SALISBURY, N.C. – Rowan-Cabarrus Community College recognized the 2019-2020 Excellence in Teaching award recipients at a recent meeting of the Board of Trustees. The award recognizes superior faculty members who go above and beyond expected levels of instruction and elevate educational excellence and student success.
F. Wayne Laney Jr., a full-time criminal justice and emergency management instructor, and Meghan Varner, a part-time social sciences instructor, received the awards.
“Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is committed to providing the highest quality instruction for our students, and we are extremely proud of these educators for their commitment to excellence,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus.
F. Wayne Laney Jr., who was previously named an Excellence in Teaching Award winner for 2016-17, is a decorated law enforcement officer who began as a full-time criminal justice faculty member at Rowan-Cabarrus in August 2015 after serving for a year as an adjunct instructor. In addition to teaching criminal justice, he is also an emergency management instructor and serves as the Work-Based Learning coordinator for the criminal justice program and as the faculty advisor for the Criminal Justice Association. He was a nominee for the 2020 North Carolina Community College System R.J. Reynolds Excellence in Teaching Award.
“It is an honor to be nominated by my students and selected for this award by my peers, and it is a privilege to teach here,” Laney said. “By far, the greatest satisfaction comes in being able to help our students reach their goals.”
Laney holds a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from the University of South Carolina, along with master’s degrees in criminal justice administration and emergency services management. He is in the second year of the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University, specializing in Homeland Security. He also is a 2005 graduate of Leadership Rowan.
Meghan Varner is an adjunct instructor of political science at Rowan-Cabarrus and has more than 10 years of experience providing leadership, management and education for government departments and universities. She was the recipient of UNC Wilmington’s Unsung Hero Award in 2006, UNC Wilmington’s Distinguished Service Award in 2007, and Elon University School of Law’s Certificate of Achievement in Recognition of Superior Commitment to Public Service in 2012. A member of the Town of Spencer’s Planning Board, she also has served on the town’s Zoning Board of Adjustment and worked as a project assistant to the town manager, where she researched and advised on training materials, updates to town policies and ordinances.
“I am so honored to be selected for this award, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of my students’ success,” Varner said. “This has been a unique semester and year, and our main focus has been supporting our students during a difficult time. I appreciate the many resources the College offers to help us do that.”
Varner earned a Juris Doctorate from Elon University School of Law and a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. She holds bachelor’s degrees in political science and business administration, with a minor in history, from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
The Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Excellence in Teaching Award provides a way to recognize faculty members who consistently demonstrate excellence in teaching, dedication to student success and the mission of the College, and whose contributions go above and beyond the standard expectations.
Students initiate the nomination process for the award annually by recommending their top instructors. Students then help narrow that pool of candidates by voting for their favorites. Final nominees are then required to submit an extensive portfolio, letters of recommendation and complete an unannounced, filmed observation.
“Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has a long and proud tradition of hiring highly qualified and dedicated faculty in all of its academic programs,” said Vice President of Academic Programs Dr. Michael Quillen. “The faculty members selected for this year’s Excellence in Teaching Awards certainly continue this tradition and make us proud. These faculty members, and so many others, do a wonderful job of providing high-quality instruction to our students.”