Center for Teaching and Learning News and Updates

Excellence in Teaching Award Recipients

Congratulations to our 2013-2014

Excellence in Teaching Award Recipients

Carol Beaver, Nursing
Full-Time Excellence in Teaching Award Recipient

Tabelech Shipp, Physical Sciences
Part-Time Excellence in Teaching Award Recipient

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2014 Summer Institute Dates

Save the Date!

2014 Summer Institute

May 27 – 30

More details to come…

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2013 Summer Institute Registration is Open!

Registration for the 2013 Summer Institute is now open!


Register Today!

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Summer Institute Dates

Save the Date!

2013 Summer Institute

May 29th & 30th

More details to come…

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You’re Invited!

Las Abuelas

Join us for a screening of the documentary, Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo and the Search for Identity, followed by a conversation with the producer, UNC Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication professor C.A. Tuggle.

When: Thursday, April 25 • 5-6:30 p.m.
Where: Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Building at the NC Research Campus, Room 115

UNC Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication professor C.A. Tuggle has won an international Indie Award of Excellence for his documentary film “Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo and the Search for Identity.”

This documentary tells the story of Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, an Argentinian human rights organization of grandmothers committed to finding their lost grandchildren, who they believe were stolen by their country’s government some 30 years ago. At least 10,000 — and some estimate as many as 30,000 — dissidents of the military dictatorship were kidnapped, tortured and killed during Argentina’s Dirty War from 1976-1983. Those kidnapped became known as Los Desaparecidos
or “the disappeared.”

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CTL Blackboard Site Update

The CTL Blackboard site has been updated and now contains 2012 Summer Institute presentation materials as well as access information for Magna 20 Minute Mentor and Magna Commons. We’re adding resources on a regular basis, so check in often!

To log into Blackboard, use the quick link at the top of the page.



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2012 Summer Institute registration is open.

Week One Registration (May 21 – May 25)

Week Two Registration (May 29 – June 1)

Week Three Registration (June 4-8)

For more information on the sessions review the session descriptions.


Registration is for planning purposes. This is important in order to provide a preliminary headcount, as well as compensation estimates for non 12-month faculty employees.

If you need to adjust your registration after submitting, please access the registration form again, enter your contact information, then update only the session(s) that need to be changed/added. You DO NOT need to reselect all previously selected sessions .

Attendance will be taken at each session and your name must be recorded on the roster in order to receive credit for attending.

Please Note: As with all conferences, unforeseen circumstances (weather, travel disruptions, etc.) may arise and the schedule may be affected. If you register for a session that is impacted by an unexpected event, we will notify you via the email you provided during registration.

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2012 Summer Institute: Call for Proposals

The 2012 Summer Institute will be held May 21 – June 8.

The theme of this year’s institute is Inspiring Success. What characteristics define success? How can we inspire our students to succeed both inside and outside of the classroom? The program will host a variety of sessions that will motivate, encourage and provide the tools needed for inspiring success.

Call for Proposals

All RCCC faculty are invited to submit presentation proposals for the 2012 Summer Institute. The deadline for submitting proposals is Monday, April 30th at 3 p.m.

For more information visit the Summer Institute webpage.

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Writing Across the Curriculum at RCCC

On Oct. 17 and 18, 2011, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College took yet another step toward implementing Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) as a significant measure to increase student success through engaged teaching and learning practices.

The Center for Teaching and Learning, along with the English department, served as co-hosts to Dr. Linda Best, Writing Across the Curriculum expert from Kean University.  Two separate meetings, which occurred on North and South campuses, collected program heads from across the college to participate in numerous stations designed to demonstrate how WAC is intended to work. According to Ginger Fox, director of the Writing Center, “the activity stations were a good way to let the faculty know more about what WAC is through a hands-on approach. The participants found the activities to be both enjoyable and beneficial in increasing their understanding of WAC.”

