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For Immediate Release


Marhao Named Excellence in Teaching Award Winner

Catawba Valley Community College’s mathematics faculty Vasilica Marhao was recently presented the college’s 2013 Excellence in Teaching Award for full-time faculty.   

Criteria for the prestigious award include effective and innovative teaching techniques, leadership and skill in motivating high quality student performance, effective communication with students and colleagues, support of the total college mission and service beyond the classroom. Candidates are nominated by their students and interviewed by a committee that includes students, faculty, staff and a member of the college’s Board of Trustees.

Nominees included mathematics faculty member Michael Boone, Emergency Medical Science faculty member Nimon Badgeley, business faculty member Jeff Penley, Developmental Education Department Head Arlene Neal, and Social Sciences Department Head Richard Eller.

Known affectionately by her students and colleagues as “Lica,” Marhao provides students an opportunity to think creatively and understand mathematics, not just memorize the steps. She expects her students to learn critical thinking skills and use them in her classes and in their daily lives. She teaches in a way that students see how the mathematics topic they are learning fits into their world.

She spends many hours outside of class preparing high level math students for the Student Mathematics League (SML) Competition and the Gainesville State College Math Tournament.  Under her leadership, CVCC teams routinely place in the top three in North Carolina in the SML Competition. CVCC currently ranks first in the Eastern region of the U.S. after taking the American Mathematics Association of two-year colleges mathematics competition exam.

In collaboration with other mathematics faculty, she designed and created the North Carolina Mathematics Association of Two Year Colleges state competition. She has served on a number of committees on campus and in the community. She has authored a book entitled, “Number Lane Tales” that teaches mathematics to children.
Marhao earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics at Babesh-Bolyai University in Romania. She also earned a master’s degree in counseling at Ashland University in Ohio. She taught math part time for five years before earning a full-time position at CVCC. She has presented at professional conferences and been nominated for numerous awards, including the NCYMATYC Excellence in Teaching Award.

About the other nominees:
Boone is a member of the mathematics faculty. In the words of the students who nominated him, he approaches teaching from a holistic point of view. He applies “real life” situations to concepts.  

A member of the Emergency Medical Science faculty, Badgeley reaches beyond the requirements of the classroom to educate his students.

A member of the business department faculty, Penley teaches business law and other courses in that discipline. A licensed attorney, he chose the classroom above the court room because he is passionate about learning and helping others learn. A member of the North Carolina Bar Association and a Faculty Fellow in Enactus, formerly Students in Free Enterprise, he has served in numerous capacities at the college and in professional organizations at the state and national level.

Neal is department head for Developmental Education. She received the inaugural Adjunct Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award in 2011. She has received awards for outstanding service to a number of state and local service organizations. She has served on a number of campus literary and reading initiatives

Eller serves as department head of Social Sciences. He strives to bring history alive through unique learning opportunities, including the Hands-on-History series he developed to take students to historically significant locations. He is also a published author and film documentarian. 

Pictured above is Vasilica Marhao (right) with Dr. Keith Mackie, Vice president of Instructional Programs.


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Updated 10.30.2008: Administrator