PTC Instructor Nominated for Governor’s Professor of the Year

Sandy Warner, department head for engineering technology at Piedmont Technical College, has been nominated for the 2013 Governor’s Professor of the Year Award.

“This is such an honor to be recognized for doing what I love,” said Warner.

Warner has been teaching at Piedmont Tech for more than 18 years. She holds an associate degree in Engineering Graphics Technology (EGT) from PTC, a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Lander University and a master’s degree in Technical Education from Clemson University. She began her career as an EGT instructor before becoming program coordinator in 2004. She was named department head for engineering technology in 2006.

During her tenure, Warner has implemented many new programs that have proved to be beneficial to her students. In 2006, Piedmont Tech kicked off the new Project Lead the Way (PLTW) program. This nationally recognized program brings additional credibility to the engineering technology programs at PTC and establishes a seamless pathway for students to move from high school to college. PLTW provided an opportunity to expand the student involvement, increase the number of students in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field and develop a better relationship with the career centers and high schools in our service area as well as our state.

“Project Lead the Way meshes with the goals of the Education and Economic Development Act (EEDA) of 2005,” said Warner. “Piedmont Tech was the first technical college in South Carolina to be involved in this project.”

Warner has also been instrumental in the development of two transfer agreements with the University of South Carolina’s (USC) Engineering Department for Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering majors. She also coordinated the implementation of the “Smart Board Technology” into the engineering program.

In 2009, Warner was able to achieve one of her personal goals. She has long had a personal desire to involve more women in engineering and developed the GATE program (Girls Achieving in Technology and Engineering), an engineering summer camp for rising 10th, 11th and 12th grade female students. This camp involves presentations from female engineers from companies in our region, plant tours and hands on activities designed to create an increased awareness of the potential opportunities in engineering.

“This is something that we have wanted to do for a long time,” said Warner. “We hope this program will help foster gender diversity for the traditionally male-dominated engineering technology field.”

Despite her many successes as department head, Warner’s first love is the classroom and she continues to teach classes in the engineering graphics technology and general engineering technology curricula.

“Sandy always has the best interest of the engineering students in mind on every project she works on,” said Keith Lasure, dean of engineering and industrial technology. “I don’t believe the Governor could make a better selection for this award. If meeting the students’ goals is the foundation of this selection, then Sandy addresses that in every decision she makes.”

Each year, the Governor’s office and the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education jointly sponsor two Governor’s Professor of the Year Awards – one faculty member at a South Carolina public or private senior college or university and  one faculty member at a public or private two-year institution of higher learning. The winners and the institutional nominees will be recognized at a luncheon in March 2013.