June 6, 2016—Newark, OH— Susan Cooperider graduated 20 years ago from Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) and was the recipient of the Outstanding Nursing Student award in 1996. Now, she's instructing at COTC and receiving more accolades: the 2016 Full-Time Teaching Excellence Award. COTC also recognized Kevin Oldaker, teacher and science department chair at East Knox High School, with the Part-Time Teaching Excellence Award for spring semester.
Cooperider teaches nursing students in both their first and last semesters at COTC. Some courses include lengthy lectures, like last-semester Family Centered Care which is four hours long, and cover a breadth of information. She was praised by students for creating an engaging classroom and using visual, hands-on material to enhance learning.
"This drives me to continue to be more creative and innovative," said Cooperider. "I'm constantly coming up with new ways to say something or relative activities to make lectures as interesting as possible. Nursing students have to learn a little bit about a lot of things, and they're not always interested in every topic. I tell them, 'It's ok if this topic doesn't interest you. We all have areas where we shine, and that's great because there's a place for everybody [in the healthcare workforce].'"
"Susan draws from all her experiences and uses good examples to drive points home," said one of her students. After receiving an associate degree from COTC, Cooperider worked as a counselor for bulimics and then as a nurse in an oncology practice. Following a break from employment to raise her children, she went to back to school for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing, the latter specifically so she could teach at the postsecondary level. In addition to teaching students at COTC during the day, she was, until recently, also teaching childbirth education classes at night.
Oldaker teaches two college-level biology courses to high school students at East Knox in the College Credit Plus program. College Credit Plus allows students from seventh through 12th grade to earn up to 30 college credits during an academic year at no cost to the students. The program promotes access to higher education and encourages educational pathways linking courses to careers.
Students commented that Oldaker is caring, supportive and goes above and beyond to help them learn the advanced subjects. "Mr. Oldaker is an incredibly dedicated, supportive teacher who cares for every student as much as his own work," said one student. "Mr. Oldaker is always willing to help his students understand the material by using different methods and providing additional help when needed," said another student.
"I believe in and value education; it is my passion and therefore to achieve this accomplishment is very rewarding," said Oldaker. "I would like to thank my students for nominating me, the COTC faculty for their hard work in reviewing the nominees and COTC President Dr. Bonnie Coe for offering this recognition award."
The Full-Time Teaching Excellence Award is presented annually to one of COTC's full-time faculty members in recognition of and to promote teaching excellence. The Part-Time Teaching Excellence Award was instituted in the 2015-16 academic year. It is presented twice a year, following autumn and spring semesters, making this the second time it has been awarded. Faculty members are nominated by students, staff, fellow faculty or alumni, with the winner selected by a faculty committee.
Central Ohio Technical College opened in 1971 and is celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2016. COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs, as well as encouraging the professional development of students, staff, faculty and administrators to assist them in achieving their maximum potential. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.