2012 at Isothermal Community College

President Dr. Myra Johnson announces retirement
Dec. 28, 2012 @ 05:06 AM

SPINDALE — The search for a new president at Isothermal Community College is underway after Dr. Myra Johnson, announced she would retire in the spring of 2013. Her decision to retire after six years as president of Isothermal, was the top story at the college for 2012.

She announced the retirement during the college's Board of Trustees meeting in November. Since then, the board has put together a search process, which was initiated recently.  

“We will also announce the position extensively throughout existing avenues in the North Carolina Community College System and in appropriate regional and national community college professional associations,” said Mike Gavin, director of Marketing and Community Relations at Isothermal. “The trustees are very hopeful that they will have a high-quality pool of candidates to consider as they select the next president to move Isothermal forward.”

Prospects are invited to apply until Jan. 9, 2013. The trustees hope to hire a new president by April 2013.

Johnson assumed her duties as president on July 1, 2007.

“I have invested a significant amount of deliberative thought into this decision and, although it is with hesitation and sadness, it is a decision that I think is timely for the institution,” said Johnson. “I will miss the college and its family, some who I have worked with for almost 30 years – but all who are, and always have been, committed to the mission of the college and moving forward to achieve excellence in support of the mission. I have truly felt supported by the board and employees during my tenure and believe that it has been a great partnership.”

Other highlights of 2012 at Isothermal:

-One of the newest faces at Isothermal Community College during the year was a dog named Mackey. His job is to make the campus and the community a safer place.

Mackey is one of the newest Rutherford County Sheriff's K-9s.

“We started talking earlier this year about the possibility of getting a K-9 to help with our patrols on campus and to supplement the K-9 unit already working with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office,” said Cpl. Andy Millard, who is one of the RCSO officers stationed on the Isothermal campus. “We saw an opportunity to make the campus a safer place and add a much needed resource to the sheriff’s office. Through a joint effort of Isothermal and the sheriff’s office, we made it a reality”

Mackey is a two-and-a-half-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever, trained to search for narcotics and to detect firearms. He has been trained to do so since he was a puppy.

-Two new programs

Healthcare Management Technology and Healthcare Business Informatics – became available at Isothermal Community College in the fall semester.

The Healthcare Management Technology curriculum is designed to prepare students for employment in healthcare business and financial operations. Emphasis is placed on planning, organizing, directing, and the development of effective communication, managerial and supervisory skills. Graduates may find employment in a variety of healthcare settings including hospitals, medical offices, and long-term care facilities.

The Healthcare Business Informatics curriculum is designed to prepare students for employment as specialists in installation, data management, data archiving/retrieval, systems design and support, and computer training for medical information systems. Students will learn through interdisciplinary coursework including terminology (both medical and informatics), systems analysis, networking technology, computer/network security, data warehousing, archiving and retrieval of information, and healthcare computer infrastructure support. 

-Data Center Institute

Isothermal Community College students and graduates attended the first Data Center Institute in May, held at the college.

The Data Center Institute was a 12-day course spread equally over three weeks. Each session lasted eight hours.

The Data Center Institute, which has been formed as part of a unique partnership with the Facebook Data Center in Forest City, was limited to 12 students for its inaugural course.

In addition to the Facebook Data Center in Rutherford County, the Western North Carolina Data Center is located on the property adjacent to Facebook's data center. The region also features a data centers built Apple, Walt Disney and AT&T, creating the so-called “data-center corridor.”

- Another program allows students to complete a GED or Adult High School diploma while becoming a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA), all at no charge.

In addition to the work required to obtain a GED or AHSD which varies for each student, the CNA curriculum requires 136 hours of instruction in the classroom followed by 40 hours of hands-on experience in an assisted living center. The classes take place at the college's Rutherfordton Learning Center in the old Rutherfordton Elementary School building.

- Amber Thompson, dean of Applied Sciences and Technology at Isothermal Community College, earned the institution's highest teaching honor in May.

The 2012 Robert Wendell Eaves Distinguished Teaching Award was presented to Thompson at the annual commencement exercises, by Johnson.

Thompson started her journey toward a career in education at Isothermal as a student in the late 1990s. After earning an Associate degree at Isothermal and a Bachelor of Science at Appalachian State, she went to work as a teacher at R-S Central High School.

The 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.

-Lois Scruggs, Business Sciences secretary at Isothermal Community College, was named the 2012 recipient of the Willard L. Lewis Staff Award.

The objective of the award is to encourage, identify and reward excellent performance and commitment to the college by the non-teaching staff. One of the primary criteria for nominees is that they show "consistent, excellent performance on the job, exhibiting unselfish devotion to duty far and above normal requirements and significant contribution to the advancement of the institution and its students."

The award is named for Dr. Willard L. Lewis, the college's former president, who placed a great emphasis on the importance staff plays in Isothermal's mission to "improve life through learning." This year's award was given at the college's annual convocation, held in August. 

Scruggs has worked for the college for 29 years.