Two Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) faculty members were honored at the May 11 commencement ceremony at the college.
Daniel Edwards, instructor of industrial electronics technology, was named the Teaching Faculty Member of the Year. Also, Michelle Zollars, an associate professor of developmental English, was recognized as PHCC Distinguished Faculty of 2019.
The Teaching Faculty Member of the Year is recognized for making a tremendous impact on the campus and in students’ lives, according to a PHCC press release. The honoree receives a $2,000 cash prize and a significant professional development stipend from the Patrick Henry Community College Foundation.
Edwards was instrumental in implementing the mechatronics program at PHCC in 2013. Since the program’s inception, it has grown explosively, issuing more than 300 national certifications, the release stated. For six consecutive years, Edwards’ program has maintained a 100 percent passing rate. Every student that has taken the national industry certification exam has passed.
This past year, Edwards was influential in coordinating the college’s partnership with the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) and Festo. These partnerships have given his students numerous opportunities to gain skills and credentials that are in high demand by local employers. Because of the caliber of the program that Edwards has built, numerous employers from around the region are actively seeking to recruit his graduates.
“Daniel Edwards exemplifies everything that is good about PHCC’s faculty,” said Colin Ferguson, dean of the science technology engineering, math – health and applied programs. “He is there for his students. His graduates are successful. He is fully dedicated to student success. He deserves to be recognized.”
Zollars, the PHCC Distinguished Faculty of 2019, received $750 from the PHCC Foundation for her commitment to student success, according to the press release.
Her role at the college extends well beyond the classroom. From training adjunct faculty members to redesigning policies to increase student engagement, she consistently goes above and beyond to ensure her students and fellow instructors have everything they need to make PHCC an excellent learning environment. the release stated.
PHCC had 535 graduates for the 2018-19 year and about 220 of them marched in the commencement ceremony. There were 800 credentials — degrees and certificates — conferred this year.