It would be a major understatement to say that Western Nevada College Professor Emily Howarth is energetic and engaging in preparing students for todayâ€™s technology-based economy. A tenured professor of Computer Information Technology, as well as a mother and an Air Force Veteran, Howarth brings a passion for technology to her work. Her creative teaching techniques have been successful in preparing students for jobs in the growing field of Applied Industrial Technology.
The statewide Nevada System of Higher Educationâ€™s Board of Regents has noticed, too. After being nominated by her peers at WNC, Howarth has been chosen for the statewide 2015 NSHE Regents Teaching Award.
Several years ago, as Nevadaâ€™s economy began to falter, Howarth sought to find ways that WNC could offer students new options for local, technical career paths. She was convinced that the college could take the lead in this area by reinventing the education and training of technicians so graduates leave with a broad foundation of knowledge, bolstered by extensive skills practice.
She developed classes that support regional manufacturing companies in their distribution and logistics operations, including AC/DC Electrical,
Pneumatics, Electrical Controls and Wiring. Through grant funding and equipment donations, Howarth has built a lab of hands-on equipment where students can safely practice their skills and develop the expertise in demand by employers.
Howarth has developed robust and rigorous coursework that is available
online, via live webcast, and through archived lectures, for student convenience and accessibility. Multimedia resources, including a variety of study guides and learning aids, are part of each course, and she encourages students to ask her â€œwhat else?â€
â€œThe current and projected growth of manufacturing and related
industries in Nevada brings to the forefront the need for a higher skilled and educated workforce,â€ Howarth said.
To ensure that students can access labs around their jobs and family responsibilities, AIT labs offer flexible schedules.
In the area of Computer Information Technology, Howarth has adapted and realigned her instructional materials continually to meet preparation objectives for versions that have changed continually, from Windows 95 through Server 2012.
â€œWe are building upon a first class knowledge and training facility for manufacturing and the industrial trades while offering excellence in academic studies here at Western, and we are committed to the success of individual students and to our community as a whole,â€ she said.
Colleague Dr. Winnie Kortemeier said â€œShe is always conscious of the balance between technical training and general education goals, and incorporates problem solving and critical thinking as the major themes throughout her teaching, and believes these are vital skills for creating a competent and educated workforce for Nevada,â€ said
Student Paula Swanberg said that, â€œBecause of my professor, I have learned the basics of a new field, and am currently working as an internâ€ at a large local technology firm. â€œI could not have done it without all her hard work.
â€œI did not believe much in myself when I first started back to school, but with the example of my teacher and the training and skills she offered me, I feel like, for the first time in years, my life has meaning. When things are hard and it seems like I can’t go another step, I hear her say: â€œThere is no try, there is only do or donâ€™t do.â€
â€œWe are pleased that the Board of Regents has recognized Professor Howarth for her outstanding instructional effort and devotion to her craft,â€ said Kortemeier.
Dr. Robert Wynegar, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at WNC, said â€œNevadaâ€™s community colleges are staffed with talented and caring instructors; to have a faculty member be recognized in this way speaks volumes about the emphasis that Emily and her peers place on providing a quality educational experience.â€
â€œIâ€™m so pleased to bring recognition and attention to Western Nevada College, Howarth said. â€œItâ€™s my privilege to work with so many distinguished and accomplished professionals as we support students in reaching their goals.â€