Celebrating Faculty and Staff at TMCC

Photograph of Dandini Campus
Rebecca A. Eckland

TMCC has a long history of celebrating its faculty and staff. There is evidence from student publications in the TMCC Archives that formalized Employee of the Month celebrations were happening as early as 1983. Another article indicates that a formal Employee Awards and Recognition Event happened in May 1989. 

In addition to our long history of recognizing the fine work of our faculty and staff, TMCC is also well-known for its creative solutions to, let’s face it, some pretty tough problems. The current situation challenged our Professional Development team to envision a new kind of event: 2020 will forever be remembered as the first year that TMCC hosted a virtual event. 

“We started discussing this event several months ago,” said Program Manager of Professional Development Cathy Brewster. “The awards and recognition ceremony is always a highlight of the end of the academic year. Since we are not able to get together, we came up with this idea. We have an award-winning videographer, Tim Ill, who is helping put this ceremony together and so we knew this virtual format would be in very capable and talented hands.” 

So, join us in this virtual watch party on TMCC's Facebook page and celebrate your colleagues both near and far. (And hey, this year, offer a toast to the incredible people at TMCC who make it all happen from the safety of your own home.)  If you don’t have a Facebook account, don’t worry!  Read on for important details on how you can join the celebration. 

The Details

Watch your email for a link where you can tune in on Tuesday, May 12 at 3 p.m. The video will be unveiled on TMCC’s YouTube channel.  Before you panic, though, don’t worry: the video is much shorter than our traditional in-person awards ceremony. You will only need to set aside 30 minutes to honor the Classified Employee of the Year Finalists and Winner, Nevada Regents’ Academic Advisor Award, Phi Theta Kappa Teachers of the Year, Adult Basic Education Instructors of the Year, EPIC (Educational Programs Inspiring the Community) Instructors of the Year, the Student Government Association Outstanding Advisors of the Year, Newly Tenured Faculty, and Emeritus Faculty. 

“The new format will be… more personal, less formal and will have short videos from participants,” said Brewster. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at what you can expect from TMCC’s first-ever Virtual Employee Recognition Ceremony. 

Classified Employee of the Year and Finalists

Presented by TMCC Foundation President Jesse Murray, the virtual ceremony kicks off by honoring the finalists of the Classified Employee of the Year Award. Although the winner of the award will receive a monetary stipend from the TMCC Foundation Board of Trustees, every employee mentioned should be proud of the great work they do at TMCC. 

“All of the nominees for the Classified Employee of the Year are all worthy and wonderful,” said Brewster. 

The Classified Employee of the Month Committee—overseen by the Classified Council—recognizes classified employees each month of the year. Monthly nominees are scored based on specific criteria; awardees are those with the highest numeric scores. From these award-winners, the committee selects a single classified employee to be named the Classified Employee of the Year. 

This year’s finalists include: 

  • Amber Anaya
  • Julia Bledsoe
  • Manuela Dobbert
  • Tina May
  • Tamera Mooney
  • Saray Wagner

Tune in to see who was awarded the 2020 Classified Employee of the Year. 

Nevada Regents’ Academic Advisor Award

Established in 1998, the Regents’ Academic Advising Award recognizes outstanding academic student advising. Each year, one award is granted to a community college advisor and two awards to advisors at state colleges or universities. This year, TMCC’s Jennifer Pierce is the recipient of the 2020 award. Regent McMichael will present the award. 

Phi Theta Kappa Teachers of the Year

Each year, TMCC’s chapter of the honor’s society Phi Theta Kappa honors TMCC faculty who demonstrate excellence in the classroom. The awardees are determined through an open voting process in which TMCC students vote for their favorite full-time or part-time instructors. 

