Ashley Hagler receives the 2017 NCCCS Excellence in Teaching Award
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Ashley Hagler receives the 2017 NCCCS Excellence in Teaching Award

Gaston College’s Ashley Hagler receives the Excellence in Teaching Award from the N.C. State Board of Community Colleges

The State Board of Community Colleges has named Ashley Hagler as the winner of its 2017 Excellence in Teaching Award. Hagler is the SPARC3 Director, Director of Undergraduate Research, Hagler Ashley PhotoBiology Instructor and Biology Coordinator at Gaston College, and was the overall winner of the 2016 Faculty Excellence Award at the College. As the winner of the local award, she was eligible for the Excellence in Teaching Award.

The Excellence in Teaching Award, sponsored by R.J. Reynolds, provides statewide recognition of faculty members who exemplify the highest quality and standards of instruction throughout the N.C. Community College System.

Award nominations addressed these criteria:

  • Interactions with students that focus on their successful development as whole persons.
  • Effective classroom environments that result in motivated students and successful learning.
  • Innovations in teaching methods, including the effective use of technology.
  • Professional development activities and experiences that enhance teaching effectiveness.
  • Leadership roles beyond the classroom related to the practice and profession of teaching.
  • Past recognition and awards received as a faculty member.
  • Overall consistent and excellent job behaviors that exhibit unselfish devotion and significant contributions to student, college, and system success.

After a screening and interview process, The State Board of Community Colleges Excellence in Teaching Committee chooses the five finalists and the award recipient. Hagler learned on January 23 that she had been named the winner of the award. The 2017 Excellence in Teaching Award will be presented to her at a ceremony at Gaston College on a date to be announced.

Hagler began teaching Biology at Gaston College in 2007. Since then, she has been deeply involved in positive changes in the Arts and Science division. “Ashley’s hard work and dedication to excellence in education here at Gaston College and across the nation, through partnerships with the Council for Undergraduate Research, the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative, and the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Science Education, has been recognized yet again,” said Melissa Armstrong, Chair of the Gaston College Department of Science and Math. “As her supervisor and friend, I am so very proud of her. As she reaches for excellence, she inspires excellence in all she encounters. From a redesigned classroom, to undergraduate research, to field methods and workshops that had me wading in a creek, she has inspired me to be the very best instructor I can be.”

Among Hagler’s activities at Gaston College are the coordination of the SPARC3 program, which gives students the opportunity for intensive hands-on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) instruction, and coordination of the SPARC3 Professional Development Conference for college and high school faculty; leading the Science Department through PULSE (Partnership for Undergraduate Life Science Education) certification of the Life Science curriculum; and being a key member of the team that won the prestigious Bellwether Award for outstanding and innovative programs in 2016.

“It was a true honor to be Gaston College’s Instructor of the year in 2016, and to even be considered for the Excellence in Teaching Award at the state level,” said Hagler. “It was beyond my wildest hopes that I could win there, and it definitely floored me when I got the announcement. I know that I did not do this on my own—it has been a team effort. I am so proud to work at Gaston College, where the spirit of innovation is alive, there is a true culture of scholarship, and there is overwhelming support.”

As the Excellence in Teaching Award recipient, Hagler will receive $8,000 and a plaque, and the Gaston College Foundation will receive $2,000 on behalf of R.J. Reynolds.

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