A Summary Listing of Faculty Activities at Colleges Around the Nation
Penny Womack, an adult education instructor at Georgia Piedmont Technical College, was recently named runnerup for Outstanding Teacher of the Year by the Coalition on Adult Basic Education, a national organization promoting adult literacy and education. “Penny Womack’s commitment to adult education and her willingness to go above and beyond by spending extra time to assure her students succeed has been recognized nationally by COABE,” said Jabari Simama, president of GPTC. “She is the type of instructor, teacher, and mentor that we value at Georgia Piedmont, and her work ethic is exemplary,” he said. Womack began teaching adult education courses at Georgia Piedmont in 2014. “Teaching is my passion,” she said. “I especially enjoy instructing adults who have learned the value of an education,” Womack said. Her commitment to her students goes beyond the classroom, since she often emails, texts and video chats with students outside regular classroom hours to help them grasp concepts they may not have learned during class. A math teacher, Womack helps lowincome students and refugees as they pursue their GED credential.
A revolutionary educational partnership between Pitt Community College (N.C.) and China’s Wuxi Institute of Technology has come to an end 11 years after it was once thought to be a long shot. On the morning of June 23, in a second-floor lecture hall on the WXIT campus 75 miles northwest of Shanghai, 62 students participated in graduation, including 43 who earned associate degrees in Mechanical Engineering Technology from PCC. Another 53 Global Manufacturing certificates from Pitt were awarded during the ceremony, along with commemorative medallions crafted by PCC Computer Integrated Machining students. Representing PCC that day were Dan Mayo, dean of public services and fine arts and Student Support Manager/ PCC Global Director Amelia Martin. Mayo, who accepted an achievement award on behalf of Pitt during the ceremony, wished the graduates well and thanked WXIT, a premier three-year technical college with a full-time enrollment of 11,000, for more than a decade of support and assistance. Mayo said the partnership was also successful due to strong support from PCC leadership, the N.C. Community College System, Community Colleges for International Development, and UNC-Chapel Hill’s World View program. He noted that all of the costs associated with the collaboration, including travel, housing, instruction, supplies and administrative fees, were covered by WXIT. “PCC was the first U.S. community college to offer this type of joint degree program, and we’re certainly proud to be pioneers in such a venture,” Mayo said last week. “This was a team effort by many at both institutions.” It was Mayo who rallied support for the PCC-WXIT alliance in 2006. During a tour of China sponsored by World View, he met with Wuxi administrators to explore the possibility of an agreement that would give students at both colleges a chance to experience international education. Upon returning from his visit, Mayo described WXIT as having modern facilities, motivated students, and proud faculty and administrators. He also noted its desire to connect with American colleges. “I was certainly excited about the prospect of a partnership with WXIT, but I was also cautiously optimistic,” Mayo recalls.
“I was well aware that a project of this scale was unprecedented and would present many challenges.” Several months after Mayo’s meeting, a four-member delegation from Wuxi toured PCC as they gathered information on the American educational system. Mayo said that several U.S. and international colleges, in addition to Pitt, were seeking to partner with WXIT, which ranks sixth among China’s 1,300 vocational schools. “It seemed a long shot that a small community college in eastern North Carolina, with limited international experience, would partner with such a big institution in China,” Mayo said. He added that Pitt’s programming strength, quality instructors and overall atmosphere eventually led to a second Wuxi visit in March 2008. That meeting resulted in the framework for a cooperative agreement regarding mechanical engineering training. An associate degree was formalized in 2009, and three years later, the PCC- WXIT partnership passed an important milestone, when 35 students from the Chinese vocational school received degrees and/or certificates from PCC. Wearing blue caps and gowns like their counterparts in North Carolina, the graduates participated in a special commencement ceremony on the WXIT campus that featured the playing of both the Chinese and U.S. national anthems. Over the next five years, PCC would end up awarding more than 350 degrees and certificates to Wuxi graduates and hosting 30 WXIT faculty, administrators and students for long- and short-term visits. More than 50 students, faculty and staff from Pitt visited, studied and/or interned at WXIT through the partnership. English Department Chair Sue Jefferson and Computer Integrated Machining Coordinator Calvin Mayo were the first PCC faculty members to teach at Wuxi.