Persistence, flexibility, empathy, authenticity and passion are a few qualities that make up an excellent professor, according to North Carolina Central University (NCCU) Counselor Education Program Coordinator and Professor, Dr. Peggy P. Whiting.
She was included among 17 of the most exceptional faculty within the University of North Carolina System to receive the prestigious teaching award University North Carolina Board of Governors 2016 Awards for Excellence in Teaching.
Whiting credits her first teaching job as an adjunct psychology professor at a community college in Atlanta as her inspiration to become a successful professor.
“I always knew I loved learning, it seemed to be a natural fit,” Whiting said. “I chose teaching because it is one of the most honorable and humbling professions.”
She has served in numerous positions in higher education and mental health counseling for more than 30 years and has been at NCCU for the past 10 years. Her career in higher education began at Vanderbilt University as an assistant professor.
Whiting has a broad range of teaching experience in three diverse settings – a Level 1 research institution, majority state teaching university and NCCU.
“The No. 1 highlight in teaching I have experienced is to have interacted with such a rich collection of students,” said Whiting. “On a content level, I am proud that I assisted in integrating graduate courses in crisis, grief and trauma counseling into the required curricula for all three universities.”
Whiting’s philosophy of education stresses that education occurs within the context of a relationship between teacher and learner; between student and fellow classmates; and between student and the academic material she or he finds relevant.
“Delivery must be multimodal in order to engage multiple learning styles; education is not simply acquiring information,” said Whiting. “It is the creative synthesis and application of information in service to others and to the world. Education is development – expansion of oneself in a desired direction that molds character and service.”
With a number of factors impacting students’ academic careers and achievement, Whiting maintains that the greatest challenge today is the ability to stay focused.
“Things are extremely fast-paced with little reflective time for higher-order learning,” said Whiting. ”The immediacy in the world can be both a blessing and an affliction.”
Whiting motivates her students to become active learners in the classroom through collaborative discussions and group work. Whiting’s classroom generates great interactions and passionate discussions.
On a normal day in Whiting’s classroom, students will be exhibiting thought-provoked interaction, seeking answers to questions outside of normal instruction, engaging in interactive class presentations, relating world events to coursework, and displaying passion about learning.
Whiting strives to help students apply curriculum learned in her class in creative ways. Her teaching approach helps students remember critical information learned in class through stories and interactions.
Whiting says her greatest satisfaction as a teacher is knowing that she has influenced a student’s professional or personal life. Recently, she received a two-page letter from a former student who took a class from her 15 years ago. The former student said that taking Whiting’s class had shaped her professional work as a counselor with grieving clients.
Whiting earned her Bachelor of Science in sociology and a Master of Education in counseling from the University of West Georgia. She later received an Ed.D. in human development counseling from Vanderbilt University.
Whiting urges new teachers coming into the profession to remain curious about how individuals learn.
“Commit to being changed and/or challenged by your students to lifelong learning, finding mentors who can shape your influence through your personal gifts – teaching is a calling, a responsibility and a sacred privilege,” said Whiting.
Special committees at UNC System schools made nominations for the University North Carolina Board of Governors 2016 Awards for Excellence in Teaching. The Board of Governors’ Committee on Personnel and Tenure selected honorees. Each award winner will receive a commemorative bronze medallion and a $12,500 cash prize. A Board of Governors member will present all awards during each campus’ spring commencement exercises.
Original story/report appeared here: http://www.nccu.edu/news/index.cfm?id=B554BC55-15C5-F8D8-3AEB5209670FDA12