Nine new instructors have joined the faculty at Richmond Community College in Hamlet, a necessary move to meet the needs of the college’s growing student body.
At the same meeting where the RCC Board of Trustees welcomed the new instructors recently, it was also relishing the latest enrollment figures showing an increase in students — the fourth consecutive year for growth in enrollment.
RCC reported a record 2,568 students enrolled for fall as of Aug. 26, one week into classes. This number is preliminary however. The college is offering 12-week courses beginning Sept. 16, for which students can still register. There are also high school programs that brought in students that were not reported as of last week’s board meeting.
“We are one of the few community colleges in the state that saw continued growth this year,” said RCC President Dale McInnis.
“I don’t know that there is one single factor that has allowed us to continue to increase our enrollment. Our new programs that lead to high-demand careers has helped and the hard work of our faculty and staff to reach out to students and former students were crucial for us this year. It took a lot of hard work from a lot of people on campus and I am proud that our efforts have paid off.
“I am pleased to be able to bring new faculty on board to increase our offerings to our students and am looking forward to another successful year at RCC,” McInnis said.
RCC hired electrical engineer Morteza Talebi of Winter Park, Fla., to meet the growing needs of the EUSRT program. Talebi has a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Gilan University in Rasht, Iran, and a Master of Science in electrical engineering from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. He is currently completing a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Talebi worked as an electrical engineer for Ehdos Control Company in Iran and completed electrical engineering internships at Glacier Bay Technology in Union City, California, and Brady Trane Services in Greensboro. Talebi and his wife, Mehrsa Jafari, live in Pinehurst.
RCC hired additional faculty members to teach classes in math, nursing, human services, welding, biology and religion.
Michelle Chappell of Rockingham is one of two new math instructors at RCC. Chappell taught math in Richmond County schools and has been an adjunct math instructor for RCC. She received a Bachelor of Science in mathematics education and a Master of Arts in mathematics education from The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Chappell and her husband, Patrick, have three daughters, Madelyn, Savannah and Taylor.
Holli Hodges Brown is also a new math instructor for RCC and had been working for the college as an adjunct. She is also a graduate of RCC with an Associate of Science degree. She earned a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and Master of Arts in mathematics from The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She and her husband, Justin, live in Rockingham.
Heather Cox of Laurinburg joins RCC’s nursing staff as a practical nursing instructor. Prior to coming to RCC, she worked as an emergency room staff nurse at Scotland Memorial Hospital. She is a graduate of RCC’s Associate Degree Nursing program and has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Winston-Salem State University. She and her husband, Russell, have a daughter, Emery.
Brenda Huffman of Aberdeen joins the nursing staff as a nursing assistant instructor. She comes to RCC from FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital in Rockingham where she worked in patient care administration and the emergency department. She and her husband, Charles, have five children and 13 grandchildren.
Joni Thomas of Lumberton is a new human services technology instructor who has worked in various mental health positions during the past 10 years. She most recently worked as a provider relations specialist for Eastpointe MCO. She and her husband, Jody, have two sons, Dylan and Logan.
Ricky Freeman of Laurel Hill is a new welding technology instructor for RCC. He is a graduate of RCC with a diploma in welding. Prior to returning to teach at RCC, he was working as a quality specialist for BlueScope Buildings North America in Laurinburg. He and his wife, Kimberley, have two daughters, Misty and Cristy Freeman, and four grandchildren.
Stephen Beck, a new biology instructor, comes to RCC from the Technical College of the Low Country in Beaufort, S.C. Beck received a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering and a Master of Science in biology from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Science in Environmental Science from Ohio State University. He currently lives in Spartanburg but will be relocating to the area with his two dogs, Karlton and Sable.
Doug Carter of Rockingham is a new religion instructor at RCC. He has a Bachelor of Science in agronomy from North Carolina State University and a Master of Arts in ethics from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Prior to coming to RCC, he taught horticulture and agriculture at Richmond Senior High School. Carter has one son, Aaron.
“We are extremely excited and fortunate to attract high quality faculty to RCC,” said Tony Clarke, vice president of instruction.
“Our new faculty members possess the academic credentials and real world experience that allows them to effectively help our students learn and reach their educational goals. They will bring a new perspective to an already high performing faculty,” Clarke said.