Amy Borders DSC5310
Amy Borders

Press Release                                                                                                                                                    
Date: May 2, 2024
Contact: lgarrett@tctc.edu

Amy Borders Honored with Presidential Medallion for Instructional Excellence

PENDLETON --- Tri-County Technical College English instructor Amy Borders’ commitment to student success, through her innovative teaching practices and co-curricular student support activities, earned her the College’s highest faculty award today (May 2). 

She was honored with the Presidential Medallion for Instructional Excellence at the College's spring convocation. The medallion is presented each year to the instructor who has contributed the most during the academic year to the profession of teaching, to the development of the College and to the students.

TCTC President Galen DeHay made the presentation.

Borders has taught English in the Arts and Sciences Division for the past 17 years.

“I am so grateful to work every day at a place where I feel valued, acknowledged, and connected, and I am very honored to be selected for this award,” Borders said.  

Her colleagues across the College describe her as a caring and effective instructor.

“Amy creates opportunities for students to individually learn and connect with learning,” said Jennifer Hulehan, dean of the Arts and Sciences division. 

She noted Borders’ willingness to be available to students in both teaching and advising. “Amy regularly volunteers to find new ways to help students. She takes her job as an advisor to heart; her care and concern for students is evident in nearly every interaction she has with them.”

Crystal Pitrois-Takayama, assistant dean of the Academic and Career Foundations (ACF) division, said Borders’ reputation as an effective and caring educator facilitated her involvement with the English PLUS program. “Amy was chosen specifically for involvement in the English Plus program not only because of her ability to maintain rigor in the freshman composition course, but also because of her ability to provide support for students who struggle with writing and research. Her contributions to the English Plus program have been crucial to its success,” said Takayama.

A common thread throughout nomination support statements was her attitude—Dr. Brian Smith, assistant dean of the Arts and Sciences Division,  wrote: “Amy is full of energy daily and it shows in the work she does with her students.  She celebrates the big and the small with her students through regular communication.  She goes above and beyond to ensure that students get what they need to be successful.”

Borders has maintained a commitment to lifelong learning and continuous improvement demonstrated through her participation as an inaugural member of the Rural Educator Academy (REA) over the past year. TCTC’s Cohort 1 was comprised of 10 faculty, staff and college leaders.

The work of TCTC’s first cohort of the REA has been intentionally focused on discussing and understanding the needs of under-resourced students and developing specific success strategies to meaningfully connect with them individually - both in and out of the classroom.

REA is a professional development venture designed to cultivate the competencies and skills required for Appalachian community college faculty, student services staff, and leaders to improve rural student outcomes, particularly for lower income students and students of color.

TCTC participants were able to interact and engage with all participating colleges through reflections, readings and discussion boards.  The group learned that building these student relationships improves student outcomes especially for the under-resourced population. 

The group’s capstone project was designed to be meaningful and connect and expand upon the work to best serve under-resourced students. REA members partnered with the IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access) Council and United Way of Anderson County to offer a Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS). CAPS is an interactive immersion experience. This experience sensitizes community participants to the realities of poverty.

Later Borders co-presented on this initiative at the 2023 Community Colleges of Appalachia conference in Asheville, N.C.

Cohort member Som Linthicum, director of TCTC’s Learning Commons, said, “From our kick-off meeting in Knoxville with our REA partner institutions to our capstone project and workshops here at home, Amy brought her ever-present excitement and enthusiasm to the cause.  Throughout the process, Amy kept the student experience at the forefront of our efforts, while providing an important faculty perspective on student support in and beyond the classroom. In addition to her considerable instructional skills and experience, Amy brought a compassionate understanding of both the student and faculty experience in tandem, placing each in the context of the other and providing much needed empathy and perspective to the always dynamic student-instructor relationship.”

Borders serves as an integral part of the College’s graduation ceremonies by serving as a marshal.

She also is a longtime faculty advisor for Alpha Zeta Beta (AZB), TCTC’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), a national honors society for two-year colleges. She served as an advisor from 2016-2023, earning the Advisor of the Year award in 2022.

Linda Jameison, vice president of Student Support and Engagement at TCTC, sums up Borders’s reputation for co-curricular engagement and support:

“Amy is also a colleague that can be counted on to collaborate with our out-of-classroom learning opportunities.  Her ideas help to bridge the in and out of classroom initiatives, recognizing that whole student development is integral to assisting students to reach their own life goals. I have always been impressed with her energy and desire to help students achieve what they didn’t know they could. She meets them where they are and connects intentionally with each individual.”

Borders holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from Clemson University.

About Tri-County Technical College
Tri-County Technical College, a public two-year community and technical college serving Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties in South Carolina, enrolls more than 9,000 students annually and offers more than 70 major fields of study, including computer technology, business administration, mechatronics, nursing, and university transfer programs. Tri-County boasts the highest student success rate among two-year colleges in the state and ranks in the top one percent nationally for successful student transfers to four-year colleges and universities. To learn more, visit tctc.edu. 

-30-