Barnhill Selected by Peers for Excellence in Teaching Award
Alex Barnhill, Nash Community College Computer-Integrated Machining instructor, has been selected as the college’s 2017 J. Edgar and Peggie T. Moore Excellence in Teaching Award recipient.
After twenty years in the workforce, a downturn in the economy led to Alex being laid off. He turned a negative into a positive and returned to school, choosing Nash Community College in 2009 for its variety of programs. “The hands-on learning experience and state-of-the-art facilities made it easy to find my niche in the Computer-Integrated Machining program,” Alex said.
A husband and father of two, Alex Barnhill attended NCC full-time while working part-time. He earned Dean’s List, an engineering departmental scholarship, and served as vice president of the Metalworkers Club and a member of Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society. In 2012, Alex graduated and was offered a position as instructor at Nash that fall.
Alex has presented at multiple professional development sessions with colleagues from various curricula. He attended the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) Summer Institute–the first with sessions focused on AVID implementation in technical programs– which he says taught him instructional strategies that have helped him as an instructor. “I know that not all students learn information in the same way. With this in mind, content needs to be delivered in different ways in order to reach all students in the class. At the community college, we serve a wide range of students. A flexible mindset helps to achieve our goals and to present the best learning opportunity for the class in its entirety,” he said.
In 2014, Alex attended the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges conference. “The new ideas presented and the proven strategies learned at these types of events help me to make the classroom a more productive space. Engagement is paramount to student success. Instructors carry a responsibility to engage our students on many levels. It is only when we understand the person, that we can know the best way to teach them,” Alex said.
Participation in clubs and skills contests provides an opportunity for Alex to reach students on a deeper level. As an advisor for the NCC Metal Workers Club and through involvement on SkillsUSA, he introduces students to the world beyond the campus. “NCC has been fortunate to have three SkillsUSA state-level winners and multiple top five finishers since 2012. Moments like these validate students’ hard work, and they make me proud to be part of this program. I enjoy seeing the pride that competition instills in the student,” Alex said.
Excellence in Teaching Award nominees are full-time faculty members chosen annually through a peer and student evaluation process. A well-defined set of criteria is used to identify and reward quality teaching. The award recipient is chosen by secret ballot by the full-time faculty, and represents the best in community college instruction. Alex will receive a cash award from Ed and Peggie Moore of Rocky Mount for his superior service.
“Nash gave me an opportunity to be an instructor and to make a difference in people’s lives. I will forever be grateful for this chance to prove myself,” he said. “I strive for my students to feel the same way.”