Gingras, Jackson Earn Top Employee Awards for ’23
WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College celebrated employee achievements May 1 with a luncheon that featured the presentation of staff and faculty excellence awards.
PCC President Lawrence Rouse said the program was a chance to honor faculty and staff for their efforts to serve students with excellence. The event, he said, highlighted the importance of each employee doing his or her part to help the college succeed.
“It is fitting our employee appreciation program took place at the conclusion of ‘Community College Month,’” Rouse said. “Throughout April, people across the nation took notice of the work being done at America’s community colleges. On May 1, PCC administrators took a moment to recognize and thank faculty and staff on our campus for everything they’ve done to prepare the region’s workforce and help people better their life’s circumstances through higher education.”
The 2023 Joan and Ed Warren Staff Employee of the Year Award — the top honor for PCC staff members — was presented to Happy Gingras, Senior Director of Teaching & Learning. She was one of five Staff Excellence Award recipients eligible for the Warren Award, along with Student Success Advisor Clark Howerton, Administrative Assistant Elizabeth Midyette, Marketing Director Jane Power and Director of Student Engagement & Leadership Danielle Ruffin.
In announcing Gingras as this year’s Warren Award recipient, PCC Director of Human Resources Operations Kerry Bruner cited her networking capabilities, teamwork, and quality customer service. She also noted her ‘can-do’ attitude, willingness to serve on campus committees, and assistance she provides new employees.
“(Happy) finds ways to relate to a diverse group of people and takes time to explain things, so they are understandable,” Bruner said. “She works with different departments to put together opportunities that will benefit all faculty, staff, and the college as a whole.”
Gingras, who started at PCC in 2005 and worked in a variety of roles at the college before accepting her current position in 2017, has implemented a Customer Service Leadership Academy at Pitt, helped faculty members achieve Quality Matters Certification, and assisted the PCC Police Department with arranging active shooter training for faculty and staff. She oversees Pitt’s Perkins Grant funding and distance learning initiatives, and she is working with the college’s Human Resources Department on succession planning training and micro-credentialing for supervisory leadership.
“I am honored to receive this award, but I could not do what I do without all of the talented people I work with,” Gingras said. “So, I say thanks to each of you, and I would like to send extra appreciation to my Distance Learning/Teaching and Learning team and the Curriculum and Instruction Division led by Lori Preast.”
Five instructors—Melissa Brinkley (Child Development), Pat Jackson (University Transfer/Foreign Language Department Chair), Kelli Johnston (Business) and Ashley Weir (Nursing)—received Faculty Excellence Awards. From the group, Jackson was chosen as this year’s recipient of the Joseph E. Downing Award for Excellence in Teaching, which is the top honor for faculty members.
In supporting Jackson for the Downing Award, one of her students said she was “one of the best professors I have ever had.” The student noted Jackson’s willingness to assist those she teaches in the classroom and outside of class.
“She is an amazing teacher, and she goes in-depth during her class, allowing for a greater understanding of the course,” the student wrote. “I would recommend her to everyone I know, and I firmly believe that she deserves this award.”
For Jackson, teaching entails interactions that help students develop educationally and personally.
“In teaching, academics is important, but I want to see my student as a ‘person’ who needs my guidance and support in all areas of their lives,” Jackson said. “When a student is connected and engaged, they have the opportunity to be successful both in the classroom and grow in their personal lives.”
This year’s employee appreciation program also featured college administrators presenting service awards to 53 employees with a combined 680 years of service to PCC.