Five from PCC Receive NISOD Recognition

Five PCC faculty and staff members received 2020 NISOD Excellence Awards. They are: (top row, left to right) Charles Newkirk, Kenneth Pearce and Ken Peel. (Bottom row, l-r) Pauline Simonowich and Rusty Sugg.

WINTERVILLE—The National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) has recognized five Pitt Community College faculty and staff members for outstanding achievement.

According to PCC Director of Teaching and Learning Happy Gingras, instructors Charles Newkirk, Kenneth Pearce, Pauline Simonowich and Rusty Sugg joined staff member Ken Peel in receiving 2020 NISOD Excellence Awards. She said the medallions were to be presented during NISOD’s annual professional development conference this spring, but the event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gingras, who is also Pitt’s Perkins Grant coordinator, said the five honorees were nominated for NISOD recognition because they received awards from PCC during the 2019-20 academic year. Pearce, she said, was the college’s 2020 Joseph E. Downing Award for Excellence in Teaching recipient, while Newkirk, Peel, Simonowich and Sugg earned PCC Innovation and Excellence Awards for their creative teaching efforts.

“Receiving a NISOD Excellence Award is a significant honor, one that shines a positive light on Pitt Community College and its employees,” said PCC President Lawrence Rouse. “I’d like to congratulate these five outstanding professionals on their achievement and thank them for thinking outside the box to come up with fresh approaches to connecting with students and keeping them engaged in course content that is interesting and relevant to their future careers.”

Newkirk has been a PCC welding instructor for the past six years. He said he was honored to receive NISOD recognition and was particularly happy with his PCC award, because his students nominated him for it.

“I was very happy to receive both of these awards,” Newkirk said. “But it brought so much joy to my heart knowing that my students thought enough of my contributions as their instructor to put me up for a PCC Innovation and Excellence Award.”

Pearce, a chemistry instructor, is now 10 years into his teaching career, including five with PCC. He said he tried his hand at four different occupations before discovering his true calling.

“I was grateful to be recognized for the commitment and enthusiasm I have for my students and the community,” he said. “… Being a college instructor is by far the most fun and satisfying of all the careers I have had.”

Simonowich has been a PCC faculty member a total of 15 years. She teaches a combination of Developmental Studies, Associate in General Education, Transitional Studies and Human Services Technology courses.

“It is such an honor to be recognized [by NISOD] with this award,” Simonowich said. “I can truly say that I love my work at PCC and am humbled to have the opportunity to work among so many creative and talented people. To be able to share in our students’ educational journeys is such a blessing.”

Sugg, a 1994 graduate of PCC’s Respiratory Therapy (RT) program, began teaching at his alma mater in 2001. The N.C. Society for Respiratory Care’s “Educator of the Year” in 2009, he took over as RT program director in 2017.

“I was very humbled and honored to receive this prestigious [NISOD] award,” Sugg said. “It has always been my mission to promote student learning and excellence both inside and outside the classroom. Pitt Community College has given me this great opportunity to make a real impact on the lives of our future health care providers.”

Peel has worked in PCC’s Distance Learning and Instructional Technology Department for the past 11 years. He says his job as content creation specialist is to provide innovative ways for instructors to deliver quality content to students through distance education.

“I am honored to receive the NISOD award, and I will continue to support our instructors with regard to their ideas for delivering online instruction,” Peel said. “It’s a team effort that I am proud to be part of.”

A product of The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education, NISOD is dedicated to promoting academic excellence and leadership at the nation’s community and technical colleges. The organization has provided professional development programming for community college faculty, staff and administrators for more than 40 years.