Throughout the two-day training, Dr. Best noted that, through WAC initiatives, RCCC transfer students would become far more capable of meeting the writing-intensive course work awaiting them at four-year institutions. She also pointed out that WAC would better prepare RCCC’s graduating workforce to face their real-world writing experiences and, in turn, make them more competitive, productive employees.

As Dr. Best has constantly reminded attendees, “Writing Across the Curriculum will not happen overnight.  It will require much participation from all involved, especially instructors and students in every division and department.” 
To add a little extra incentive and excitement to each day, participants registered for the opportunity to add a new tool to their repertoire:  two Kindles were made available to assist the read-write connections inherent in WAC activities. Instructors receiving a Kindle were thrilled and eager to begin using the tool for better reading, writing and student-engagement purposes in their respective disciplines.

Sherylle Smith, history instructor from the South Campus meeting, reported that she is grateful for the Kindle for several reasons – one of which is that she can now download texts directly to this device and take it anywhere to prep for lessons rather than hauling around huge textbooks.  Mrs. Smith also added that her students are “often happy to have the choice of reading from tech devices rather than text [books], and the dictionary feature will hopefully encourage vocabulary building.”

In addition, Mrs. Smith spoke about the implementation of Writing Across the Curriculum at RCCC:  “I started using WAC about a decade ago. Writing gives students the opportunity to express arguments, critical thinking, and ideas beyond material covered in exams. Portfolios allow students to showcase their work at the end of the semester.”

Betty Stack, who serves as the English department director, stated, “Writing Across the Curriculum is wonderful! There are many great things which will come to the college, with total implementation. I believe Dr. Linda Best’s presence has set the stage for this,” and as far as the Kindle is concerned — “I love it!”

Overall, the Writing Across the Curriculum meetings from October can be considered successful.  The CTL met its goal of producing quality training opportunities for faculty by introducing (and in some cases, re-introducing) WAC to Rowan-Cabarrus program chairs and many interested faculty who attended.  These training sessions also served to light the long pathway ahead by bringing WAC into a working reality for Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.  As Dr. Best has constantly reminded attendees, “Writing Across the Curriculum will not happen overnight.  It will require much participation from all involved, especially instructors and students in every division and department.” The WAC benefits for RCCC’s students, both for transfers and for those who go immediately into the workforce, are definitely beyond measure, Ms. Kirby agrees:  “With continued administrative support and faculty commitment, the benefits of WAC as a curriculum “add-on” are surely within our reach.  We are looking forward to seeing positive results in our students’ learning outcomes, and we know part of that success begins with a strong WAC foundation.”

The Center for Teaching and Learning is eager and ready to support all faculty who are committed to increasing students’ learning outcomes through WAC.  Additional WAC-related activities in collaboration with Writing Center Director, Ginger Fox, occurred in November 2011, and more are expected to follow.  We encourage all faculty to participate in the building and reinforcement of WAC.

For information on how to get involved, contact Cassie Plott or Betty Stack, who presently co-chair the WAC Committee.

Cassie Plott
Instructor in English[+]
  • Liberal Arts and General Education
  • Academic Programs

Betty Stack
Associate Dean in Liberal Arts and General Education[+]
  • Academic Programs

For more information on Dr. Linda Best and the WAC initiative follow view her WAC brochure.

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Spotlight on Summer Institute

Co-Authored by Brenda Mauldin, Part-time English Faculty and CTL Faculty Developer, and LaNita Kirby, English Faculty and CTL Director

By all accounts, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s first annual Summer Institute was a huge success.  Offering five weeks of immersive faculty professional development—covering topics on  grading and assessment, active learning and technology, Paideia Seminar  and NTA Tutor Certification training, plus active learning and stress management for students and faculty–the new Center for Teaching and Learning indeed made “a big splash,” according to LaNita Kirby, Director for the CTL.

