COTC Recognizes Faculty with Teaching Excellence Awards

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Three nursing students sit at a table  while Assistant Professor Susan Cooperider points to something in their notebook.

Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) honored Susan Cooperider, EdD, RN, and Joseph McGregor with the Teaching Excellence Award for the 2020-21 academic year. The Teaching Excellence Award is presented annually to one full-time and one part-time faculty member in recognition of and to promote teaching excellence. Faculty members are nominated by enrolled students, and the winner is selected by a faculty committee.

Susan Cooperider — Full-Time Teaching Excellence Award

Cooperider is an assistant professor and a two-time recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award for full-time faculty, receiving the honor first in 2016. She became a full-time instructor at the college in 2015, but Cooperider’s history with COTC started with her in student role. She graduated with an associate degree in nursing technology in 1996 and was named Outstanding Nursing Student of her class. She went on to earn a BSN at Ohio University (2008), MSN from Indiana Wesleyan University (2011) and EdD from Nebraska Methodist Hospital (2020). Returning to COTC as a faculty member, she said, just felt right. 

“I work with a group of professionals who make me feel humbled every day. We are here for students; I love that what is best for students drives program and college decision making. The proactive approach to student success through rich campus resources and policy is outstanding and effective,” said Cooperider. 

Cooperider, who refers to herself as the “nursing school sandwich,” teaches students in their first and last semesters of the associate degree nursing program. “I feel it is an honor to teach at these two levels as it provides a perfect opportunity to recognize the immense growth in our students from program start to finish.”

One of her students noted, “[Cooperider] was an amazing teacher to have first semester of nursing school because she taught with enthusiasm and passion. She knows how to provide feedback and promote learning while empathizing with the student.”

“[Cooperider] is the most involved and caring instructor I’ve ever had in my entire life,” said another student. “She makes sure everyone is comfortable but also pushing out of their comfort zone to do their best.”

Cooperider has a simple teaching philosophy, she said. “Nursing school is challenging. I ask that my students give me 110%, and I feel I owe them the same in return. Every person who enters my classroom is a unique human being, and I work hard to recognize individuality. There is also great value in helping each student gain confidence by identifying their personal strengths and applying those to effective nursing care.”

She added, “I also hope that my personal passion for nursing is contagious.”

The students confirmed it is. One said, “She is an instructor that really makes you love what you are learning and always motivates you to do better by telling you kind words and encouraging you all the time.” While another wrote, “Susan not only is a fantastic teacher that masters a variety of teaching styles, she also is a fantastic person. She connects with her students better than anyone I have ever seen.”

Joseph McGregor — Part-Time Teaching Excellence Award

McGregor is a part-time instructor in the English and communications department. Since 2013, he has been teaching Composition I, Composition II and Technical Writing courses at the Newark campus, Knox campus and online. He has a master’s degree from Akron University and a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University. 

“I use a ‘see one, do one and teach one’ style like what used to be taught as surgical practice method. So, students see and hear the methods through lecture and then students collaborate by sharing writing and working on revisions together,” he said. 

“I picked this method up as a U.S. Army medic, and it allows me to work with the student despite whether they are kinesthetic, audible or visual learners, and they learn by a method that works for them while touching on the material in three different ways.”
His students also appreciate his ability to meet their needs in the classroom and outside of it. This flexibility was even more critical during the past year, during which most courses were online because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

One of his students wrote, “Professor McGregor truly cares about his students’ success in his course providing any additional help or information without request. He will assist you meeting through Zoom whenever you’re available no matter what time it is. He goes out of his way ensure the students understand the lesson.”

“His patience, enthusiasm to help and humor really help me push through the class to do my best, even with challenges, all while having fun and being in a good mood for the start of the day for other classes,” said another student. One more added, “Joseph McGregor has a great attitude for all Zoom classes. He has gone out of his way to help myself and other students. Overall, Joseph McGregor has made my first college experience wonderful!”

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. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.