WINTERVILLE—The National Institute for Staff & Organizational Development (NISOD) has recognized Pitt Community College Biotechnology Department Chair Christina Weeks for outstanding achievement.
During its 44th International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence in Austin, Texas, NISOD honored Weeks for her many contributions to student success and PCC’s educational mission. She was one of the more than 850 faculty, staff and administrators from 161 community and technical colleges across the nation to receive the honor.
“Christy is a tremendous ambassador for PCC and higher education, in general, and she’s proven herself worthy of a prestigious NISOD Excellence Award through her achievements on campus and in the community,” said PCC President Lawrence L. Rouse. “Because she fully understands that educating and empowering people for success extends beyond the classroom, she is an outstanding instructor and steadfast mentor for her students.”
Weeks was nominated for NISOD recognition after receiving PCC’s most prestigious award for faculty – the Joseph E. Downing Award for Excellence in Teaching – earlier this year in recognition of her extraordinary talent to teach and mentor students who make an immediate impact on the local workforce. Prior to the Downing Award, she was a Faculty Excellence Award recipient in 2006 and PCC’s Woman of Substance Award winner in 2011.
“Christy’s commitment to student success and preparation for a thriving and growing biotechnology career field is what makes her a model of excellence in teaching,” said PCC Arts and Sciences Division Dean Stephanie Rook. “Over the past 22 years, she has worked tirelessly to collaborate with industry partners and secure funding for tuition and state-of-the-art equipment to help students reach their academic goals. We are so proud of her achievements and grateful for this well-deserved recognition.”
In addition to her traditional department chair and teaching duties, Weeks goes to great lengths to promote pharma careers and increase community awareness of biotechnology educational opportunities. She also serves on several college committees and played an integral role in developing educational pathways and training partnerships between PCC, Pitt County Schools (PCS), East Carolina University and the local pharma industry.
In presenting the Downing Award to Weeks in April, PCC Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs & Student Services Thomas Gould cited her ability to forge collaborations across the state and region. He also noted her efforts to create biotechnology programming for the PCC-PCS Technical Academy and her role in establishing the Mayne Pharma Scholars Program, which provides a select group of PCC biotechnology students each year with scholarship funding, a paid internship, and an opportunity to work for the pharmaceutical company after graduation.
For Weeks, teaching is more than explaining to students the procedures for working in laboratories. It’s also about understanding their educational and career goals and developing close relationships with them to understand the barriers they must overcome to achieve success.
“My interactions with students extend beyond the classroom,” Weeks says. “… I usually know a lot about their home life as well as their school life. I serve as resource officer and therapist a good deal of the time, helping students find resources for whatever challenges they are facing ….”
Weeks says her goal as a biotechnology instructor is to ensure students never question why the material she is teaching is important.
“The purpose of biotechnology is to solve problems and enhance our lives, and I make sure that the students experience that daily,” she says. “This generation is motivated to impact our world and make it better, to make a difference. By integrating the ‘why’ into every lecture and lab activity, students are motivated to learn and master the techniques to achieve their life goals.”
Established by the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education, NISOD promotes academic excellence and leadership at the nation’s community and technical colleges. The organization has provided professional development programming for community college personnel for more than 40 years.
The NISOD Excellence Awards were created in 1991 to provide NISOD member colleges an opportunity to recognize individuals doing extraordinary work. Since then, more than 30,000 have received the award, which includes a unique silver medallion engraved with The University of Texas and NISOD insignias and adorned with a burnt orange ribbon.