Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Former student Diane Blackwell, seated, is pictured in Tri-County Technical College's Office Skills Center with Instructor/Director Barbara Hammond, who was awarded the Outstanding Continuing Education Non-Credit Instructor Award by the South Carolina Association for Higher Continuing Education (SCAHCE). 

Barbara Hammond Receives Outstanding Continuing Education Non-Credit Instructor Award by SCAHCE


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                            11/15/2011

                                                                                                (By Lisa Garrett)

            ANDERSON --- Barbara Hammond, director of the Office Skills Center for the Corporate and Community Education (CCE) of Tri-County Technical College, was awarded the Outstanding Continuing Education Non-Credit Instructor Award by the South Carolina Association for Higher Continuing Education (SCAHCE). 

            SCAHCE is the statewide association that promotes Corporate and Community Education and professional development for both two- and four-year colleges.

            This award recognizes the faculty member or instructor (full or part-time) employed by the institution to teach continuing education non-credit courses.

            Since 1990, Hammond has served as the College's Continuing Education Office Skills instructor.  In this position, she is responsible for teaching a variety of office skills and computer software packages.  The Office Skills Center is unique in that instead of classes in a traditional classroom setting with one instructor teaching one course at a time, students take their classes in a lab setting during the day, evening or weekend at two of the College's campuses (Anderson and Pendleton). Students work on one class at a time independently of other students.  Students schedule up to 25 lab hours to complete a course. 

            Hammond was the first person Diane Blackwell called when she landed a new job in a new field after two years of persistent searching, planning, networking and finally retraining.

            "She was the one who told me to keep looking and not give up. She helped me to acclimate myself to retraining for a new career," said Blackwell, who was laid off from the banking industry in 2009 following the nation's economic crisis and consequent downsizing in the industry. "She knew I could even when I didn't," she said. 

            "Barbara is always willing to go that extra step so you don't feel alone," said Blackwell, who, after completing multiple certificates in the Office Skills Center at the Anderson Campus, was offered a job this past summer as a patient counselor at AnMed Health's main campus. 

           "I teach Office Skills to mostly older adults, dislocated workers, and people who desire a career change," said Hammond.  "I can empathize with my students so well because, as an older student, I attended classes full time, worked full time and managed a household and two children.  I know how difficult it can be juggling so many responsibilities.  Most of my students have lost their jobs due to plant closings and need new skills to change their careers.  I feel such a sense of pride in seeing adults, who are so intimidated and apprehensive at first, complete their classroom training, and then obtain new positions in the workplace.  I am very fortunate to be able to work at Tri-County Technical College, a place I love, doing a job that I truly enjoy." 

            "I have had the pleasure of working with Barbara for almost 20 years, during which time I have found her to be one of the most dedicated and hard-working instructors that we have at Tri-County," said Dr. Brian Swords, who worked with Hammond in CCE for years before he was named director of the Easley Campus.  "She's always the first to lend a hand when anyone needs help.  She is also the most encouraging person I've ever met.  She consistently receives outstanding evaluations on her classes from her students, and she never turns down a challenge, or the opportunity to "wear another hat."

            Dr. Swords commended Hammond's willingness to accept challenges and take on addition duties.  "Barbara takes on new challenges, develops new programs, and expands her level of knowledge and responsibility.  She always puts the students first.  Recently, she was asked to design a program to train workers at a new national call center that located to the area.  Barbara trained countless workers for this company and received the praise of many of the company's officials."  

            "Barbara not only instructs, she serves as a mentor and encourager," said Hammond's supervisor, Sandra Strickland, who is director of business training for CCE.   "The connection Barbara builds with her students is instrumental in her high student retention rate."

             She added, "Barbara has made an impact on hundreds of students over the past 20 years.  Here is just one example of how Barbara has touched the lives of many students.  Recently, the College offered a series of basic computer classes for unemployed individuals through the WIA program.  The students had no computer skills and were on a very limited income.  At the end of the class, the students took up a collection so that they could purchase a thank you card and flowers for Barbara.  She touched their lives and made a difference in just three short weeks.  They were forever grateful and wanted to make sure that she knew how much they appreciated her patience, encouragement, and for helping them to learn and not be afraid of continuing to learn."

             "Barbara truly embodies the dedicated, caring and nurturing attitude that is found in continuing education instructors," said Dr. Swords.

            Hammond earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Limestone University and a master's in education from Clemson University.  She and her husband, Robert, live in Sandy Springs.


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