For putting the needs of their students first…for their contributions to college and community…for their work that helps
other instructors…VCCS faculty members from across the state were honored at the New Horizons Conference in Roanoke. Emceed by Brightpoint Community College VP of Learning and Student Success Bill Fiege and co-presented with VCCS Interim Chancellor Sharon Morrissey, the awards banquet March 29 was one of the highlights of this year’s conference.
Tidewater Community College English professor Thomas Geary was recognized as winner of the 2023 Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Geary helped students create a college newspaper at TCC, edits the VCCS peer-reviewed journal Inquiry, and has boosted course affordability by adopting open-access no-cost educational materials versus costly textbooks. Geary was also recognized by SCHEV as one of Virginia’s outstanding faculty members in 2022.
The New Horizons event also honored two outstanding VCCS adjunct faculty members with the George Vaughan
Award. Germanna Community College Adjunct Instructor for Health and Exercise Science Tracy Bowman is seen with Dr. Morrissey.
Also recognized, Dr. Valerie Philbrick-DeBrava, Rappahannock Community College Adjunct Instructor of Philosophy and English, who was unable to attend the banquet.
Excellence in Education (EIE) Awards were conferred to college teams, spotlighting ideas and innovations that help improve student outcomes across the system. The recognitions focused on several categories.
Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale Center for Contemplative Practice (ACCP) was recognized in the field
of communication. The ACCP assists faculty, staff, and students in bringing mindful, non-violent perspectives to their personal and professional communication. Receiving the award were ACCP Founding coordinators, Drs. Cheri Lemieux Spiegel, Professor of English, and Paul Fitzgerald, Professor of Biology.
Two EIE Awards were conferred to faculty members who had implemented High Impact Practices to improve instruction and student success. Northern Virginia Community College History Professor Alicia Tucker was recognized for piloting hyflex classes to remove campus barriers, creating new interactive digital resources to help students access historical events and fostering a teaching environment based on kindness and trust to boost student engagement.
Two instructors from Germanna Community College were recognized for their efforts to make upper-level biology courses more widely available to VCCS students statewide. Assistant biology professors Todd Callan and Julia Hamel realized that combining elements of existing biology courses and adding additional lab and experimental components would match the expectations of Virginia’s four-year institutions and improve student transfer success.
Cynthia Hatch, Northern Virginia Community College Associate Director of Business, TESOL and ESL, was recognized with an Excellence in Education award in Workforce Development. Hatch has led NOVA’s multi-layered program to prepare non-native English speakers for success in the college’s Certified Nurse Aid program, thus helping the region’s burgeoning immigrant population earn valuable industry-recognized credentials.
Ben Sherman, Business Program Coordinator at Germanna Community College, was honored for his leadership in the field of financial aid. Sherman has worked with businesses in his region to support
Germanna’s Core Craft Skills NCCER credential course for inmates at a local jail and correctional center, giving them skills that can help them succeed after release.
Finally, while it wasn’t a formal award listed on the program, faculty leaders did not want the evening to end without taking a moment to recognize Dr. Sharon Morrissey for her leadership as Interim VCCS Chancellor.
NOVA History Professor Charlie Errico, chair of the Chancellor’s Faculty Advisory Committee, surprised Dr. Morrissey with a floral bouquet as the awards banquet was drawing to a close.
Dr. Morrissey has held the post since last July, providing a steady hand and allowing our State Board to conduct its search for the new permanent VCCS Chancellor, Dr. David Doré, who began his duties at the beginning of April.
You can view and download photos from the 2023 New Horizons Conference.