Warner Robins, Ga. – The Central Georgia Technical College (CGTC) 2019 Rick Perkins Award for Excellence winner, Dr. Devona Bell, and Adjunct Instructor of the Year, Anita Ross, share a unique bond; Ross taught Bell in her ninth grade science class.
“Ms. Ross was very inspirational and I absolutely adored her enthusiasm for success,” said Bell, the Criminal Justice program chair, who has earned her own success as the College’s best full-time instructor.
Instruction based on personal experience is how Bell described what she best brings to the Criminal Justice program. Her experience is precisely what she feels can get more of her female peers to join her in this non-traditional profession.
“In my role as the instructor, I’ve learned that it’s best to bridge the gap with female students enrolled in the program by using instruction influenced by personal experiences. I have experienced the diversities of being a female, in a non-traditional career path, while working towards higher education,” she said.
A tactful, disciplined and honest approach to her teaching makes her stand out among her peers and offers practicality to the curriculum. She said understanding how the criminal justice system evolves to political, social, economic, technological and legal arenas of society is key for her students.
“My approach to academic and practical instruction must align with the mission of the college and needs of our service organizations; police, courts, and corrections. The instructional techniques and formats I use include lectures, group discussions, team exercises, presentations, videos, role-playing, practical application, technology, and simulations.”
Prior to joining the CGTC faculty in 2016, Bell had more than a 17-year career in the Georgia Department of Corrections working as correctional officer, probation officer, supervisor, and staff development and training coordinator. Bell has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Georgia Southern University, a Master’s of Science in Management and Doctor of Management specializing in Organizational Development and Change from Colorado Technical University.
Bell enjoys her work, but also enjoys being social, and said her hobbies include “the best of both of worlds”. She hosts workshops and community events related to her field. She has two start-up independent consulting businesses that keep her busy and connected with the community. Outside of work, she enjoys spending quality time with her family and the people she loves and keeping things simple.
Along with a coveted parking space on campus, Bell also received monetary awards from the CGTC Foundation, HEA Federal Credit Union, and MidSouth Community Federal Credit Union in recognition of her achievement.
Bell’s peers nominated her and a panel selected her as the winner from a group of four finalists. The panel of community leaders interviewed each finalist to determine the College’s winner. Other finalists for the award were Jackie Foster, instructor of Practical Nursing, Jeremiah Johnson, co-enrollment coordinator for Adult Education, Jolie Martin, program chair for Cosmetology, and Dianne Rutherford, English instructor.
Bell will now move on to the Central Region Rick Perkins Award for Excellence competitions to be held on the Warner Robins campus in February. Bell, along with 22 other Rick Perkins Award winners from technical colleges across Georgia will attend the state conference held in April in Atlanta. At the state competition, the top three candidates from the Central, North and South regions will be announced. These finalists will then complete a final interview process to determine the state winner.
On representing the College, Bell said she will, “use this platform to educate and collaborate with partners in the community for continued occupational growth and development”.
During the College’s Awards Day Ceremony at the end the fall semester, Dr. Amy Holloway, vice president of Academic Affair, also announced Anita Ross, a Biology instructor in Health Sciences, as the College’s Adjunct Instructor of the Year.
Ross, a retired teacher with over 30 years of experience in the K-12 classroom, said she simply wants to encourage her students who have jobs, families, tough life circumstances, that her course and the Health Science program, albeit rigorous, is giving each student what they need to succeed in an in-demand nursing career.
“I feel fortunate to have been hired and work here with an outstanding faculty and incredible and interesting student population,” she said.
About Central Georgia Technical College
Central Georgia Technical College is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and serves the needs of Baldwin, Bibb, Crawford, Dooly, Houston, Jones, Monroe, Peach, Pulaski, Putnam, and Twiggs counties in Georgia. The College is a two-year public college serving a diverse student body by offering traditional on-site and distance education academic programs and services, adult education, continuing education, and customized business and industry services.
Central Georgia Technical College is committed to excellence in fulfilling its mission. The College seeks to meet its mission by providing educational, extra-curricular, co-curricular, workforce development programs, and services that support the economic development and well-being of the citizens within its established service delivery area. To support its workforce mission, Central Georgia Technical College employs knowledgeable competent faculty, up-to-date facilities, advanced technology, and industry-specific equipment to ensure that students, faculty, staff, and administrators are surrounded by an environment that is conducive to learning.
Photo 1: Dr. Devona Bell, the Criminal Justice program chair, is CGTC’s 2019 Rick Perkins Award winner.
Photo 2: The College named Anita Ross, a Biology instructor in Health Sciences, its 2019 adjunct Instructor of the Year.