The State Board of Community Colleges recognized excellence in community college teaching, administration and partnerships at its annual awards dinner May 16.
The dinner was sponsored by the NC Community Colleges Foundation.
The following winners of State Board Awards were recognized:
- Lyn Austin, I.E. Ready Award. Named for Isaac Epps Ready, the first state director of the North Carolina Community College System, the award recognizes individuals who have made significant, statewide contributions to the establishment, development or enhancement of the system. Austin has served more than 20 years on the Board of Trustees of Johnston Community College, including 14 years as the board’s chair. She also has served 14 years on the Executive Board of the NC Association of Community College Trustees and chaired it from 2014-16. The national Association of Community College Trustees named her Southern Region Trustee of the Year in 2014. Austin’s nominators cited her “tenacity and generous spirit,” and noted that she is “a fierce advocate on all fronts” for community colleges.
- Dr. Carol Spalding, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, President of the Year. Since becoming president in 2008, Spalding has become known as an advocate for student success and the community college’s role in developing North Carolina’s workforce and economy. She has grown the college’s continuing education and training programs, and facilitated a group of community leaders to align and leverage economic development efforts within Rowan County. Under Spalding’s leadership, the college also has used technology to expand and improve services to students. These efforts have led to Rowan-Cabarrus being recognized four consecutive years as a Top Ten Digital Community College by the Center for Digital Education. She also developed the college’s 2018 student services model, which led to 7 percent growth in curriculum enrollment.
- Ginger Harris, Central Carolina Community College, Excellence in Teaching Award. Harris, chair of Central Carolina’s Early Childhood Education Department, holds an initial advising meeting with each student, spending time discussing their goals. She then works with them to create a plan to help them achieve those goals. She uses a variety of methods to create a dynamic classroom environment. Harris incorporates technology into the classroom and enables her students to become comfortable using it. She developed a master template in Blackboard software that all education courses in the program will use. Harris also is active on campus, serving on Central Carolina’s Advising Committee since 2008 and the Curriculum Review Committee since 2014. She was Central Carolina’s 2018 Faculty Member of the Year.
- Dr. Jason Fair, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Staff of the Year. Fair is director of A-B Tech South in Arden, a collaboration with Mars Hill University. He was recognized for his student-centered approach to delivering instruction and services at A-B Tech South. Under Fair’s direction, the number of course offerings, students and support programs has grown since the site opened in 2013. He found ways to expand operating hours without additional staffing and advocated for the use of technology to deliver instruction. Fair also works with Mars Hill, A-B Tech’s facility partner, to maximize use of classroom space and to increase engagement and outreach with the community.
- Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Castle & Cooke North Carolina and the City of Kannapolis, Distinguished Partners in Excellence. They were honored for their unique collaboration in supporting the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s role in workforce development. Collaboration between the development company and the city began over a decade ago and has created benefits for the community, the community college, and to regional and state workforce and economic development, the nomination said. The partners have supported the RCCC’s work at the research campus and helped advance the College Station campus, which opened in August, and the Advanced Technology Center, which will open this year.