Saturday, September 14, 2013

New Faculty Chairs add to Rio Salado’s Teaching Core

Rio Salado College welcomes three new residential faculty chairs this fall.

Holly Harper, M.Ed.

Holly Harper, Faculty Chair for Dental Programs, is a walking example of Rio Salado’s mission to serve working adults. Harper earned her bachelor’s degree in health science 26 years after graduating from Temple University with an associate degree in dental hygiene.

“I know first-hand what it is like to return to school as an adult learner working full time,” Harper said.

Harper decided to pursue a career in dental hygiene while in high school.

“My high school was vocational based,” Harper said. “I had great mentors and teachers in the dental assisting program, and was hooked after that.”

Harper began her teaching career at Rio Salado in 2008, so coming back as faculty chair was like a homecoming.

“I am so excited to be back,” Harper said. “The faculty are great. Everyone has been so helpful and welcoming. I feel like I am home!”

Rosslyn R. Knight, M.Ed.
Rosslyn R. Knight, Faculty Chair for Reading, is no stranger to Rio Salado College. Knight has taught in the Maricopa Community College District as an adjunct for the past 10 years, and has been in the education field for 20 years.

“I began my professional career teaching English to adults in Sierra Leone, West Africa,” Knight said. However, she began teaching even earlier.

“When I was in eighth grade, my mom ran a preschool out of our home,” Knight said. “When I came home from school every day, my job was to teach basic Spanish to the children. I was so intrigued by the whole process of teaching and learning, I decided then that teaching was my calling!”

Knight enjoys teaching in the online environment at Rio Salado.

“As an instructor, I like the flexibility that online learning allows,” Knight said. “For students that may have many responsibilities, it allows them a way to participate when it is convenient for their schedule.”

Corey Pruitt, M.S.
As Faculty Chair for Communications, Corey Pruitt brings a wealth of communications experience and knowledge to his new position, as well as a true passion for the discipline.

“I have always been fascinated by how people communicate, even when they think they are not communicating,” Pruitt said. “Communication impacts all areas of our lives. If we were more effective at communication, it would positively impact our relationships, businesses, and families.”

Pruitt pursued teaching to help others be more successful in a flexible learning environment.

“Online learning combines the rich experience of the instructor with the latest technology and easy access for an enhanced learning environment,” Pruitt said.

As for using technology as a communication tool, Pruitt is on board.

“I connect with my students by sending welcome videos and answering many of their emails with video email responses or Screenshare responses,” Pruitt said. “I figure, if the student can ‘see’ me talking, they can see my smile, hear my laugh, and know that I am here to support them in their journey.”

This story can also be found in the September 14 edition of the Tempe Republic.