Smith named top instructor at Isothermal

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, May 26, 2016

Loreen Smith, an English instructor at Isothermal Community College,

Loreen Smith

Loreen Smith

earned the institution’s highest teaching honor this month. The 2016 Robert Wendell Eaves Distinguished Teaching Award was presented to Smith by Walter Dalton, Isothermal’s president, at the annual commencement exercises last Monday evening.

Smith was nominated by several of her students. One of the students noted Smith’s “sense of humor and great personality.” Several students cited her ability to “interact with students and provide necessary resources to succeed in the classroom,” along with an “intense dedication and a highly effective approach to teaching.” Smith’s peers also recognized those qualities.

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During the selection process, it was noted again and again that her excitement and ownership exhibited in the learning environment equate to a singular passion.

During the deliberation process, each candidate submits a data sheet with information for the selection committee to consider. In the nominee data sheet, Smith noted that she has worked across many areas of the college during her eight-year tenure at Isothermal with one goal in mind: student success.

She described herself as “problem solver, supporter, innovator, enforcer, team player, and teacher in and out of the classroom toward that common goal: an advocate for our students to triumph in their aspirations.”

“Loreen takes great pride in what she teaches and creates as well as how she offers methods for student learning as she is an essential part of the college culture, which is always what is best for the students and their successes,” said Dalton as he presented the award.

Smith started her education career in the high school classroom. After a decade, she moved to the college classroom at Spartanburg Community College for two years before coming to Isothermal in 2008. She has been nominated for the Eaves Award since 2009 and was one of three finalists last year.

Smith has served on multiple campus committees, teams and task forces. However, her ownership of one has truly set her apart.

“This is the Peer 2 Peer Mentoring Program that has evolved out of a peer mentoring effort started at REaCH six years ago,” said Dalton. “This program provides student mentors for many of our other students, focusing on understanding and applying: campus resources, goal setting, academic planning, academic skills, and successful transfer. This program has become an exemplary example of a clear path to what tonight’s recipient aspires to facilitate: student success.”

As one of the nominating students said, Smith “will continue to be a shining light for all students who are lucky enough to have her touch their lives.”

The Robert Wendell Eaves Distinguished Teaching Award is given each year to an instructor who demonstrates excellence in teaching and a true zeal for service to students. It was established by the Eaves family in 1982 to honor the late Dr. Robert Wendell Eaves and his distinguished career in education.

Dr. Eaves’ philosophy and credo on the importance of teaching was simple: “A zeal for service is the first requirement of professionalization. Without a zeal for service, our efforts as educators are void and helpless.  We cannot expect remuneration commensurate with our achievements. Our remuneration comes largely from the joy of seeing people grow strong, useful and intelligent. This is the best life has to offer. No greater life can anyone live.”

Each year, the recipient is selected by a committee composed of past award recipients from nominations submitted by students, alumni, college personnel and members of the general public. Any full-time employee of Isothermal who spends at least 25 percent of his or her time on the job in teaching is eligible for the award.

Past winners have included Ruth Boehning, Vivian Sitton, Clara Fowler, Chris Koone, Carol Jones, Pete Golden, Aubrey Calton, Bill McDaniel, Dean Byrd, Gary Shipley, Mike Croussore, Lowery Luckadoo, Jay Coomes, Rhonda Davis, Cathy Alexander, Debbie Puett, Scott Bradey, Jeremiah Councill, Donna Harrison, Tim Beaver, Brett Parker, Amber Thompson, Melissa Johnson, Nathan Fisher and last year’s winner, Scott Hutchins.

The other Eaves finalists this year were Dale Gaddis and Marissa Sudano.

– article submitted
by Mike Gavin