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Lisa Yanover and Sally Baldwin Named 2020 McPherson Award Winners

From his vision and institutional leadership to his support of scholarships and encouragement for individual students, Napa Valley College Founding President Dr. Harry McPherson touched many lives. Each year, Napa Valley College awards the McPherson Distinguished Teaching Award to faculty members who are nominated for the honor by their peers, students, or community members for their commitment to excellence in education.

The awards are funded by the McPherson Endowment, established by Dr. McPherson and his family and now held by the Napa Valley College Foundation.

Meet Lisa Yanover

Lisa Yanover is a Professor in the English Department. She joined the college in 2002 as a part-time instructor and was hired as a full-time tenure-track faculty in 2006. Lisa is also a talented, published poet, with the respect of her peers. In addition to her NVC work, she has been a prominent and valuable member of the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference team, serving in many capacities for more than a decade. Lisa is admired by her colleagues for her “deep commitment to our students and this college through her work with the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, her leadership on assessment and curriculum development, and her … highest standards for rigor, student engagement and student connection.”

Lisa is described as tireless on behalf of her students and her teaching, obsessed with continual improvement and open to second opinions, with high standards for both her students and herself. Her students leave her classes prepared to meet any writing challenge in any college class. Lisa has also served in many faculty leadership roles, which include positions on the Academic Senate executive board, Faculty Association negotiating team, and Program Evaluation co-chair. She is currently serving in her second year as Curriculum Committee faculty co-chair. As one of her colleagues wrote, “[This is] the true gift that Professor Yanover has, and that she displays in the work she does all across this campus, this ability and willingness to step away from her comfortable chair in order to better serve others.”

“I continue to be grateful every day for the opportunity to learn from my students and to watch them, in the fleeting moment our lives intersect, discover the importance of their ideas and their ability to express them.”

Meet Sally Baldwin

Sally Baldwin is an Instructor in the Kinesiology and Health Division of the Physical Education Department. She joined the college in 2013 and recently earned her Ph.D. from Boise State University with her dissertation on creating evidence-based online teaching and learning environments, a passion that guided the Physical Education Division through 2020’s unprecedented COVID-19 emergency. Sally has put in countless hours teaching, assisting and supporting faculty in her division as they moved to online curriculum, working to establish professional, academically and pedagogically sound classes for students.

Sally also consults and teaches graduate level courses on instructional design at other community and four-year colleges. Her research interests include online course quality and course evaluation instruments, and her work has been published in peer-reviewed academic journals.

Known by her students and colleagues as compassionate, caring and knowledgeable, Sally’s love of learning and excitement about the subject matter spreads to her students; as one colleague put it, “They can’t help but to climb on the Sally Express to Learning.” She is able to engage students on sensitive, personal concepts in a caring, empathetic and safe manner. Her respect for students carries through in all aspects of her classroom, whether in-person or online.

“I am grateful to work with amazing colleagues who are kind, thoughtful, and talented. I love teaching at Napa Valley College and sharing my enthusiasm for online education, health and wellness.”

The 2020 awardees were honored at a special online ceremony on May 8 and recognized for their achievement at the Board of Trustees meeting on May 14.

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