FORT PIERCE — Six exceptional Indian River State College (IRSC) faculty members were honored with Endowed Teaching Chairs awarded through the Indian River State College Foundation (IRSCF). The endowed chairs recognize outstanding work by faculty members at IRSC and support new initiatives to benefit students and the community.
“The Endowed Teaching Chair program recognizes faculty and their passion for the success of our students,” shared Dr. Timothy Moore, IRSC President. “These six exceptional faculty members now have the opportunity to implement innovative programs to create enhanced student support tools and new learning experiences.”
The surprise presentation was the highlight of the annual faculty welcome back ceremony held in the McAlpin Fine Arts Center on the Massey Campus in Fort Pierce on Thursday, August 10. Each recipient was recognized with a commemorative coin display and will receive an annual stipend to support their project: $6,000 a year for three consecutive years ($4,000 to implement their initiatives and improve instruction in their field of expertise and $2,000 in recognition of excellence in teaching). The Endowed Teaching Chair program is made possible by contributions to IRSCF.
This year’s Endowed Teaching Chair recipients are: Alexander Kanter, Master Instructor, Theatre/Director of Theatre, recipient of the Community Endowed Teaching Chair in Fine Arts;.Angie Neely-Sardon, Assistant Professor, Librarian, recipient of the Patterson Endowed Teaching Chair in Humanities; Brian Skirvin-Leclair, Associate Professor, Nursing, DNP, APRN, CNE, recipient of the Basil L. King Endowed Teaching Chair in Health Sciences; Tracy Stant, Assistant Professor, Accounting, recipient of Marilyn C. Link Endowed Teaching Chair in Financial Management; Kris Demarais, Assistant Professor, Mathematics, recipient of the John and Marilyn McConnell Endowed Teaching Chair; and Dr. Barbara ‘Annie’ Fuller, Professor, History, recipient of the J. Douglas Stephens Endowed Teaching Chair.
Mr. Kanter reimagines the IRSC Performing Arts Library with his proposal, From Head to Toe, which seeks to provide IRSC theatre and dance students access to tools required for success in both class and performance. These tools include scripts that can be used as assigned readings in Introduction to Theatre (THE 1000) and Survey of Dramatic Literature (THE 2300). The project will additionally support a dance-shoe lending library.
Ms. Neely-Sardon will create the Brackett Digitization Lab to provide students, employees and community members with the equipment and training required to digitize print and analog works. Her project will directly support Introduction to Internet Research (LIS 2004) and Electronic Access to Information (LIS 1002) and help preserve local historical records while making them available to students and scholars alike.
Mr. Skirvin-Leclair aims to provide IRSC nursing students with realistic student-centered learning opportunities using high-fidelity simulation to support student success and reduce barriers nursing students can face as they transition from the classroom to the clinical setting. His proposal also seeks to refine communication skills, utilize evidence-based practice, and prepare students to make sound clinical judgments.
Ms. Stant plans to expand the IRSC Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. This innovative proposal allows students to participate as volunteers preparing tax returns for limited-income community members. Expansion of this project will provide accounting students with practical hands-on experience that will enhance their academic skills while providing a vital community service.
Mr. Demarais seeks to develop a support network for STEM students to address mental health issues from a non-clinical perspective. Collaboration with STEM Pioneers, Health and Wellness, the Student Government Association and the Institute of Academic Excellence (IAE) will help students incorporate the five pillars of the growth mindset: embrace challenges, persist despite obstacles, see effort as a path to mastery, learn from criticism, and be inspired by the success of others.
Dr. Fuller will establish a resource center to help students succeed through the mastery of college-level skills and research-based strategies and additionally connect them with institutional resources with the goal of student success. The proposal will provide faculty with robust professional development through the IAE. The program will assist faculty challenges as they engage and support students in the classroom.
In addition to recognizing Endowed Teaching Chair recipients, two additional recognitions honored outstanding IRSC faculty during the occasion.
Ms. Deborah Midkiff, Department Chair and Instructor, Culinary and Hospitality, was named the 2023 recipient the Anne R. Snyder Department Chair Excellence Award. This honor is conferred annually to a department chair demonstrating outstanding leadership, commitment to the college mission, curricular innovation, and dedication to the betterment of students and their fellow instructors.
Ms. June Wells, Assistant Professor, Communications, was recognized as the recipient of 2023 Harriett Kirk Crago Faculty of the Year Award. This award honors the instructor selected from the Faculty of the Month recipients nominated by IRSC students. The honoree exhibits both expertise in the classroom and enthusiasm and warmth that significantly enhances the quality of life at IRSC.
Dr. Moore addressed the gathered audience of IRSC staff, administrators and faculty—including 31 new faculty members welcomed to IRSC for the academic year. “This is the highlight of my year,” he declared. “This group of professionals all together to do one thing—take a student that doesn’t believe in themselves and transform them into someone who is out there changing the world.”
To date, the IRSC Foundation has awarded 77 faculty members with Endowed Teaching Chairs— representing more than $1.4 million in endowed funds for innovative and forward-thinking instructional support to IRSC faculty members.
Other Endowed Teaching Chair awards include: Richardson Endowed Teaching Chair in Business and Entrepreneurship; BankAtlantic Foundation Endowed Teaching Chair; Gladys Williams Wolf Endowed Teaching Chair in Communications; Susan H. Johnson Endowed Teaching Chair; J. Douglas Stephens Endowed Teaching Chair in Technology; Banack Family Partnership Endowed Teaching Chair in Agriculture; Endowed Teaching Chair in Innovation and Entrepreneurship
For more information about supporting an Endowed Teaching Chair with a tax-deductible contribution, call IRSC Foundation at 772-462-4786 or visit giving.irsc.edu.