RCC May 2021 Faculty/Staff Spotlight: Wendy Fields
It was always a goal of Wendy Fields to teach at the college level, who started her career teaching English at various high schools in Robeson County.
“That’s why I was interested in getting my master’s degree,” said Wendy, who received an undergraduate and a graduate degree in English Education from UNC Pembroke. “It was my ultimate goal to teach college students.”
Wendy now teaches English at Robeson Community College. It’s a job that she says she loves and is very grateful to have had the opportunity to share in the success of her students.
“When I first started, the President at the time said he was taking a chance on me because I did not have any prior experience teaching college students,” Wendy said jokingly, who came to RCC with 4 years of teaching experience at the high school level. “So, I appreciate that RCC did take a chance on me, it has been a blessing to be here.”
Wendy has now been teaching at RCC for over 17 years and says that she loves the small close-knit family atmosphere of the college.
“I love my students and being able to see them succeed,” stated Wendy. “Seeing them go across the stage and hearing of their success, it makes it all worth it, and you get to know you had a small part in that…That’s what it’s all about.”
Wendy mentioned one of those success stories. It was a story of an RCC graduate she taught in one of her English classes.
“She just graduated from NC State and received two degrees. She’s going into graduate school to work in Biochemistry.”
Wendy says that when you hear these kinds of stories, you know that RCC must be doing something right and that it shows that attending a community college is a great place to start and get the foundation you need to succeed.
“I talk about RCC everywhere I go. You can start here and go anywhere.”
Literature is one of Wendy’s favorite subjects to teach. “I love discussing literature and teaching it,” stated Wendy, who has a post-masters certificate in multicultural literature, a credential she received from East Carolina University. “I also enjoy teaching ENG 112, Research and Writing in the Disciplines. I love teaching students how to research and make it fun. Often students come to class and they do not like English. They’ve had a bad experience in high school or they don’t like to write, but I always tell them that they have not had me, to give it a chance.”
Her love of teaching and her ability to make English fun to get her students more engaged are just some of the few reasons she was named the 2021 RCC Faculty of the Year, a prestigious award given to only one faculty member. Her excellence in teaching combined with her strong work ethic paved the way for her to win this year’s award. Her nominator stated that Wendy is “passionate about reading, writing, and all things dealing with literature. Her goal is to pass on her enthusiasm to her students and help them be successful in their English courses.”
On course evaluations, students often comment that they can tell “Mrs. Fields loves what she does, knows her stuff, and has compassion for her students.”
During her time at RCC, Wendy has served on numerous committees, participated in countless professional development sessions, planned and promoted various events and programs, and currently, serves as the advisor for two of RCC’s University Transfer Partnership programs—UNCP’s BraveStep and UNCW’s Pathway to Excellence.
Wendy says that being given the Faculty of the Year award is a distinguished honor like no other.
“It’s very special to receive this honor. It was my first time being nominated and it is given by your peers and colleagues that you work with, so that makes it an even greater honor. I’m very appreciative.”
And, being named faculty person of the year in 2021 has an even greater meaning for Wendy.
“With COVID, this was the hardest year to teach, so to have won this award this year, is just very special. I was shocked and surprised. I’m still amazed.”
Wendy will represent RCC in the North Carolina Community College System competition for Instructor of the Year, another honor that she is looking forward to.
“I’m just so appreciative and grateful.”
In addition to teaching, Wendy also loves to write and has had two books published, It was God and It too was God. “They are inspirational non-fiction stories, stories of miracles and testimonies. I would love to be able to write more and have more books published,” Wendy shared.
Serving as the editor for the Reason and Rhyme, a publication at RCC highlighting student work and writing, Wendy loves to encourage her students to make the most of every opportunity.
“I love highlighting student work…I’ve taught students from 14 to 60 years and older, all at different stages in their life, and you get to see the progress they have made,” said Wendy. “You’re never too old to come back to school and you should never give up on learning.”
She adds, “For my high school CCP students, I tell them ‘this is a great opportunity that they have at RCC to receive college for free. Don’t waste your time, take it seriously and do your best, because it really does count and it’s a great opportunity to save money and get ahead.’”
It’s not just students that Wendy helps to learn and grow, she is often peered with new faculty to assist in the training process to get them acclimated to the new college environment, something that she says she is happy to do.
“We’re all in this together,” said Wendy. “Teaching is hard, you have to have a passion for it… We can help each other by sharing our experiences and teaching techniques.”
When Wendy is not at RCC, you can find her spending time with her family in Lumberton, her husband Daniel and daughter Elizabeth, getting lost in a good book, writing fiction, putting together jigsaw puzzles, or traveling to historical places she has never been to.