An organization recognizing North America’s most inspiring college staff and instructors honoured three North Island College educators last month.
Sandra Faust, Mickey Bliss, and Albert Balbon each received a National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award at their annual conference and awards ceremony May 23-26 in Austin, Texas.
The awards recognize faculty, staff, and administrators at Canadian and US technical and community colleges who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment and contribution to their students, colleagues, and communities.
“It was such an honour to receive this award alongside Mickey and Albert, as well as colleagues from all over North America who are as passionate about education as we are here at NIC,” said Faust, who has taught fundamental English Upgrading courses at NIC for 14 years.
Faust is a go-to faculty member for many NIC instructors.
Her infectious enthusiasm and passion for learning is obvious from the moment you enter her classroom at NIC, or in the community at Literacy Alberni.
Her classrooms are a home away from home for students, says NIC instructor Mac Newton.
“Sandy is the reason why the fundamental English program thrives at the Port Alberni campus,” said Newton. “She provides a safe learning environment for some of NIC’s most vulnerable learners. She has a record of continual success; many of her students progress into more advanced levels of upgrading and into other college programs.”
Upgrading courses can be challenging to teach, says NIC’s Adult Basic Education program chair, Caitlin Hartnett, but Faust’s thoughtful and engaging approach encourages faculty and students to succeed.
“We count ourselves lucky to have such an inspiring instructor in our department,” said Hartnett, who says Faust recently became a student herself, upgrading her own ESL teaching skills to meet students’ needs.
Faust received her award with NIC Electrical Foundation certificate and apprenticeship instructor Mickey Bliss and Albert Balbon, the architect of NIC’s award-winning Remote Web-based Science Lab, which allows students around the world to access science labs and curriculum online.