Four faculty members at Gadsden State Community College have been selected as recipients of the fifth annual Exceptional Achievement in Teaching Awards.
These awards are one of the highest honors bestowed on a faculty member that recognizes outstanding teachers, both in and out of the classroom. The awards show the commitment of Gadsden State to excellence in teaching, the value placed on the learning experience of students and the importance of instruction to the mission of the college. Not intended to be a “Teacher of the Year” honor, instead the awards recognize career achievements in teaching with emphasis on accomplishments and results. Each recipient receives a $1000 salary supplement for the academic year with an additional $1000 discretionary fund within the appropriate department or division budget for the academic year.
Wayne Findley, history instructor at the Wallace Drive Campus, was presented the Brenda Crowe Exceptional Teaching Award for the academic faculty. The award is named for the former dean of institutional advancement and community services. Findley, a resident of Gadsden, has taught at Gadsden State for more than 20 years and is considered to be one of the most popular instructors on campus with a teaching style that is passionate and nurturing. One student remarked, “For the first time in my life I enjoyed American History.” Another student proclaimed that Mr. Findley is a great teacher who has an awesome way of expressing the lectures. Findley has served on various college and community committees and received numerous awards for his classroom expertise. He served as head of the Oral History Research Project, a division of the Central-Carver Legacy Program.
Melinda White of Gadsden, cosmetology instructor and division chair of applied and engineering technologies for the Ayers Campus, was named recipient of the Eugene Prater Exceptional Achievement in Teaching Award for the technical faculty division. This award was named for the founder of Gadsden Vocational Technical School which is now the Valley Street Campus of Gadsden State. White, an employee since 1988, was instrumental in the planning and renovation of the current cosmetology instructional facility on the Ayers Campus. She has served on statewide cosmetology committees and participated as a presenter at the Alabama Community College Association Annual Conference.
The Beverly Hill Exceptional Achievement in Teaching Award for the Health Services Division was presented to Ann Tucker Wheeler, clinical coordinator and instructor of the clinical laboratory technology program. Beverly Hill was a nursing instructor at Gadsden State in the 1980′s and during that time she developed curriculum, programs and projects for the emergency medical services program. Wheeler, who resides in Hokes Bluff, has been an instructor at the college since 2004 and according to student evaluations is always supportive and compassionate. In addition to classroom lectures and teaching lab skills, Wheeler coordinates the clinical experiences of students traveling to five clinical agencies within our service area and consults with clinical instructors at these agencies concerning student performance.
The Pierce Cain Exceptional Achievement in Teaching Award was presented to Kelley Haynes Pearce, coordinator of the McClellan Center. This award honors Pierce Cain, the founding president of Harry M. Ayers State Technical College which is now the Ayers Campus of Gadsden State. Pearce, a resident of Jacksonville, has been employed at Gadsden State for 12 years where she has taught computer science and history. “Students and their success are my highest priority,” Pearce said. She is also active in the community and is the chairperson for Leadership Calhoun County Higher Education Day.
A committee of faculty and administrators recognized as experts in the field of community college instruction reviewed the nominations and selected the honorees.