Johnson named as Isothermal's top teacher

May. 17, 2013 @ 06:04 AM

Melissa Johnson, a Business Sciences instructor at Isothermal Community College, earned the institution’s highest teaching honor this week.

The 2013 Robert Wendell Eaves Distinguished Teaching Award was presented to Johnson by Walter Dalton, Isothermal’s president, at the annual commencement exercises on Tuesday evening.

Johnson was nominated by several of her students.

During the judging process, Johnson’s peers noted her passion for students, professionalism and dedication. But, the most important and repeated thread that ran through the judges’ comments was how deeply the recipient cared for her students, her coworkers, the college and learning, in general.

Johnson has taught at Isothermal for 13 years. She completed her undergraduate work at Jacksonville University and UNC-Asheville. She earned her MBA at Gardner-Webb University and has completed many graduate-level educational technology courses at East Carolina University. She has served on many college taskforces and standing. She served as chair of the Faculty Senate from 2008 to 2011. In addition, Johnson has been very involved in campus cooperative learning training. She also stays busy at work and at home.

The Robert Wendell Eaves Distinguished Teaching Award is given each year to an instructor who demonstrates excellence in teaching and a true zeal for service to students.  It was established by the Eaves family in 1982 to honor the late Dr. Robert Wendell Eaves and his distinguished career in education. 

Dr. Eaves’ philosophy and credo on the importance of teaching was simple: “A zeal for service is the first requirement of professionalization. Without a zeal for service, our efforts as educators are void and helpless.  We cannot expect remuneration commensurate with our achievements.  Our remuneration comes largely from the joy of seeing people grow strong, useful and intelligent.  This is the best life has to offer.  No greater life can anyone live.”

Each year, the recipient is selected by a committee composed of past award recipients from nominations submitted by students, alumni, college personnel and members of the general public. Any full-time employee of Isothermal who spends at least 25 percent of his or her time on the job in teaching is eligible for the award. 

Past winners have included Ruth Boehning, Vivian Sitton, Clara Fowler, Chris Koone, Carol Jones, Pete Golden, Aubrey Calton, Bill McDaniel, Dean Byrd, Gary Shipley, Mike Croussore, Lowery Luckadoo, Jay Coomes, Rhonda Davis, Cathy Alexander, Debbie Puett, Scott Bradey, Jeremiah Councill, Donna Harrison, Tim Beaver, Brett Parker and last year’s winner, Amber Thompson.

This year’s other Eaves finalists were Kimberly Amos and Dale Gaddis.