This year, the 2020 PTK teachers of the year are: 

  • Scott Holcomb, Full-time faculty, Welding
  • Verla Jackson, Part-time faculty, Anthropology

Adult Basic Education Instructors of the Year

TMCC’s Adult Basic Education program offers opportunities for students of all ages to improve their English language skills, high school equivalency testing, specialty training programs, and transition/career search and placement services. Rain Donohue will be presenting these awards to the following instructors who are recognized for their excellence in the ELL and HSE classrooms:

  • ABE ELL Instructor of the Year: Vicki Spain, teaches ELL 4
  • ABE HSE Instructor of the Year: Angela Verry, teaches HSE Math and ELL Citizenship

EPIC (Educational Programs Inspiring the Community) Instructors of the Year

TMCC’s non-credit, enrichment division, called EPIC (Educational Programs Inspiring the Community) enables students of any age or background to reach their career goals thanks to a variety of accelerated training certificates. The non-credit division also offers self-enrichment classes in a variety of classes that include, but are not limited to: art, gardening, writing, photography, and cooking, etc. Instructors in the EPIC Program are passionate about their subjects and share that excitement with students of all ages and abilities. 

This year, EPIC recognized the following instructors: 

  • Suzanne Adams, who teaches gardening classes
  • Lisa Foster, who teaches How to Make it in Voiceovers

Student Government Association Outstanding Academic Advisors of the Year

TMCC’s SGA honors faculty who serve as advisors to an SGA-recognized club. These faculty go above and beyond to make sure that these student clubs are active and doing meaningful activities. This award will be presented by members of the SGA, honoring these faculty on behalf of the Advisors for the Student Chapter of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians:

  • Meredith Standish
  • Julie McMahon

Faculty Receiving Tenure

Faculty who have been recommended for tenure have undergone a rigorous review process and have demonstrated a high level of expertise and commitment to students are recommended for tenure. This year, there are several faculty who will receive this prestigious milestone, which also includes the title of “Professor.” 

“The conferring of tenure is an important milestone in an academic’s career, and the tenure process is serious and rigorous. Earning tenure is not a fait au compli; tenure is earned, not given. We never want to devalue it, so we see the time and path to tenure as a process of continuous improvement. I am so proud of and impressed by this group of newly tenured faculty,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Marie Murgolo. 

Newly tenured faculty include: 

  • Dr. Amy Cavanaugh, Biology
  • Dr. Hieu Do, Mathematics
  • Dr. Jinger Doe, Biology
  • Ms. Tanja Hayes, Economics
  • Mr. Dan Hooper, Mathematics
  • Dr. Megan Lahti, Biology
  • Dr. Casey Machen, Mathematics
  • Dr. Joylin Namie, Anthropology
  • Ms. Marynia Giren-Navarro, Sociology
  • Mr. Joshua Shinn, English

Emeritus Faculty

Say goodbye to faculty and staff who are retiring in this part of the awards ceremony that honors those who have given significantly through their work in the classroom, scholarship, or another form of service at TMCC.  Emeritus status is an honor awarded to full-time faculty and professional staff who retire or leave the college.  

“Some of those  who received Emeritus status will share a video to say ‘goodbye’ and to show us what emeritus life looks like right now. This might include some beaches in Hawaii,” said Brewster. “This part of the ceremony is lighthearted and fun.” 

Emeritus Faculty for 2020 include:

  • Dr. Kyle Dalpe
  • Dr. Bill Doherty
  • Kurt Hall
  • Dr. Sharon Lowe
  • Randy Miller
  • Michelle Montoya
  • Diane Nicolet
  • Crystal Swank
  • Gary Skibinski
  • Sue Turbow
  • Sharon Wurm

Celebrating More Accomplishments...Together

If you’re wondering: where are the rest of the awards? Don’t worry—we haven’t forgotten them!  When we return to normal campus operations, we are saving a few of these awards so we can celebrate them together. Tentatively, these are scheduled to be announced at the August Kick-Off Event. These awards include: 

  • Classified Employees of the Month
  • Professional Employees of the Month
  • Part-time Faculty Recognition Award
  • Years of Service Awards
  • Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) Faculty Certifications

Additionally, the distinguished faculty and service awards will be presented at the postponed commencement ceremony, which is tentatively scheduled for Friday, September 18. However, we are thrilled to celebrate these award-winners and all of their hard work and dedication to TMCC.

Model Dairy TMCC Faculty Excellence Service Award Winners:

  • YeVonne Allen
  • Cheryl Scott

TMCC Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award Winners: 

  • Amy Cavanaugh
  • Tanja Hayes

For more information about this year’s Virtual Employee Recognition Ceremony, contact TMCC’s Office of Professional Development at 775-674-7965.