Stacey Payton, language arts instructor at the Perkinston Campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, was selected this month to receive the Mississippi Institute Professional Enrichment Award from the Moody Institute Trust Fund. The award goes to those who submit successful proposals for enrichment experiences to benefit faculty members at the state’s community colleges. They are recognized at the April meeting of the Mississippi Community College Foundation Board each year. Individuals selected are named Moody Institute Fellows.
Payton received $1,250 as part of the award to attend the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) annual conference in Atlanta in November 2016. NCTE is devoted to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts. The convention brings together the nation’s best professional English educators, researchers, and writers who are concerned with advocacy relationships between teachers and their administrators, colleagues, students and those in the community.
“I am so excited about receiving the award and being able to attend the NCTE conference,” Payton said. “At the conference, I plan to discover what other language practitioners are executing successfully in their classrooms with the intent of bringing these newfound ideas into my classroom. If I am successful in the delivery of the new material, I will design and facilitate a professional development workshop to share my success with my counterparts at MGCCC.”
Payton said that instructors are constantly researching new techniques, technology and best practices. “The needs of students, from developmental to advanced learners who are preparing for the workforce, are changing and evolving,” she said. “In fact, the face of students who were in workforce training a decade ago is much different from what our students look like now. Challenges in the classroom include teacher-student conflicts, retention, apathy, skill deficits and graduation rates. Instructors must also consider and constantly re-evaluate types of assessment, content-area literacies, composition/writing, digital and media literacies, literature, multilingualism, oral language, reading, and rhetoric.”
She said that conferences and meetings offer instructors the opportunity for dialogue with each other, sharing their success and failures. “Conferences like this one help instructors discover the best practices being used at other community colleges across the nation,” she said. “In turn, instructors then incorporate this new material in their courses in an effort to meet each student where they are in terms of reading level, writing skills and language acquisition.”
Payton is currently in her 12th year as a full-time instructor at MGCCC. She teaches Beginning and Intermediate English, Composition I and II, and World Literature I and II. She has a total of 24 years of service in higher education. She was named the 2014 Higher Education Appreciation Day-Working for Academic Excellence (HEADWAE) instructor for MGCCC, representing the college at the annual HEADWAE program in Jackson. She was also chosen as the 2015 Mississippi Humanities Council Humanities Teacher for the Perkinston Campus.