Awards Recipients
New Horizons 2022

Outstanding faculty, staff, and administrators from across the state are recognized and honored for their extraordinary skills, commitment to students, and contributions to the Virginia Community College System.

Awards range from individual recognition for teaching and learning contributions, to team awards for groups at colleges working together to advance the VCCS mission. The VCCS proudly acknowledges excellence in a variety of ways.

Learn more about each award and the 2022 award recipients below:



SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Awards

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) and Dominion Energy announced the recipients of the SCHEV 2022 Outstanding Faculty Awards (OFA) on December 16, 2021. Nominees were selected by the institutions, reviewed by a panel of peers, and chosen by a committee of leaders from the public and private sectors. In all, 85 nominations were received. This group was narrowed to a field of 25 finalists and then to the 12 recipients. Two winners this year are from the VCCS:

SCHEV Winner Thomas M. Geary

Thomas M. Geary, Professor of English, Virginia Beach Campus of Tidewater Community College. Dr. Geary serves as the editor of Inquiry, the peer-reviewed journal for faculty, staff and administrators in Virginia’s Community Colleges.


SCHEV Winner Kwabena Konadu

Kwabena Konadu, Professor and Discipline Chair of Cybersecurity at Northern Virginia Community College.

Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE)

The Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence, also known as the CATE, is awarded annually to one teaching faculty member in the VCCS who distinctly represents the teaching excellence found at Virginia’s Community Colleges. The award provides the recipient with a VCCS stole for wearing with academic regalia and $5,000.00.

CATE Winner Richard Clark

This year’s CATE recipient, Richard Clark, has had the privilege of serving Virginia Western Community College, his colleagues, and students as Program Head of Engineering for the past sixteen years.  During this time, he has successfully expanded the facilities, capabilities, and resources at the college. Richard Clark has worked diligently to equip the new STEM building with state-of-the-art teaching and research equipment, to engage local industry through innovative partnerships, to develop sought-after online course offerings, to establish collaborative research efforts with university partners, and to secure numerous Federal and State grants which support STEM students. Through these efforts, the Engineering program at Virginia Western Community College has grown significantly in size and prominence within the community. Richard Clark has made learning fun as well as competitive and his personal commitment to his students is exemplary.

George B. Vaughan Leadership Award for Outstanding Adjunct Faculty

The George B. Vaughan Leadership Award for Outstanding Adjunct Faculty which is made possible in part by support from the George B. Vaughan Leadership Endowment Fund through the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education to honor Dr. Vaughan’s distinguished service of over 40 years as a national leader in community college education. Each recipient receives an honorarium paid at the end of the spring semester.

Vaughan Winner Marian Clifton

Marian Clifton serves as an adjunct Assistant Professor in the Human Services Department at Thomas Nelson (becoming Virginia Peninsula Community College). She is a certified Workforce Development professional and holds the credentials of Certified Federal Career Counselor and Certified Federal Job Search Trainer. Marian Clifton is also a founding board member of the Menchville House, a home for women in transition. She serves as the Chief Operating Officer of a community-based non-profit organization.  A transformational leader, Marian Clifton is passionate about organizational and fund development, including proposal writing.  She loves poetry and has been an invited guest to read her work on a national level. If she hasn’t done enough, she has completed the Harvard University School of Divinity Leadership Institute and is scheduled to complete doctoral studies at Trevecca Nazarene University in August 2022.

Vaughan Winner Floyd Schwartz

Floyd Schwartz managed several major data centers during his career including Dept. Labor, United Mine Workers, Dept. Of Transportation and Dept. Of Energy. Currently retired but still teaching at NOVA which included 3 courses this spring term, this 55-year veteran of NOVA’s IT department is proud he had the opportunity to help build a community college and IT program that ranks as one of the top programs in the United States. With continued commitment to the VCCS and a desire to bring cutting edge technology and education to our students, one reviewer stated Floyd Schwartz is the epitome of the award itself!

Susan S. Wood Professorship for Teaching Excellence

The Susan S. Wood Professorship for Teaching Excellence created by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education in November 2013 to annually recognize a VCCS faculty member who demonstrates faculty excellence, dedication to students, and academic leadership. Dr. Wood retired as Vice Chancellor for Academic Services and Research in April 2014. She began her distinguished career as a charter faculty member at Reynolds Community College in August of 1973. The recipient receives an honorarium paid at the end of the spring semester.

Kim Smith, Winner of the Susan S. Wood Award

This year’s Susan Wood recipient is Kim Smith, Associate Professor of Nursing at Southwest Virginia Community College. She is an experienced nurse educator with thirty years of teaching experience, and she continues to work part time as a Nurse Practitioner meeting the health care needs of individuals in her community.  Kim Smith serves as Faculty Senate president and on the Chancellors Faculty Advisory Committee. She exemplifies leadership and collegiality among peers; not only at Southwest Community college, but across the VCCS.

