12/28/12 — WCC instructor in top 10 for teacher of year

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WCC instructor in top 10 for teacher of year

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 28, 2012 1:46 PM

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Charlotte Brow

A beloved history instructor at Wayne Community College has been named one of 10 semi-finalists for the N.C. community college system's teacher of the year award.

Charlotte Brow was among 58 candidates for the annual honor.

And while she may not go down in history for proceeding to the next round of competition, many say she has already left a lasting footprint on the hearts of students and staff alike since she first started teaching there 14 years ago.

The Fayetteville native moved to Wayne County in 1988, when she became site manager at the Charles B. Aycock Birthplace state historic site.

"I started teaching out here part-time," she recalled. "They needed somebody to take over Western Civilization at night. I thought that would be a great way to use my degree."

Soon after, her husband, Carl Brow also started working at the college, as a counselor in the Allied Health program.

Her passion for history is evident, and often contagious because of the creative ways she represents the subject.

In 2006, she had students research the history of barbecue in Goldsboro, incorporating such skills as locating information.

When a professor had the idea of bringing a pow wow to the campus, or another suggested an international festival, Mrs. Brow was sought after to bring the concept to fruition.

Other efforts have included formation of the WCC cultural diversity/global education task force, mentoring students as they created an exhibit on the religions of Wayne County for the Wayne County Museum of History, and putting together the histories of Old Waynesborough Park and for the college's 50th anniversary.

She has been awarded the Distinguished Chair award at the college and this past spring was recipient of the George E. Wilson Excellence in Teaching Award, which in turn elevated her into the running for the state recognition.

Her teaching style varies from lecture and discussion to a practical application of what they learn, all with the intent of preparing students to become citizens of the world, she says.

"To encourage students to try thinking outside of Wayne County, outside of North Carolina, outside of the United States, that's important to me," she said. "If you understand your neighbor, you'll want to get along with them better."

Her philosophy, she said, is that we all learn from our past.

"I think with American history, you hope you're developing something that will become part of life-long learning for them," she said. "You really want them to gain an appreciation for history. It's one of the things that no matter what you do in life, you'll use that knowledge, that experience of how our country was founded.

"When you vote, when you interact with your children, when you drive around different places where you're traveling or live, you just gain an appreciation for your country and try to understand why it is the way it is today."

Mrs. Brow is a highly respected member of the faculty.

Steven Crowder, who runs the college's writing center, actually changed his major after taking one of her classes. The former engineering major recently received his master's degree in teaching history at the community college level.

"Community colleges to me are so incredibly important," he said. "They fill a niche that universities leave behind. (And Mrs. Brow) is so engaged. She's always about using new technology, any method she can use to get information across."

Sue McClenny, psychology instructor, wrote the nomination for Mrs. Brow's latest honor.

"I have the benefit of being able to hear students come by," she said. "It's not uncommon for students to come by who are no longer in her class, to talk about history. She leaves a lasting impression."

Tracey Ivey, division head of arts and sciences, humanities and social sciences, has been a friend since college.

"She's just one of those naturals, she's just a naturally great teacher," she said. "The students pick up on the fact that she really cares about their success and puts a tremendous amount of time into her classes.

"I like what her mother-in-law says, 'Charlotte came straight off the Christmas tree.'"