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TCC announces annual award winners

Tidewater Community College announces recognition of five of its own with annual special awards that honor the quality and achievements of select faculty and staff from across the college.

Professor of the Year Award

Don AversoNorfolk resident Don Averso, director of culinary arts, received this peer award established by the TCC Faculty Senate to recognize teaching excellence. Whether Averso is teaching a class on cooking techniques or demonstrating how to make bananas foster, his colleagues and students attest to his dedication. In 2012, Averso was one of only three Virginia Community College System faculty to receive the inaugural John & Suzanne Roueche Excellence Award given by the League of Innovation in Community Colleges. Averso received the Dean’s Award of Academic Excellence in 2007 and 2011. “Don has always been the consummate teaching professional and one of the most collegial faculty members I know at TCC,” said a colleague in a nomination letter. “I have witnessed his interaction with TCC students and have found his students to be extremely appreciative of his teaching expertise.”

Special Achievement Award

Debra PorterNorfolk resident Debra Porter, professor of accounting at the Virginia Beach Campus, developed and taught a specialized accounting tutoring program for TCC’s funeral service program, which directly related to an increase of students’ performances on the National Board Funeral Service Exam. Often with short or no notice, Porter has graciously held tutoring sessions with students and has welcomed students to contact her with questions during their test preparation. “As a result of Debbie’s efforts, I have witnessed our students’ performance on the NBE accounting section increase significantly,” said a colleague in a nomination letter. “In fact, TCC students perform within the top percentile of all mortuary science graduates nationwide.”

Adjunct Faculty Award of Excellence

Mike AdamsVirginia Beach resident Mike Adams, instructor of information technology and business, received this inaugural award for adjunct instructors from TCC’s Faculty Senate. A retired Navy veteran with 28 years of service, Adams has been an adjunct instructor at TCC since 1997. For the last eight years, he has served on the Virginia Beach Faculty Senate and on the College Senate. He is chair of the Faculty Senate Adjunct Committee and was part of the committee to update the TCC Faculty Handbook. “Mike is largely responsible for the formatting of this huge project,” said a colleague in a nomination letter. “For his service to the college above and beyond what is required in the classroom, we honor him with this award.”

Administrative Employee of the Year

John MoreaVirginia Beach resident John Morea, associate vice president for learning technology applications, received this award established by TCC’s Administrative Association. Morea, who joined TCC more than two decades ago, has held various positions at the college including posts in Learning Resources Centers and the Health Professions division. He considers this award an acknowledgement of his staff’s dedication to creating and sustaining a learning environment that meets the highest expectations for effective teaching and successful learning. Morea notes, “Any success I achieved is a reflection of my outstanding staff, and the mentors who have given me the opportunity to serve in higher education.” The first in his family to attend college, Morea says he is compelled to give back and serve students to the best of his ability.

Support Staff Employee of the Year

Martin HerreraVirginia Beach resident Martin Herrera, veterans benefits adviser for the Center for Military Veterans Education (CMVE), has made an impression in his short time at TCC. A full-time staff member since 2012, Herrera was lauded for his patience and empathy working with veteran students making the transition from active duty to college life. In addition to his innovative ability to streamline several processes, Herrera’s ability to foster public and private collaboration with entities across Hampton Roads has resulted in increased opportunities for students. “His confidence, passion and work ethic are exemplary,” said a colleague in a nomination letter. “He is an inspirational leader who strives with confidence and commitment to ensure student success.”