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Spotlight Employee – Mandy Jordan

July 22, 2015


The Science Department at York Technical College firmly believes in paying it forward. This habit often manifests itself in little things such as buying coffee for the person behind you in the drive thru, organizing birthday celebrations, or lifting up each others accomplishments such as the Spotlight Employee recognition.

Paying it forward also acts as a butterfly movement. It is those little habits that create the foundation for very important intangibles such as engagement, energy, and positivity. This foundation is crucial in education because instructors spend most of their waking moments actively planning, teaching, grading, advising, and trying to figure out what more we can do for our students. We need the support from our peers knowing they are there for us to bounce ideas around, and to remind us that what we do is important. In essence, we need positive support to keep moving forward.

The strong connections within the Science Department must be working.  On multiple occasions, our science department has received the President’s Award which is given to faculty who exemplify excellence in education and community. I applaud the camaraderie, strength, and support of our Science Department.

Here is an excerpt from the Science Department’s Spotlight Employee recognition:

“If the list of values below could be rolled up into one unit you would have Mandy Jordan. She clearly excels in teaching constantly adapting and changing, taking the initiative to use new methods to improve student mastery of material. As a leader of a team she has never hesitated to take time to help me with things I was still struggling to learn. Mandy has worked to change the lecture from simply one instructor speaking the whole time to more student involvement thru in-class activities. She has used technology to provide students with after class instruction whether thru Socrates or thru on-line tutoring. She has freely offered to share the successful techniques she uses with any instructor so that all students receive a higher level of instruction. As a new adjunct instructor, with much to learn, I cannot imagine how I would have done without a leader like Mandy to guide me and answer the many questions that I have had. Sometimes asking the same question; but, Mandy always took the time to teach me again. I am very fortunate.”

Congratulations Mandy!

Potential, persistance, and a great person

June 17, 2015

Seeing potential can be a gift and a curse, especially for instructors. It is a gift because you can see deeper into the individual before you. You can see despite his or her inner critic, without a shadow of a doubt, if s/he simply leaps over that victim hurdle, s/he will do wonderful things and make a positive impact on our community. It is a curse when no matter how hard you try the inner critic takes over, drying the once malleable clay before you, preventing any chance to achieve potential.

To prevent students from throwing away potential I often ask them to come by and see me. With one on one attention I can get real reflection and answers to questions such as, “How are you separating yourself from the pack?” and “What behaviors do you repeat that will make you different, employable, and motivated to continue despite frustration?” Today, I’m proud to tell you a story of one student who did just that.

Sitting before me in his first year an eager, yet frustrated student looked at me with determination. At times, I could see distractions creeping in, dwindling motivation, fear and frustration, the desire to change direction when things were difficult. However, I could also see potential, and with a little encouragement I could see him focusing, caring about his spelling, caring about working hard, caring about his work ethic. Learning does not come easily for everyone and at times he described how difficult writing was, but with persistence and a reminder of his potential this student excelled.

Outside of class, I learned much more about this student. I learned he knew how to reach out to all of his instructors for help and guidance. I learned of many tainted experiences he had in high school as well as his desire to work, make money, and provide for himself. What I learned outside of class truly helped me inside of class. I enjoyed our talks and then like a flash he would swiftly move on to his next task with a bright smile and a quip. My favorite was “Happy Monday.”

This student, this wonderful person, is a pleasure to know. He graduated with honors, has an associate’s degree, and works for the college. Everyone in our community receives his gift each day as he spreads happiness and gratitude for a college that believed in him.

LibAnywhere comes to York Tech Indian Land Campus

January 9, 2015

Contribution from our Librarian, Erinnae Cline

New to Indian Land is our new “LibAnywhere” unit, similar to a Redbox. Using their student ID, students at Indian Land may now check out and return library materials at the off-campus Indian Land location. We purchased the unit in order to better fulfill our mission to provide services comparable to the ones offered at Main Campus. We’re hoping that this will help provide students with the materials they need to be successful in their assignments, as well as provide materials for personal development.

This is a particularly exciting addition to Indian Land because York Tech is the only institution (aside from the piloting institution) to acquire this technology in the United States! However, we are the first in the United States to offer the option of email receipts for transactions in cases where students do not desire a paper receipt.

To use the machine, the student scans his/her library card or enters his/her student ID number, and the door to the machine opens. Anything that is removed from the machine is automatically charged to his/her library account. To return materials, students need only to once again scan their ID to open the door, and replace the items they wish to return. Items will automatically be removed from their account.

We hope that offering this service at Indian Land will be a convenient way for off-campus students to increase their connection to York Tech.

Check Your Gauges

November 25, 2014

When the work seems endless, and the papers pile up, establish some benchmarks for success; your brain will thank you. Motivation is a large part of developing your emotional intelligence. Setting goals is great; creating action items to support those goals is better; holding yourself accountable is marvelous; and evaluating your own performance is the key.

What are you doing to maintain motivation as the holidays creep closer? This is the time of year when people discuss running out of time. Maintaining success means spending time on the important, mission critical tasks while planning time for evaluating and improving your processes. It is important to check your self-awareness and be strategic about the enormous amounts of energy that will be soaked up by the holiday season such as shopping, entertaining, and budgeting both your time and money. All of these outside forces will work together to pull you away from doing your job, or doing it well. To maintain the right level of achievement, keep a temperature check on your emotional intelligence with a focus on self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation.

As the workload increases, create some specific action items to build in the feeling of accomplishment. Accomplishments feed the brain with the right chemical balance to create endorphins. We can all relate to the endless emails, paperwork, and meetings which drain the life out of our motivation. During this crazy season, remember your brain needs to feel successful to keep you motivated and on track.

