Seminole State honors 2019 Endowed Teaching Chairs

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Written by: Kimberly Allen

Seminole State College of Florida recognized four faculty members who were honored with $5,000 Endowed Teaching Chair Awards this spring during the Spring 2019 Commencement on Tuesday, April 30.

Endowed Teaching Chair Awards, established in 1996 and supported through community sponsors, recognize some of Seminole State’s most outstanding educators for their invaluable contributions to the College. Applicants are nominated by their peers and screened by a committee of faculty and staff.  Members of the Foundation for Seminole State College’s Board of Directors interview the finalists and select the honorees. This year’s honorees are:

Dr. Carissa Baker, Phoenix International Ltd., Inc. Endowed Teaching Chair

Since joining the Seminole State faculty in 2010, Dr. Carissa Baker, professor of English, has established herself as a student-centered instructor. She values diversity and is an engaged member of the College community. Baker has been praised for her strong command of her subject matter and for her innovative teaching style, which incorporates relevant and current topics to help students better understand the fundamentals and bridge the gap (i.e. using rap lyrics as poetry and Harry Potter as literature). Students describe her as an “amazing professor” who is very “kind and intelligent.” Outside the classroom, she served as director of Read to Succeed, the College’s Quality Enhancement Plan, showing her commitment to the mission of the College and its students. 

Jim Jollie, Wharton-Smith, Inc. Construction Group Endowed Teaching Chair

Jim Jollie has been a professor and program manager in fire science since 2012. His supervisor notes that Jollie ensures each course he teaches is well structured and designed to support student learning. He not only recognizes the need of a solid foundation, but also the importance of providing students much needed guidance and direction for their future careers. He has also been recognized for his commitment to promoting student success, his energy in the classroom and his excellent camaraderie with students.

Sharon Moore, Central Florida Regional Hospital Endowed Teaching Chair

Sharon Moore, professor of emergency medical services, has distinguished herself as a compassionate instructor who conveys the importance of kind-heartedness to her students. Moore believes she must also be their “motivator and biggest cheerleader.” She is known for her passion for the EMS profession and her unique teaching style that not only helps students focus on their studies but also creates a learning environment conducive to student success.  

Jay Spalding, Cirent/Agere, in honor of Dr. Peter Panousis and Mr. Robert B. Koch Endowed Teaching Chair

Jay Spalding, professor of studio art, has been a member of the Seminole State faculty for nearly 30 years. In addition to teaching his art courses, Spalding participates in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts’ annual faculty art exhibit, coordinates art shows, builds community partnerships and mentors students. He is a nurturing instructor who encourages students to “challenge themselves.” His students describe him as an “incredibly talented and knowledgeable professor” who is “tough yet approachable.” He has been recognized for his integrity and ethic as an artist and for his passion for art and for helping others discover their talents.

Four faculty members who were finalists in the Endowed Teaching Chair Awards but were not selected as recipients received Ken Sylvester Faculty Excellence Awards. Honorees are:

  • Music Professor Dianna Campbell
  • Biological Sciences Professor Mary Colon
  • Chemistry Professor Van Quach
  • Nursing Professor Lori Theodore 

The Faculty Excellence Awards are provided through Endowed Teaching Chair funding and acknowledge the invaluable contributions these outstanding educators provide to Seminole State College. Each honoree received a $1,000 cash prize.

All eight honored faculty members will be invited to represent the College at next year’s National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence in Texas.

About Seminole State College of Florida

Seminole State College of Florida, established in 1965, serves nearly 30,000 students across six sites in Central Florida. A comprehensive college, Seminole State has awarded more than 100,000 credentials, from bachelor's degrees to high school diplomas, and offers more than 200 degrees, certificates and programs designed for success. For more about the college, visit, like us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter: @seminolestate.  #SSC #GoStateGoFar 

About the Foundation for Seminole State College

The Foundation for Seminole State College, founded in 1968, is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation that enhances the College's programs and services through the development and management of private contributions, public grants and community partnerships. For more information, visit or email the Foundation directly at