ACTC faculty meeting students' needs
Aug. 6, 2020
This is the 12th installment in a series of employee spotlights for Ashland Community
and Technical College to highlight how faculty and staff are helping students while
Despite the change in delivery method, ACTC’s employees are dedicated to providing the best support possible to its students.
Name: Jonathan Joy
City of Residence: Huntington, W.Va.
Education: MA English 2004 and BFA Theatre 1998, both from Marshall University.
Role(s) at ACTC and how you interact with students: Associate professor of writing, I teach ENG 101, 102 and 207.
How long have you been with ACTC? 10 years
What are your favorite things about working at ACTC? I love teaching and working collaboratively with students as we all develop and enhance our appreciation for writing and the arts.
Special accomplishments while working at ACTC? Teaching Excellence Award nominations for 10 straight years; three First Among Peers awards and one First Among Firsts award.
How would your co-workers describe you? Hopefully, kind, knowledgeable and hard-working.
Who is your biggest role model and why: My parents for teaching me the importance of education and following your heart/dreams.
If the students I work with learn one thing, I hope it is… that writing is a vital skill in the academic and business world, but it can also be a lot of fun for personal, expressive and creative reasons. And that everyone has a story to tell.
How are you assisting students or other college employees during the pandemic and what should students know about your area of service during this time? I am accessible online daily, even evenings and weekends, via email, phone calls and/or virtual face to face meetings.
Name: Danny Pancake
City of Residence: Ironton, Ohio
Education: Associate in Applied Science from ACTC.
Role(s) at ACTC and how you interact with students: I am an associate professor and instructor of machine tools in the Computerized Manufacturing and Machining program.
How long have you been with ACTC? 25 years
What are your favorite things about working at ACTC? I like the freedom to structure my course as well as the freedom our college gives me to shape the program, including machinery. I enjoy the interaction with individual students as we get acquainted and get involved in the learning process. I also love using the excellent machinery ACTC has afforded the CMM program for making parts and projects. I enjoy the respect and friendship of the other teachers and administrators but my favorite thing of all is the goodwill of our school. From top to bottom throughout the system we want our students to succeed and our fellow employees to do well; ACTC is a special place.
Special accomplishments while working at ACTC? I have grown from a machinist into an instructor of machine tools. I have learned so many things that would have been impossible in the manufacturing environment because in class we cover every area of machine tool practice. I have completed both the 65-credit hour program with Morehead State University for Vocational instruction and I have completed my Associate in Applied Science from ACTC.
How would your co-workers describe you? I hope they would say I'm friendly, agreeable, helpful and committed to my craft and also committed to the success of ACTC.
Who is your biggest role model and why: Billy Graham, his commitment to goodness, integrity and excellence was inspiring.
If the students I work with learn one thing, I hope it is…To be a good representative of the craft that they have learned and a good representative of the school.
How are you assisting students during the pandemic and what should students know about your area of service during this time? I am placing course materials online for my students and I am available to help anyone.
Name: Mark Smith
City of Residence: Catlettsburg, Ky.
Education: Morehead State University Bachelor of Science with an emphasis in Industrial Technology and option in electricity and electronics technology (1999); Ashland Community College Associate of Arts (1987).
Role(s) at ACTC and how you interact with students: Program coordinator and assistant professor of the Industrial Maintenance program. I am a mentor, teacher and advisor to my students. I give them insight into how to be successful in the industrial world.
How long have you been with ACTC? Currently on my sixth year.
What are your favorite things about working at ACTC? Getting to work with the students and teaching them about industrial maintenance.
Special accomplishments while working at ACTC? I worked to get a Perkins grant for a Fanuc industrial robot trainer to be able to teach my students robotics. Because of this, ACTC now offers a certificate for Industrial Maintenance Robotics Technician, in addition to four other certificates offered in the program. Of course, we also offer an Associate of Applied Science degree in Industrial Maintenance Technology.
How would your co-workers describe you? Hard working and has the utmost concern for his students.
Who is your biggest role model and why: I have had many great role models in my life, too many to just name one. I did have an instructor at Morehead State that had a tremendous impact on my life and if not for him I wouldn’t have completed my bachelor’s degree work. His name was Amahd Zagari and was a professor and division chair at MSU. His work ethic was like no one I have ever seen and coupled with his enthusiasm for technical education, he really inspired students to do better. Other great mentors to me would be professors Harold Henry and Curtis Bowman.
If the students I work with learn one thing, I hope it is… That if you work hard and preserver, you can and will be successful in life.
How are you assisting students during the pandemic and what should students know about your area of service during this time? I keep in touch with my students by many methods including email and Facebook. I answer their questions and maintain assignments on blackboard to keep them engaged.
Name: Susan Wallace-Vernatter
City of Residence: South Point, Ohio
Education: Associate of Science in Nursing 1987 at Ashland Community College; Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management at Bellevue University.
Role(s) at ACTC and how you interact with students: I teach lab skills to students in the Practical Nursing program and arrange for clinical experiences. I organize and arrange the lab for specific skills we are practicing so students can practice on mannequins prior to people. I work with students in clinical settings and take them to facilities so they can learn the setting and how to provide patient care on real people. I am part of a team effort to educate bedside nurses. I serve on several committees and represent ACTC at the KCTCS System as Senator at Large. I have been a nurse practicing in the emergency department for many years and this has been a new learning experience for me. Like beginning a new career, but I have loved the journey.
How long have you been with ACTC? I have been at ACTC since 2012 as adjunct clinical faculty and took a fulltime position in 2013.
What are your favorite things about working at ACTC? I love my students! We get to know our students so well in the PN program. I make it a point to learn about them personally, what their struggles may be and their strengths. Nursing school is difficult and sometimes our students are not prepared for the rigorous curriculum. I make it a point to be there in the mornings before class begins to greet and encourage them.
Special accomplishments while working at ACTC? Being nominated for the Teaching Excellence award is a big honor. I believe the biggest honor has been being asked by the students in some classes to speak at their pinning ceremony. Working with a group as a team and being part of the team has made me happy. I have also been promoted at each opportunity. I am currently an associate professor.
How would your co-workers describe you? No nonsense. Sometimes very emotional and passionate.
Who is your biggest role model and why: My mom is my biggest role model and my biggest fan! She is the kindest, most compassionate person I know. My mom is 88 years young and still strong and independent yet sweet and naive. She has set the best example of “always doing the right thing” that I have ever known. She never just said it, she lived it!
If the students I work with learn one thing, I hope it is…to believe in themselves! People can do anything if they believe they can do it and are willing to work to achieve.
How are you assisting students during the pandemic and what should students know about your area of service during this time? I am contacting them regularly. I am still grading skills done via YouTube videos and giving them my input on how to improve or what a great job they did. I am still attending clinicals with them all day on Monday and Tuesday while we learn how to care for patients with specific conditions through simulation. They should know that this has not been easy for this technologically challenged older lady to learn to use various programs and that I miss them all in person very much!