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Five Harford Community College employees have been named recipients of the 2014 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Awards. Bill Elliott, Senior Student Development Specialist; Theresa Libershal, Assistant Professor, Nursing and Allied Health; Wendy Rappazzo, Professor, Biology; Fary Sami, Professor, Mathematics; and Jennie Towner, Coordinator for Tutoring and Testing, were named recipients of the 2014 NISOD Excellence Awards.

NISOD is the outreach organization of the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas at Austin. NISOD supports the pursuit of excellence in teaching and leadership at more than 700 member colleges. Award recipients received their medallions at the NISOD International Conference on Teaching and Learning in Austin, Texas.

Bill Elliott is in his 11th year of service to the students of HCC. In addition to academic and career advising, Bill is responsible for the development and curriculum of Human Development courses dealing with career discernment and student success. During his tenure, Bill has revamped existing Human Development courses and introduced online sections as well as new course offerings. Bill has also served on the campus Curriculum Work Group and the Academic Policies Committee, the curriculum planning group of the First Year Experience Committee, as a member of the student intervention team, and as the academic advisor for students under 16 years of age. Bill has a particular interest in working with military/veteran students and serves as the staff advisor for the HCC Student Veterans Club. In addition to HCC duties, Bill has also presented at national conferences and served on conference steering committees for the National Academic Advising Association.

Theresa Libershal has taught full-time at HCC since 2004. Nursing education has allowed her to combine experience as a nurse in various fields with her love of teaching. It is an exciting challenge to prepare nurses for the current health care environment. She teaches courses in Fundamentals of Nursing and Contemporary Issues in Nursing. She has worked in various fields of health care, both at the bedside and in management roles. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at Johns Hopkins University. Her Master of Arts degree in management was earned at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland and she received a post graduate Certificate in Nursing Education from Drexel University in Philadelphia. Theresa is a member of the American Nurses Association. She is involved in volunteer activities as a parish nurse and at the Family & Children’s Adult Day program on the HCC campus.

Wendy Rappazzo is from the Finger Lakes area of New York, but has been a Maryland "native" for 21 years. She earned a B.S. degree from S.U.N.Y. Cortland in 1991, an M.S. in Exercise Physiology from the University of Delaware in 1993, and a second M.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Towson University in 2002. She has been a faculty member at Harford Community College since 1993. Her primary teaching responsibilities are anatomy and physiology, and biology for health professionals. She has served as the coordinator of the anatomy and physiology courses, created BIO 099, BIO 119 courses, as well as the first online biology course in Maryland (BIO 100). She has created hybrid courses for BIO 119 and BIO 203. She is the author of the textbook Biochemistry and Cell Biology, co-author of the Biochemistry and Cell Biology Laboratory Manual, and has published several learning activities through the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society and the American Physiological Society.

Professor Rappazzo has worked with Carnegie Mellon University to develop free open access online anatomy and physiology courses delivered nationwide. She is the chair of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Outreach Committee and volunteers with several STEM outreach activities in Harford County elementary, middle, and high schools. As the co-chair of STEM’s First Year Experience Across the Curriculum Committee, she regularly works to improve students’ study skills to promote their academic success. She is an active member of the Human Anatomy and Physiology Curriculum Committee, which has created standards and goals for anatomy and physiology courses at two- and four-year schools and is currently the chair of their Distance Learning Committee.

Fary Sami is a member of the State of Maryland Math Group. She serves as a co-chair of the International Education Subcommittee of the Chairs Division of the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC). Fary has been a contributor to the MathAMATYC Educator, having published several articles. She has also served as a member of the editorial team for the problem section of MathAMATYC Educator since its inception.

Jennie Towner has been employed at Harford Community College since 2006. In her first position as Student Development Specialist in Tutoring Support Services, Jennie coordinated the individual tutoring and Supplemental Instruction programs and taught HD 110: Success in College and Beyond. In addition to this role, she was an adjunct instructor for the Educational and Transitional Studies division and used her own innovation and math abilities to pilot a learning community. She taught a section of Math 002 linked with HD 110, (Success in College and Beyond). Results of this pilot program indicated that students in this format outperformed those in non-linked math sections. In 2009 Jennie became the Coordinator for Tutoring and Testing. Under her leadership, the number of peer tutors was expanded, the number of students utilizing tutoring increased, and the Test Center was recently accepted into the National College Testing Association Accreditation program. The tutoring program continually receives College Reading and Learning Association certification. In January 2014 she partnered with the Coordinator for Grants and developed and submitted a grant proposal to the Maryland Higher Education Commission seeking funding for academic success coaches to better meet the needs of transitional students. Although the grant was not awarded to HCC, the concept is being supported and implemented for 2014-2015 along with other student success initiatives for students enrolled in transitional courses, particularly low income, first generation, and African American students.

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