Posted on Thursday, April 17, 2014
VCCS New Horizons 2014

April 9-11 saw the sun shining, spring flowers blooming, and approximately 900 VCCS faculty, staff and administrators arriving at the historic Hotel Roanoke in Roanoke, Virginia. New Horizons 2014 may break attendance records, with just under 900 registrants, 180 hours of professional development programming, 18 hours of hands-on computer lab training, 12 Excellence in Education Award presentations, 32 exhibitors, and 10 Live-streaming sessions. The opening session brought attendees to their feet, as Dr. Adolph Brown wowed the audience with his message, “We’ve Gotta Reach Em’ to Teach Em!” With music, motivation, and a profound message, the keynote address inspired, ignited, and excited the audience, demonstrating how the connective capacity of good educators leads to student success and retention. Attendees also met the new VCCS Director of Faculty Development, Dr. Abigail Stonerock, whose Office of Professional Development organizes and hosts the event, and who honored the many contributors who make the event a resounding success.

There were lots of buzz-worthy items this year:  The 2013 OER grant recipients who were recognized by the chancellor for breaking new ground and paving the way for 2014; the live-steaming sessions for those who could not attend; the use of QR codes for assessing sessions; the ability to create your own personalized schedule from the New Horizon’s webpage; the fact that for the first time, we needed three hotels and a shuttle running between them to accommodate all of the attendees; and of course, the candied bacon!

Of particular note this year was the buzz about the quality of the sessions. Professional development seems to be on everyone’s minds, and New Horizons provides the perfect venue for continuing faculty professional development. There was also a large turnout this year to support the Excellence in Education Award finalists. Each year at New Horizons, The Excellence in Education (EIE) Awards program finalists are showcased and celebrated. Finalists are given the opportunity to share ideas and innovations that contribute to student success and the directives of Achieve 2015. Judges assess each project before and during the conference, and award recipients are announced at the culminating event, the EIE Awards Banquet. The 2014 award recipients are:

Best Practices in Teaching Face-to-Face, Online and Student Success

1st Place:

The “Z Degree”: Removing Textbook Costs as a Barrier to Student Success Through an OER-Based Curriculum

Diane Ryan, Tidewater Community College

Team  Members: Linda Williams, Lisa Carter, Sean Lacroix, Pamela Dale, Debra Porter, Okema Bowers, Lynnette Hauser, Natalia Kuznetsova, Maura Lansing, Elizabeth Lohman, Lynn Rainard, and Darlene Stoll

Administrators:  Kimberly Bovee, Daniel DeMarte

2nd Place:

In Their Steps

Stephen Walker, Southside Virginia Community College

Improving Student Success ─ Institutional

1st Place:

Learning to Communicate

Teresa  Galyean, Wytheville Community College

Team Members: Kent Glindemann, Tracy McAfee, Elaine Smith, Lorrie Coe-Meade, and Patsy Muncy

2nd Place:

CDL001: Orientation to Learning Online

Ghazala Hashmi, Reynolds Community College

Team Members: Meg Foster, Marian Macbeth, Denise Woetzel, and David Cloer

Innovative Use of Technology ─ Face-to-Face & Online Classroom

1st Place:


Sandy Stephenson, Southwest Virginia Community College

Team Members: Cherie Aukland, David Webb, Wen Andrews

2nd Place:

Leveraging Blackboard to Introduce New Faculty to Essential Technologies

Kimberly Evans, Reynolds Community College

Team Member:  Kenyada McLeod'

Virginia's Community Colleges

Created more than 50 years ago, the VCCS is comprised of 23 community colleges located on 40 campuses across the commonwealth. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 270,000 students a year in credit and workforce courses.

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