Portraits of Jessica Fowler and Laura Collander, Excellence in Teaching Award Winners

SALISBURY, N.C. – Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has recognized two instructors as its 2022-2023 Excellence in Teaching award recipients. The awards recognize superior faculty members who exceed expected levels of instruction and elevate educational excellence and student success.

Jessica Fowler, a full-time math instructor, and Laura Collander, a part-time English instructor, received the awards.

“We are so proud of Jessica Fowler and Laura Collander for their dedication to excellence in serving our students,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is committed to providing the highest quality instruction, and these awards recognize the best of the best.”

Fowler holds a Master of Arts in Mathematics Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics with a minor in Education, both from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has taught math for 14 years, eight of those at Rowan-Cabarrus. Before joining the mathematics department at Rowan-Cabarrus, she taught at Albemarle High School in Stanly County and Jay M. Robinson High School in Cabarrus County.

“I love teaching and enjoy challenging, motivating and inspiring my students daily,” Fowler said. “I chose to become a math teacher because I wanted to show others that math can be fun and exciting. I strive to create a positive learning environment where students feel comfortable asking questions and collaborating with their peers.”

Fowler resides in Midland, N.C., with her husband, Hank, and eight-year-old twin daughters. She enjoys spending time with her family, spoiling her pets, buying new pens, and visiting the beach.

Collander began her teaching career in 1997 in Boston after earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in English at Marist College and her Master of Education degree from Lesley University. She then taught fifth grade in Massachusetts before moving to Colorado to teach middle school, and eventually became a literacy coach for the Jefferson County School District. When her first son was born, her family decided to move to North Carolina to be closer to grandparents. She spent her early years in North Carolina as a private tutor and taught Composition and Writing Inquiry at UNC Charlotte before making the switch back to K-12 at the Community School of Davidson. In 2020, Collander joined the Rowan-Cabarrus English department, where she teaches Developmental Writing.

“I am so honored to be selected for this award, and I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the success of students at Rowan-Cabarrus,” she said. “I love collaborating with my colleagues and students to bring out my students’ authentic voices as writers.”

Collander lives in Concord on a small horse farm with her husband and two sons.

The Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Excellence in Teaching Award provides a way to recognize faculty members who consistently demonstrate excellence in teaching, dedication to student success and the mission of the College, and whose contributions go beyond the standard expectations.

Students initiate the nomination process for the award annually by recommending their top instructors. Final nominees submit an extensive portfolio, letters of recommendation and complete an unannounced, filmed observation.

For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).