What was the recipe for such a successful beginning?  It was a combination of great teamwork and loads of determination:  “We embraced the challenge of the unprecedented, and we simply worked hard to deliver it.  We were committed to the project, all the way.   Staff support combined with faculty enthusiasm and administrative backing allowed us to follow this recipe to make the CTL’s first professional development summer institute come together.”

toddTo corral such a superb lineup of noteworthy presenters from all over the state and nation and to provide just-in-time, high-quality professional development sessions to attendees, Ms. Kirby realized early on that someone incredibly inspiring had to start the show.  So she chose someone special, a gentleman who had a great reputation for captivating teaching and learning audiences nationwide:  Dr. Todd Zakrajsek (“Dr. Z”).  Bringing contagious energy and intellectual prowess to the room, Dr. Todd Zakrajsek created an open, approachable, fun atmosphere with his keynote address “Adult Development and Student Success.”  And so began the RCCC faculty’s summer journey to become better teachers by learning from the some of the state and nation’s best practitioners.

All totaled, over 50 sessions focusing on nearly every imaginable topic related to teaching and learning strategies were offered, and each session was designed to assist every RCCC faculty member to help every student be successful.
All totaled, over 50 sessions focusing on nearly every imaginable topic related to teaching and learning strategies were offered, and each session was designed to assist every RCCC faculty member to help every student be successful.  It was no accident then that “Keys to Student Success” became the theme of the 2011 Summer Institute.  Creating better learning environments for student success, designing more effective online and seated courses, considering ADA compliance matters, and building greater assessments and learning outcomes, these “keys to student success” reminded the summer institute’s attendees that RCCC is in the business of building people.  Through that repeated motif, and from post-institute survey data, we believe we’re off to a great beginning.  But again, we have Dr. Z to thank for giving us such a terrific head start to our own great new beginning.

By his example of encouragement and enthusiasm, RCCC teachers learned what it means to model curiosity about learning in front of their students.  By his intrigue with statistics and how the brain works, Dr. Z shared his passion for teaching.  For all who saw him in action, Dr. Z’s passion was contagious.  Frequently, CTL staff observed instructors sharing best practices amongst themselves, learning from one another’s anecdotes and teaching tips, and relishing delightfully when a new top-secret success tool was picked up in overheard dialogues occurring during one of many cookies and coffee breaks. While we saw no one but Todd Z performing actual magic tricks, we have reason to believe that today there’s a great deal of magic going on in RCCC’s classrooms.

Our hope is that our students will feel as engaged in our classes as we were in Todd’s.  Making our learning environments warm, approachable, personable, and memorable, we aim to fulfill the promise of Dr. Z’s second presentation by “Overcoming Apathy in the Classroom.”  Doing whatever it takes to engage and retain our students, and to make them hungry for more, we will continue to be mindful of these critical keys to our students’ success.  “We are on board at the CTL and across the college to make it happen, “ Kirby believes.  She’s not alone in her beliefs, though.  Judging from the reactions of the Summer Institute’s attendees, Dr. Todd Zakrajsek was quite possibly “the ideal speaker for the opening keynote address,” according to Debra NeeSmith, Dean of Educational Resources.  From him and our other speakers, we re-learned fundamental truths about the art of teaching:  high expectations for academic rigor, devotion to personal responsibility and professional development, and keeping an audience engaged.  Most important of all, we learned again what it means to be a great teacher whose love for learning is inspiring, contagious, and definitely worth coming back [to class] for.  According to several attendees’ comments,  Dr. Z’s enthusiasm was “contagious and invigorating, … his techniques … engaging.”  He was also described as a “dynamic and energetic” speaker who brought “practical and useful information to our faculty in his short time with us.”

Yes, Dr. Z is definitely someone we would love to have with us again—either right away, or next summer, when we aim even higher by hosting the second annual RCCC Center for Teaching and Learning  Summer Institute.  So clear your calendars, RCCC faculty, for the return of the one and only, Dr. Z!*


*Dr. Todd Zakrajsek teaches Psychology and serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence at UNC Chapel Hill.   Additional information about the content of his presentations is available at www.ideacenter.org, where he is a regular contributor and participant in making teaching excellence a reality all teachers can achieve.

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