SALISBURY, N.C. – Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has recognized two instructors as its 2020-2021 Excellence in Teaching award recipients. The award recognizes superior faculty members who go above and beyond expected levels of instruction and elevate educational excellence and student success.
Eric Savage, a full-time math instructor, and Sondra Thorson, a part-time business administration instructor, received the awards.
“We are beyond proud of these educators for their dedication to excellence in serving our students,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is committed to providing the highest quality instruction.”
Savage believes his three children, ages 6, 4, and 1, make him a better teacher. “I watch them learn things every day, and I explain things to them every day,” he said. His favorite part of teaching, especially math, is knowing that he is helping people in their personal lives, whether they realize it or not.
“Nowadays, mathematics is everywhere we look, whether in complex engineering models, social media posts, pandemic and vaccine statistics, or how to compute the interest on a mortgage,” he says. “Wherever you go, you will need to know some level of math. Although they may not love the subject as I do, I hope that after my class, students will at least have a healthy respect for its place in their lives.”
Savage holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, with a minor in History, from Lees-McRae College and earned a Master of Science degree in Mathematics with a minor in Statistics from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. He has taught at Rowan-Cabarrus since 2013.
After earning her Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees from West Virginia University, Thorson worked as a business manager and property manager for several organizations. She currently owns and manages her own small businesses, including an equine facility and several investment groups. An adjunct faculty member at Rowan-Cabarrus for more than 15 years, Thorson finds joy in seeing her students advance their personal and professional development.
“I am so honored to be selected for this award, and I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the success of my students at Rowan-Cabarrus,” Thorson said.
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. Final nominees are required to submit an extensive portfolio, letters of recommendation and complete an unannounced, filmed observation.
“At Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, we are proud of the highly qualified and dedicated faculty who make our academic programs so strong,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president. “Eric Savage and Sondra Thorson are shining examples of our tradition of hiring caring, professional instructors, and they are both very deserving of this honor.”