The Haywood Community College Foundation recently awarded 23 mini grants to college faculty and staff totaling $14,000. These mini grants enhance student educational experiences, provide professional development for faculty and staff, and provide instructional support. Funds for these mini grants came from the Leigh Foundation, the Bernice Medford Fund, Dr. and Mrs. Darryl Nabors, and generous unrestricted gifts to the Foundation.

Examples of awards include:  software for inmates to complete their GED, training materials for the Teaching and Learning Center, classroom materials for Physical Education classes, Math Emporium textbooks, professional development opportunities for ten faculty and staff, and funds for students to attend six different field trips or conferences.

"These mini grants are possible because of the donor's gifts we receive through our annual fund drive,” explains Meg White, HCC Director of Institutional Advancement. “This is the type of impact their gift makes to HCC and our community."

HCC Entrepreneurship instructor Meredith Carpenter was awarded a mini-grant to take 10 students in the Haywood Entrepreneurship Student Association on an experiential learning trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania. The students will attend Marketing Day at Hershey Park, tour the Hershey Chocolate World, take an Amish buggy ride through real commercial farms, and tour the September Cheese Farm and the Intercourse Pretzel Factory. The mini-grant will cover all transportation costs and lunch there and back.

“It’s a blessing to have the Foundation,” Carpenter says. “It’s a comfort as an instructor to know the support is there, that there are more opportunities available for our students. Its one thing to say how to market a business in class but it’s another thing to see it put into practice. It gives it relevance.”

This sentiment is echoed by HCC Therapeutic Massage instructor Autumn Woodward. She has already used the mini-grant she was awarded to take her students on an experiential learning trip to Bodies…The Exhibition in Atlanta, Georgia. The exhibit features actual human specimens, more than 250 real, whole and partial human body specimens providing an up-close look inside the skeletal, muscular, reproductive, respiratory, circulatory and other systems of the human body.

“This is a unique opportunity to see the interior of the human body,” Woodward explains. “Students struggle with understanding two dimensional images in textbooks. Through this exhibit, they were able to see how the body systems relate to one another, how it affects the person as a whole, and the layering of muscle tissue.”

Jenny Burgess, HCC Therapeutic Massage student says, “I think when it comes to massage therapy looking at the muscles and the muscular structure was absolutely invaluable. Even with a great imagination a person can not actually see the fibers, the direction and the twists and turns the muscles make.”

“I loved looking at the muscle part of the exhibit and how it correlated with our book,” says HCC Therapeutic Massage student Autumn Griffin. “But instead of a 2-D picture, you got to see just how every little niche and corner might have overlapped or been tucked deeper than the others.”

Therapeutic Massage student D.J. Watkins says the field trip was one of the greatest he has ever been on primarily because it relates to what he is studying and will be practicing in the future. “I believe everyone should see this exhibit. We live in these bodies day in and out and hardly know anything about them.”

“The vague two dimensional pictures from the textbooks came to life before my eyes in the form of dead people,” student Stephen Skinner said.

“It was a powerful learning experience,” Woodward concedes. “This is something these students will probably carry with them in their practice for years to come. I am thrilled that we were able to get the grant. It shows that this college is dedicated to innovative ideas and creative learning opportunities.”

HCC Biology instructor Sara Martin had an innovative idea and with mini-grant funding will bring it to fruition. She is writing a General Biology Lab Manual that will be tailored toward HCC students. The in-house text book will provide a substantial reduction in textbook costs to the students that take this course every semester.

According to Martin, the book currently used costs around $50, is not sustainable, and has to be modified based on the equipment the college has to work with in labs. In addition, the existing manual combines both Biology 111 and 112. Students who do not have to take Biology 112 currently have to purchase the book anyway. Martin hopes to have the manual in an electronic version with printed and bound editions available on request through the bookstore.

Martin is illustrating the book herself and hopes to complete a manual for Biology 112 in the future.

“The HCC Foundation is a wonderful resource,” Martin explains. “It’s a great resource for faculty to be able to improve the quality of teaching and resources for students. It is much more difficult to get external funding.”

HCC Film and Video instructor Edwin Dennis was awarded a mini-grant to build a cyclorama wall for his students. The wall is part of green screen technology. It has no visible edges. Students will be able to superimpose people or backgrounds with the use of this wall.

“The students will be able to go different places without leaving the studio,” Dennis says. “This is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time. It’s just another tool available to them.”

Dennis says the paint and special tape for the seams is expensive so the mini-grant helped defray the cost.

The HCC Foundation has two mini-grant cycles per year. Awards are decided through the Foundation’s mini-grant committee. For more information on giving to the HCC Foundation or the mini-grant process, please call 627-4544.

Haywood Community College Therapeutic Massage instructor Autumn Woodward is pictured with students at Bodies… The Exhibition in Atlanta. Pictured from left to right back row are D.J. Watkins and Anthony Robinson. Middle row left to right are Ashley Posey, Autumn Griffin, Instructor Autumn Woodward, Karen Stinnett, and Steve Skinner. Front row left to right are Katie Artilakva and Jenny Burgess. The students were able to take the trip because of a mini grant award from HCC’s Foundation. Over 20 mini grants were awarded to college faculty and staff totaling $14,000. These mini grants enhance student educational experiences, provide professional development for faculty and staff, and provide instructional support.