Vance-Granville Community College President Dr. Stelfanie Williams recently presented the college’s annual awards to a pair of outstanding VGCC employees. Law Enforcement Training coordinator/instructor Andrea H. Ferguson of Manson was chosen as the Faculty Member of the Year for 2016-17, while Kathy J. Wolford of Oxford, the college’s distance education assistant, was named Staff Member of the Year.
The honors are two of VGCC’s three Glen Raven Excellence in Teaching and Leadership Awards. Glen Raven, Inc., the manufacturer with a site in Norlina, is a longtime VGCC supporter and partner. In addition to sponsoring the annual stipends to recognize excellence among VGCC instructors and staff members, Glen Raven has endowed several scholarships for students.
Ferguson and Wolford are now eligible to be considered for the N.C. Community College System’s statewide R.J. Reynolds Excellence in Teaching and BB&T Staff Person of the Year awards, respectively.
“Andrea and Kathy represent the high caliber of Vance-Granville’s faculty and staff, who consistently strive for excellence in helping students succeed while promoting innovation and accessibility,” President Williams said. “As alumni of VGCC, they also embody the power of education to change lives, through preparing adults for new careers or training the public safety professionals who serve our communities.”
Andrea Ferguson first joined the VGCC faculty in 1998, teaching Criminal Justice Technology courses. She served as head of the Criminal Justice program for three years. In 2013-2014, Ferguson developed and implemented a Criminal Justice “cohort” program that resulted in 18 law enforcement officers graduating with an associate degree. In 2015, she became the college’s coordinator/instructor of law enforcement training, including the Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program. Ferguson also oversees in-service training for law enforcement, corrections and detention officers from throughout the region served by VGCC.
A 1997 graduate of the BLET program that she leads today, Ferguson is a former Vance County deputy sheriff and former part-time officer with the Littleton Police Department. She currently serves as an auxiliary deputy with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.
Ferguson earned a bachelor’s degree in Law Enforcement and Corrections at North Carolina Central University and a master’s in Criminology at Indiana State University. She is a member of the North Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Association, the North Carolina Training Officers Association, the NCCCS BLET School Director Regional Committee, the National Criminal Justice Association and the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, Intl.
At VGCC, Ferguson has served as co-chair of the Faculty/Staff Council, a member of several committees including the Academic Affairs Committee, and co-advisor for the Criminal Justice Club. She has also completed the college’s Department Chairs Institute.
Kathy Wolford has been a member of the VGCC Distance Education staff since 2008, when she was still a student at the college. While enrolled at VGCC, she was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, made the Dean’s List and was awarded scholarships by the college and by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.
Wolford graduated from Vance-Granville with a degree in Web Technologies in 2009 and became a full-time college employee. In her position, Wolford has trained numerous VGCC faculty members on various online and classroom technologies to help them improve their courses. She has also collaborated with instructors to design online courses and course materials and to research new techniques and best practices in distance education. Wolford has helped to design and maintain the Vanguard Online Learning through Technology (VOLT) website, volt.vgcc.edu. VOLT allows adults to complete certain VGCC degrees completely online. VGCC was recognized in 2016 as the number-one community college in North Carolina for online programs.
Prior to enrolling at VGCC, Wolford was a journalist for the Oxford Public Ledger for five years, the last two years as the newspaper’s editor. Among other awards, she received a North Carolina Press Association Award for her column, “Just A Thought.”