Faculty & Staff Honors, Press Releases

Awadallah Receives Excellence in Teaching Award

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Nash Community College anatomy and physiology instructor Nahel Awadallah is the recipient of the 2022 J. Edgar and Peggie T. Moore Excellence in Teaching Award.

The late Mr. and Mrs. J. Edgar Moore of Rocky Mount were longtime supporters of the college. As the award recipient, Awadallah receives the J. Edgar and Peggie T. Moore monetary award, a recognition plaque and an opportunity to attend the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Conference in Austin, Texas. He will also represent the College for the NC Community College System statewide award and serve as faculty marshal in the College’s graduation ceremony.

The Excellence in Teaching Award nomination process began with three full-time curriculum faculty members being selected for consideration based on the results of evaluations by students for the 2021 academic year. These faculty members wrote a short essay and were allowed to select faculty to submit essays of support following peer observation.

Awadallah was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Jerusalem, Palestine. His education began in Florida and continued in New York. He holds a bachelor of science degree in molecular biology and a master of science degree in microbiology both from Long Island University. Prior to joining NCC in 2015, he taught at Johnston and Sampson community colleges and was a researcher at New York University School of Medicine.

“My teaching techniques are simple but effective,” Awadallah said. “I focus on clear communication, active listening, allowing students to freely express themselves, patience, adaptability and willingness to improve as an instructor.”

Anatomy and physiology topics are difficult, detailed and complex, he said. “The topics must be presented in a simple format reviewing the foundation and slowly adding the details. I use visuals, hands-on activities, audio and video animations, notes, writing activities and class discussions. All the while relating it to interesting medical scenarios to engage students of all learning styles of learning and simultaneously reinforcing the details.”

“Understanding the audience and listening to them results in better student engagement. It builds trust and encourages student involvement. Every student has personal struggles that impact their performance in class. Patience is important. I monitor student performance and let them present a plan of improvement if they are at risk of underperforming. This allows them to feel in control and have a stake in their learning.”

Awadallah is known among NCC faculty for continually developing new and innovative teaching strategies. Possibly one of his most unique challenges was finding ways during the pandemic to approach lessons that historically had been done in-person. He engaged students in new ways, virtually, even through animal dissections. “Virtual learning increased accessibility and inclusion for students and actually led to an improved learning experience,” he said. “Animal dissection is a proven way for students to learn. The virtual experience with students using at-home dissection kits was even better than in a class environment with more engaging peer discussions. It was important to me that even through the pandemic we continue to teach difficult tasks and concepts because the content is valuable.”

Awadallah has won numerous awards, co-authored two textbooks and has published scholarly research in Clinical Science, the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, the Journal of Lipid Research and the Journal of Immunology. He lives in Rocky Mount and has three children.

In addition to supporting faculty through the Excellence in Teaching Award, the Moores also supported the annual Staff Award. In 1998, they established the NCC J. Edgar and Peggie T. Moore Faculty Senate Scholarship and later funded the Peggie Thigpen Moore Endowed Chair for Culinary Arts in 2009 to honor NCC culinary faculty and their commitment to exemplary teaching and excellence in the classroom. The Peggie T. Moore Culinary Arts Wing in the College’s Business and Industry Center honors Mr. and Mrs. Moore’s legacy.

Pictured from left: Dr. Jay Sullivan, Vice President of Instruction and Nahel Awadallah.