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RCCs Paden and Edson will pass the torch to others

At the end of Rappahannock Community College’s 2011-12 academic year, two of its top faculty members will step down. Due to retire in June are associate professor of history John Paden, and Dr. Wendy Edson, coordinator of the associate-degree nursing program.

Retiring professors Wendy Edson and John Paden flank RCC President Crowther

Retiring professors Wendy Edson and John Paden flank RCC President Crowther

Professor Paden holds the degrees of bachelor of arts in history from the State University of New York at Cortland, master of public administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and master of arts in history, also from UNC-Chapel Hill. Throughout his teaching career, he has endeavored to help students achieve the best of which they are capable, at the community college level and later when they transfer to a four-year college or university.

Paden’s community college employment began at Durham Technical Community College in Durham, North Carolina, as a counselor in the student services division and later as a teacher. He started at RCC as an adjunct instructor of political science and history, and in 1996 joined the full-time faculty. He has acted as advisor to the Warsaw Campus chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, and has been instrumental in the selection of students to participate in the Virginia Community College System’s “Every Day is Community College Day” lobbying strategy at the Virginia General Assembly.

Since 2001, Paden has been RCC’s representative on the VCCS Chancellor’s Faculty Advisory Committee, serving as vice chair of the group for two years. He coordinated the college’s 2003 general obligation bond campaign, and has directed the college’s Honors Program since its inception in 2005. He has also attended national conferences at such historic locations as Concord, Massachusetts, as well as international seminars in Scotland, Spain, Morocco, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. His retirement plans include getting behind the wheel of an RV and traveling across the United States.

“I can’t give the traditional retirement speech, about ‘when I was first hired, I didn’t expect to be here long’,” he said, “because I knew then that this was the place for me. And it’s been true. It’s been a great ride—great friends, great colleagues—and I’m going to take a lot of good experiences and good memories away from RCC.”

Dr. Edson came to RCC in 2008 as an adjunct instructor, but within three years moved up to the position of coordinator of the associate-degree nursing program. She holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, with a minor in French, from Kalamazoo College (Michigan); another in nursing from Montana State University; a master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University; and a doctorate in nursing from the University of Maryland. In 2010 the college recognized her outstanding contributions by choosing her to represent RCC’s faculty in the annual Virginia Community College Association Showcase Awards.

When Edson first came to RCC, the ADN program had recently outgrown its partnership with J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, and was working through the complex process of implementing the full two-year degree at RCC. “You helped us sort things out,” RCC president Dr. Elizabeth Crowther told Edson. “You helped us get it all set up; you smoothed away the bumps. It hasn’t been easy,” she continued; but last year’s 100 percent pass rate for the state nursing examination attests to Edson’s success.

Edson is a member of the National League for Nursing, and of Sigma Theta Tau International, an honor society for baccalaureate and graduate nursing students demonstrating excellence in scholarship, and for leaders in the nursing profession whose achievements are exceptional. She has been a nurse for over 30 years, and has also been active in teaching and research. Some of the subjects she is particularly interested in are the quality of health care, maternity nursing, and public health nursing. She speaks fluent French, and she and her husband have a house in Nova Scotia; they plan to live there six months out of the year after she leaves RCC.

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