Sharon Kay Edwards, Motlow McMinnville campus branch librarian, was selected as the 2020 Community College Staff Member of the Year in the second annual Statewide Outstanding Achievement Recognition (SOAR) Awards during the Tennessee Board of Regents quarterly meeting Tuesday.
“I am deeply appreciative of the SOAR Award,” said Edwards. “You know, we don’t do what we do every day to get awards or accolades, but it is nice to be recognized. I am also grateful to be a part of the team, not just at the library, but also from the top down at Motlow. Everyone at the College really goes above and beyond to ensure student success.”
The College System of Tennessee (TBR) selected six individual SOAR Award winners that represent Motlow and Nashville State community colleges, and Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs) at Elizabethton, Knoxville and Paris.
Edwards said she loves finding information for students, faculty and others, helping them learn to find it themselves, instructing users with technical or digital issues, and creating innovating programs in which library patrons participate. She has also discovered the added benefits of helping students change their lives in a few semesters and the opportunity to watch them graduate.
The Tennessee Board of Regents, which governs the 13 public community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology comprising the College System of Tennessee, established the SOAR Awards program last year to recognize and honor the outstanding students, faculty and staff members at its colleges, as well as the major accomplishments of the colleges.
Each college in the system nominated a student, faculty member and staff member for the individual SOAR awards. The college nominees participated in regional judging in East, Middle and West Tennessee. A total of 18 regional finalists – six students, six faculty and six staff members – advanced to the state level. A panel of judges conducted interviews of the 18 finalists to select the Outstanding Students, Faculty and Staff Members of the Year.
“Our system’s mission – and the mission of each of our colleges – is the success of all our students and the development of Tennessee’s workforce. Our graduates power Tennessee’s economy. It’s appropriate that we recognize the outstanding students – and the outstanding faculty and staff members on our campuses who work with students every day to help them succeed,” said TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings.
Each of the individual award winners receives a SOAR trophy, and the two colleges will be presented the distinctive College Cup to keep on their campuses. All 18 finalists for the individual awards received SOAR Finalist plaques in recognition of their achievements.
Sharon accepts her award and comments on being a valuable member of the Motlow team in an exclusive video featured on YouTube that you can watch below.
The Board plans to honor the SOAR Award recipients in person later in the year. Tuesday’s Board meeting was held by conference call due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The second SOAR Conference, including a Finalists Dinner and Awards Dinner and the College System’s Day on the Hill, was originally scheduled for March 24-25 in Downtown Nashville but was cancelled due to the pandemic