business Technologies  

Ms. Crystal Way 

Central Carolina CC  


Mrs. Peggy Drum 

Central Piedmont CC  

Nursing and Health Professions  

Dr. Joshua Howell 

College of the Albemarle  

English and Communications  

Mrs. Jessica Buckley-Williams 

College of the Albemarle  

Business, Computer, IT Systems  

Dr. Grant Jolliff 

Davidson Davie CC  


Mrs. Carole Mehle-Bittner 

Edgecombe CC  

English and Humanities  

Dr. Kristin Redfield 

Forsyth Technical CC  


Mr. Edward Pardue 

Gaston College  

Arts and Sciences  

Ms. Tiffany Cooper 

Isothermal CC  

Applied Technologies  

Dr. Rochelle Mabry 

Martin CC  

English and Humanities  

Mrs. Angela Eaker 

Southeastern CC  

College and Career Readiness  

Mr. Joshua Brosius 

Stanly CC  

Advanced Manufacturing, CIM  

Mrs. Bobbi Stevens 

Wayne CC  

Business & Accounting  

Ms. Meret Burke 

Wilkes CC  

Arts and Sciences/English  

Ms. Valerie Bailey 

Wilkes CC  

Nursing Health Sciences  

For more information about NC3MI and the impact of this inaugural cohort, please
contact Dr. Lane Freeman.

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