Stanly Community College faculty member wins statewide teaching award

Published 2:00 pm Thursday, February 2, 2023

Dr. Kara Finch, Stanly Community College’s dean of public services and head of the college’s human services program, has received the 2022-23 Excellence in Teaching Award by the North Carolina Community College System and the State Board of Community Colleges.

Kara Finch

Every year this award recognizes the top-performing individuals and partners who best represent the NC Community College System and its mission to provide accessible, high-quality education and service.

Though Finch faced a rigorous application process while juggling a full-time workload, being a wife and mother to four children, and recently earned a doctoral degree from Wingate University, she was met with an support and recommendations from her SCC family.

“Kara continuously seeks ways to build relationships with students to better understand their situations and teach equitably and reduce any barriers from learning,” SCC President Dr. John Enamait said. “In addition, she shares best practices and training she receives with others at the College so that everyone remains committed to both student and employee success.”

Finch’s SCC career began in 2016 when she was named program head of human services. Since then, she has participated in the inaugural President’s Leadership Academy at SCC where she developed a mental health module for new student orientation, vice chaired the SCC Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Acceptance Team and received advanced credentials in Effective College Instruction training on how to craft student-centered online learning.

Finch has also served as chair of the Faculty Senate for two separate terms and was named SCC Faculty of the Year in 2019 and 2022.
As a community college graduate herself and an active Mental Health First Aid instructor, Finch is able to empathize with the various challenges and barriers many of our students face. When asked “what motivates her,” Finch’s response is simple: “Our students, faculty, staff and community — encouraging and helping them with both educational and personal goals and witnessing their success.”

She also plays an active role in community organizations, such as Stanly Adult Care Center, the Local Interagency Coordinating Council and Stanly County’s Project Lazarus Coalition. She has served on the executive board of the NC Organization for Human Services since 2016 and is currently the organization president.

Finch is only the second SCC affiliate to win the state-wide recognized award, following Dan Hazlett’s Excellence in Instruction Award (1986). Interim President of NC Community College System Dr. Bill Carver, highlighted the “very strong nominations this year, which are indicative of the incredible work and success at [NC’s] 58 community colleges.”