You may find yourself asking, “What is this all for?” This is the question we ask when we are running on empty. Renew your sense of purpose and value by filling your tank. (I often joke that we take better care of our cell phones than we do our own brains.) Create awareness by checking your gauges. What are your levels of tolerance, energy, and accomplishment? Take charge, list your tasks as actionable items, and build in opportunities to nurture your brain so that it is open to the chemical balance needed for optimum performance.

Motivational Moments – “I believe that we will win”

July 9, 2014

How exciting the 2014 World Cup has been for the USA! The sports news is filled with commentary regarding the confidence, grit, and will of the USA team competing in this world competition. An image forever burned on our memories came from a commercial. The USA team’s powerful slogan was delivered by a confident goalie looking right into our homes, right into our eyes.  He said, “I believe that we will win.”

What is magical about this moment is its simplicity.  The power of words. Tim Howard believed it, so I believed it. His teammates believed it, and together they played better than they have ever played. Then, the world started to believe it. Tim’s words inspired me, not to play soccer, but to believe in the possibility of making an impact. 

This is what educators must do. We must believe in the possibility of every student that walks through our doors. We can’t make our students be motivated, but we can believe that our efforts will make a difference. We can believe in the possibilities that our jobs, what we do on a daily basis, impacts lives. The following video includes inspirational videos from powerful faculty and staff at our college. These Motivational Moments are meant to showcase our belief that we will win.  Enjoy!

A Focus on You with help from the Lilly Conferences

March 31, 2014

The following resources regarding Lilly Conferences provide excellent opportunities for growth as you commit to being a life long learner. You can access research, set a goal to present, or set a goal to write a scholarly article.

For 34 years, the Lilly Conferences on College and University Teaching and Learning have been known as exceptional places to present and to learn from faculty colleagues on effective teaching and learning. This interdisciplinary teaching conference includes faculty, administrators, and graduate students from across the United States and abroad. Participants are given the opportunity to exchange ideas, build a repertoire of skills that can be put to immediate use, and to network with colleagues. The overall conference theme for the Lilly Conference series is “Evidence-Based Teaching and Learning.” Each of the Lilly Conferences are unique, but they all share the same great Lilly community spirit.

Lilly Conferences Time Sensitive Announcements
Lilly Spring International Conference – Bethesda, MD
May 29 – June 1, 2014
Please join us this spring for an exceptional line-up of outstanding faculty members who will present evidence-based strategies designed to get us all thinking about new ways to teach our students. Plenary presenters include: David Daniel, James Madison University; Ray Land, Durham University, UK; Katherine Rowell, Sinclair Community College; and Peter Seldin, Pace University. Regular Registration ends April 29th. Conference schedule and presenter list is available on the conference website.

Lilly National – Traverse City, MI: Oct 16-19, 2014
Proposal submissions are currently being accepted. The call for proposals is open through May 5th at which time submissions will be sent out for blind peer review. As always, group discounts are available (for more information contact

Lilly Fall International Conference – Oxford, OH Nov 20 – 23, 2014
We are excited to announce the first scheduled plenary session for Lilly Ohio: Small-Group Learning Models in Higher Education: Cooperative, Collaborative, Problem-Based, and Team-Based Learning, by Neil Davidson, University of Maryland, Claire Major, University of Alabama, and Larry Michaelsen, University of Central Missouri. Neil, Claire, and Larry are also guest editing a 2014 issue of the Journal on Excellence in College Teaching on this topic. More plenary sessions will be announced soon. The conference call for proposals is now open.

Save the Date
Lilly National – Austin, TX: 4 – 7 2015
Lilly National – Newport Beach, CA: Feb 19 – 22, 2015

Introducing the Scholarly Teacher Blog
We are pleased to introduce the newest way to share Lilly Conference evidence-based ideas, topics, tips, and conference session recaps: The Scholarly Teacher Blog. Please check out blog postings at:

Journal Updates
Reminder: Lilly Conference participants are invited to develop their teaching and learning research into a submission to the Journal on Excellence in College Teaching. For information about subscribing, submitting manuscripts, or other inquiries, visit the Journal website (

Submitted by
Todd Zakrajsek, PhD
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February 25, 2014

The South Carolina Technical Education Association (SCTEA) celebrated its 40th anniversary during the annual conference this past weekend; and what a fantastic celebration it was. The SCTEA@2014: The future is now! conference was an impressive representation of valuing the shared mission throughout the state. The collective passion, experience, and leadership of the 16 colleges within the system was demonstrated throughout the three day celebration. The quality of sessions and the engaging keynote speakers amounted to a successful event. The conference is an impressive networking opportunity, bringing together the same concepts that make our students successful: connections, collaboration, and awareness.

The SCTEA conference demonstrated the value of bringing that collective experience together, in a face to face environment, to build relationships and engagement. Employee engagement is a hot topic in business, so much so that recently Dale Carnegie has written six white papers on the subject. The research clearly states the value and return on investment of an engaged employee, and Dale Carnegie suggests the following five key positive emotions to support engagement: inspired, enthusiastic, empowered, confident, and valued.

Conference participants did not have to reach far to connect the mission of the SCTEA, the powerful keynote speakers, the session topics, and wonderful vendors (and prizes!) to the five key positive emotions of engagement. Although the keynote topics discussed different stages in life (from breaking the silos of education to supporting a dignified retirement), they both implored us to be engaged and care about the future of our state.

Kudos to SCTEA for an inspirational conference continuing the mission of the organization and impacting the engagement of its members.