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Cuthbertson earns Isothermal’s top teaching award

By: Mike Gavin
Published: May 15, 2024

SPINDALE (May 15, 2024) – Betsy Cuthbertson, a nursing instructor at Isothermal Community College, earned the institution’s highest teaching honor this past weekend. 

The 2024 Robert Wendell Eaves Distinguished Teaching Award was presented to Cuthbertson by Dr. Margaret Annunziata, Isothermal’s president, at the Curriculum Commencement on Saturday, May 11.  

Cuthbertson has just completed her thirteenth year at Isothermal. She was nominated by four students. She started as the college’s Allied Health coordinator, working with a variety of students from nurse aides and pharmacy techs to phlebotomists and massage therapists.

One student wrote that Cuthbertson, “goes above and beyond to make sure her students get the best opportunities possible. I've learned so much from her. Some of my best experiences were because of her extra efforts to make sure we get the experience to help us learn.”

“She motivates growth in her students,” said another one of her nominators. “I see her take extra time and to work with students who didn't believe in themselves. Those same students have turn into very strong humans, ready become tomorrow’s leaders.”

Cuthbertson is a fan of active learning techniques and has a passion for pushing her students.

In Cuthbertson’s words, “As a student seeks out and attains personal, professional, and economic development opportunities, their quality of life is enhanced and enriched, which leads to a greater cultural development within the community. It is imperative as an instructor that I model this concept as I prepare students for their entry into the professional field of nursing.”

The Robert Wendell Eaves Distinguished Teaching Award is given each year to an instructor who demonstrates excellence in teaching and a true zeal for service to students.  It was established by the Eaves family in 1982 to honor the late Dr. Robert Wendell Eaves and his distinguished career in education.   

Dr. Eaves’ philosophy and credo on the importance of teaching was simple: “A zeal for service is the first requirement of professionalization. Without a zeal for service, our efforts as educators are void and helpless.  We cannot expect remuneration commensurate with our achievements.  Our remuneration comes largely from the joy of seeing people grow strong, useful and intelligent.  This is the best life has to offer.  No greater life can anyone live.” 

Each year, the recipient is selected by a committee composed of past award recipients from nominations submitted by students, alumni, college personnel and members of the public. Any full-time employee of Isothermal who spends at least 25 percent of his or her time on the job in teaching is eligible for the award.   

Other past winners have included Nancy Womack, Ruth Boehning, Vivian Sitton, Clara Fowler, Chris Koone, Carol Jones, Pete Golden, Aubrey Calton, Bill McDaniel, Dean Byrd, Gary Shipley, Mike Croussore, Lowery Luckadoo, Jay Coomes, Rhonda Davis, Cathy Alexander, Debbie Puett, Scott Bradey, Jeremiah Councill, Donna Harrison, Tim Beaver, Brett Parker, Amber Thompson, Melissa Johnson, Nathan Fisher, Scott Hutchins, Loreen Smith, Marisa Sudano, Jeremy Burris, Rebecca Haney, Bret Watson, Alice McCluney, Carolyn Young, and last year’s winner, Kimberly Snyder. 

The other Eaves finalists this year were Mary Elizabeth Adams and Michael Lyda.