NISOD's 2018 Conference Celebrates and Inspires Community and Technical College Educators

NISOD’s conference offered 300-plus outstanding presentations.


Austin, TX -- (ReleaseWire) -- 06/18/2018 --Over the 2018 Memorial Day weekend, the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) welcomed more than 1,000 community and technical college teachers, administrators, staff, and their family members to Austin, Texas, for the annual International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence.

NISOD's conference offered 300-plus outstanding presentations—including pre-conference seminars, special sessions, breakout sessions, and roundtable discussions—with topics ranging from how to use new technologies in the classroom to meeting faculty and staff professional development needs. Through these educational sessions, conference participants engaged with colleagues to discuss nearly every aspect of teaching, learning, and leading excellence.

"With this event, NISOD continues its 40-year tradition of being the definitive gathering of community and technical college educators passionate about teaching and learning," said Edward J. Leach, NISOD's executive director. "With more than 450 presenters sharing innovation and insights about a variety of focus areas and in various formats, participants left the conference with dozens of ideas they can implement immediately."

Excellence Awards

The 2018 conference also marked the 27th celebration of NISOD's prestigious Excellence Awards, which honors faculty, administrators, and staff for the extraordinary work they do every day on their respective campuses. This year, nearly 200 member colleges submitted the names of close to 900 award recipients. NISOD recognized 2018 recipients and their colleagues, families, and friends during the Excellence Awards Dinner and Celebration. After the dinner, attendees enjoyed music, dancing, and great camaraderie. "NISOD is proud to be able to bring together Excellence Award recipients and their colleagues and families to recognize their accomplishments," said Leach. "We look forward to continuing this tradition of celebrating their important work and dedication in this way." To date, more than 25,000 recipients have been honored with the prestigious award.

Scott Wright Student Essay Contest Winners

During the Excellence Awards Dinner and Celebration, NISOD and Community College Week showcased the winners of the 2018 Scott Wright Student Essay Contest. Chosen from nearly two hundred outstanding entries, the three winning students wrote about a faculty member who helped them achieve their educational goals. The winning students and the featured faculty members each received $1,000. The 2018 winning students are:

- Andrea Montes, El Centro College
- Sofia Velasquez, Portland Community College
- Troy Presley, Tallahassee Community College

Student Graphic Design Contest Winner

The 2018 winner of NISOD's Student Graphic Design Contest, Tara VanConant of St. Clair County Community College, was also recognized during the conference with the unveiling of her winning design. VanConant received $1,000 and five poster-size copies of her work. VanConant's design will also be featured as the primary graphics for NISOD's 2019 International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence.

Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges Awards

During the conference, NISOD and Diverse: Issues in Higher Education bestowed the 2018 Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges (PPWCC) awards, which recognize community and technical colleges with an exceptional commitment to diversity through best-in-class student and staff recruitment and retention practices, inclusive learning and working environments, and meaningful community service and engagement opportunities. 2018 PPWCC awardees include:

- Central Piedmont Community College
- Coastline Community College
- Community College of Allegheny County
- Community College of Aurora
- El Centro College
- GateWay Community College
- Greenville Technical College
- Harrisburg Area Community College
- Lone Star College-University Park
- McLennan Community College
- Montgomery County Community College
- National Park College
- Northwest Vista College
- Pierpont Community and Technical College
- Pitt Community College
- Rochester Community and Technical College
- Wake Tech Community College
- Western Texas College

Keynote Speakers

2018 conference general session speakers offered new perspectives on education through thought-provoking keynote addresses, much to overwhelming audience acclaim. Alex Sheen, founder of the nonprofit, because I said I would, and recognized as the 2018 Suanne Davis Roueche Distinguished Lecturer, discussed the importance of fulfilling personal commitments through compelling real-life examples during his keynote address. Sheen emphasized that having integrity and keeping your promises are interwoven. "Our promises define our character," said Sheen.

Dr. Tonjua Williams, President of St. Petersburg College and the recipient of the 2018 John E. Roueche International Leadership Award, addressed how community colleges need to provide a "Community of Care" to help break down students' perceived barriers to academic success. "So many times, we are too focused on our roles that we forget about the people we are serving. Those people need our attention, they need us to talk to them, and they need us to listen," said Dr. Williams. 

Presentation proposals are now being accepted at for NISOD's 2019 International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence, May 25-28 at the Hilton Austin.

The National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) is a membership organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership at community and technical colleges. For community and technical colleges that want to make the most of their professional development dollars, NISOD provides budget-friendly, high-quality, and faculty-focused programs and resources. For 40 years, NISOD's customer-focused approach has helped align our wide array of benefits with the needs of our members, which explains why the American Association of Community Colleges named NISOD, "The country's leading provider of professional development for community college faculty, staff, and administrators."

For more information about NISOD, visit