Innovative Teachers Honored For Using Technology to Enhance Learning

February 26, 2001

Washington, DC — Two community college professors whose creative use of technology has enhanced learning for disabled, non-traditional and pre-college-aged students have been selected as leaders in their field for 2001. The two will receive the first-ever David R. Pierce Faculty Technology Award, sponsored by the Microsoft Corporation in cooperation with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

Vicki Duggan, instructor in the Information Technology Institute of Montgomery College, Md., and Michelle R. Wild, instructor in the Special Education and Computer departments of Coastline Community College, Calif., were selected in a nationwide competition among the over 1,100 U.S. community, junior, and technical colleges. Professor Duggan is working to bring both older adults and elementary school aged girls into high-demand Information Technology fields. Professor Wild is a trailblazer in the design and integration of online instruction and has become an expert in the use of technology to rehabilitate brain-injured adults.

Designed to recognize exemplary teaching models, the Pierce award carries with it a $5,000 stipend for each of the awardees and national recognition at the AACCs annual meeting, scheduled April 4-7 in Chicago, Ill. The award is named in honor of AACC president emeritus David R. Pierce, who retired last year.

Microsofts Diana Carew, Manager, Community and Technical College Programs, says promoting excellence in instruction using technology has short- and long-term benefits.

“We believe that it is essential to support our current educational system in integrating advanced technologies and to recognize progressive faculty who are technology “champions,” Carew said. “We are particularly focused on providing future access to those who are in danger of being left behind by the ‘digital divide.”

Working with Washington, D.C., area businesses, Vicki Duggan in 1999 developed the Technology Leading Edge Apprenticeship Program (Tech LEAP), a six-month, 400-hour re-training program targeted to degreed individuals seeking new careers in the IT industry. Of an original 14 students in the program, 11 were offered jobs at salaries as high as $55,000 with interning companies including General Electric, Lockheed Martin, and ACS Governmental Solutions, and others. Added to her work with adult students, Duggan designed a summer camp program to attract middle school aged girls into IT careers. The student-named “GURL Power” program, which plays on the Internet URL designation, focused on developing Web-page design skills and was recognized with a National Association of Counties award in 2000. In its second year, the program added a camp for low-income and English-as-second-language girls, with scholarships sponsored by Montgomery Countys Commission for Women and its High Technology Council.

In addition to designing and implementing online certificate programs for Webmaster and Graphics and Digital Arts, Michelle Wild is faculty technology trainer and coordinates forums for teaching online. Through a series of federal FIPSE grants (Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education), she designed a unique Internet/face-to-face accelerated Associate of Arts degree program, pioneered Internet usage in cognitive rehabilitation in conjunction with Coastlines Acquired Brain Injury Program, and developed Internet-based courses to teach paraprofessionals to retrain brain-injured adults, the first vocational certificate program in the state to be offered entirely online.

Wild also developed a unique application of logo programming to teach critical thinking among brain-injured adults. In addition, she serves as high-tech training specialist to assist disabled students in using adaptive equipment and in employing online and other computerized tools to develop job search strategies.