Excellence in Education (EIE) – 4 Categories

NEW THIS YEAR! The 2022 New Horizons Excellence in Education Awards will be given in each of the following four categories – Collaboration, Connection, Inclusivity, and Knowledge.  The winner project/program in each category receives a certificate and $500.


Building Opportunity through Knowledge

EIE: Knowledge Award Winner Caryn SeverThe winners in this category looked for opportunities to evaluate learning by challenging historically acceptable approaches to assessment, to help faculty better identify their students’ strengths and weaknesses. They created a robust campaign “The Authentic Assessment Institute” to engage thought leaders across Virginia in designing bias-free, culturally responsive, authentic assessments. They wanted students to use higher order thinking and solve complex problems rather than simply select one response or recall rote information. Their work has been highlighted in Inside Higher Ed and the Online Learning Consortium.

Caryn Sever and Kim Grewe (not pictured) are both Instructional Designers from Northern Virginia Community College.


Building Opportunity through Connection

EIE: Connection Award Winners Claudia Etchebarne Hernández and Pamyla YatesThese winners from Blue Ridge Community College developed the Healthcare Pathways program which increased students’ opportunities for access, success, and advancement in healthcare fields. Discipline leads identified the major access and success barriers for students in their programs. One barrier they discovered was students struggling with medical and language terminology due to English not being a first language for many students. They developed a pathway that included two ESL courses for Health professions (one for credit and one for non-credit). Their work also provided faculty and staff needed education on local diversity issues and teaching strategies to support student success.

Claudia Etchebarne Hernández, Associate Dean & Foreign Language Department Chair, and Pamyla Yates, ESL Program Coordinator, Blue Ridge Community College.


Building Opportunity through Inclusivity

EIE: Inclusivity Winners Erin Mills, Dr. Soyoung Burke, Rachel Dodson, Jeff Hollar, Amy Judd, Dr. Curtis Morgan, Polly Nesselrodt, and Dr. Naomi SimpsonThis Lord Fairfax Community College (soon-to-be Laurel Ridge) inaugural faculty fellows project was conceptualized in spring 2021 as a sustainable way to build knowledge and grow the capacity of faculty in Universal Design for Learning (UDL) with a special focus initially on assessment. During a Summer Learning Academy, fellows chose a course assessment to redesign, and they examined detailed student success data for each course to include a review of race/ethnicity, gender, income, first generation status, etc. In this context of equity and student success, they considered challenges students may be facing in the classroom and planned a course of action for bridging those gaps. The fellows’ excitement evolved organically, without prodding, it should be noted, and is a testament to their dedication.

Erin Mills, Instructional Designer
Dr. Soyoung Burke, ESL Program Coordinator
Rachel Dodson, Associate Professor of Business Management and Administration
Jeff Hollar, Associate Professor of Biology
Amy Judd, Director of Academic Assessment, Evaluation, and Analytics
Dr. Curtis Morgan, Professor of History
Polly Nesselrodt, Associate Professor of Spanish
Dr. Naomi Simpson, Associate Professor of Communication Studies


Building Opportunity through Collaboration

EIE: Knowledge Award Winners Terri Milroy, Page Durham, Gabriel Scala, Jim Schifflett, Tim Hoffman, Wesley Kinsey, Erin Mills, Gannon Nordberg, Caryn Sever, Melissa Stiltner, Jason Vance, Jennifer Walz, and Nova WrightThis large group of administrative staff formed the Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI) group to share research on the new federal regulations. They needed to understand the correct interpretation of the requirements and then create a training course that could be used by all 23 colleges to educate faculty on the new expectations. The new regulations focus on standards to ensure faculty-student engagement in online courses, and each group member built one of the training modules. Though not all 23 colleges have used the course, the research and best practices developed has reached approximately 4,000 faculty across the VCCS thus far.

Terri Milroy, eLET chair, Southside Virginia Community College

Page Durham, Instructional Designer, eLET, Germanna Community College

Gabriel Scala, Director of Distance Learning & Faculty Development, eLET co-chair, John
Tyler Community College

Jim Schifflett, Educational Technology Specialist, eLET, Piedmont Virginia Community College

Tim Hoffman, Instructional Support Developer, eLET, Rappahannock Community College

Wesley Kinsey, Instructional Designer, eLET, Germanna Community College

Erin Mills, Instructional Designer, eLET, Lord Fairfax Community College

Gannon Nordberg, Instructional Technologist/Canvas Admin, eLET, Lord Fairfax Community College

Caryn Sever, Instructional Designer, eLET, Northern Virginia Community College

Melissa Stiltner, Director of Distance Learning, eLET, Southwest Virginia Community College

Jason Vance, Canvas Admin/Academic Technologist, eLET, Thomas Nelson Community College

Jennifer Walz, Instruction & e-Resources Librarian, eLET, Danville Community College

Nova Wright, Instructional Designer, eLET, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College