Computer Technology Instructor Named PTC Innovator of the Year



He wasn’t even born when Lean operating practices became fashionable, but Henry Ecker led several successful Lean initiatives at Piedmont Technical College (PTC) and stood out among his colleagues as a game changer. and problem solver. His accomplishments during the few years the computer technology instructor was in college earned him the title of PTC Innovator of the Year.

In addition to contributing his thoughts and insights while serving on several working committees and the Faculty Senate, Ecker offered educational assistance beyond his own classroom when needed.

“The only thing more amazing than Henry’s wealth of knowledge is the freedom and willingness with which he shares that knowledge,” said Jason White, PTC Electronic Engineering Technology Instructor. “He’s not even in my division and he’s had a positive impact on our program and the education of our students.

When Ecker joined the college’s online/hybrid course review committee, he immediately noticed the cumbersome and outdated process that was in place to review courses each semester.

“When Henry saw the process involved, he said, ‘OMG, I think I can help with that. You need an automated system,” said Menka Brown, acting dean of business information technology, public service and business arts.

Ecker immediately got to work, applying Lean principles, logic, and his programming expertise to streamline and simplify the course review process. The resulting database-based tool improved the committee chair’s ability to quickly identify areas for improvement.

“Henry made it a much leaner process that allowed assessors to automatically access courses in D2L (the college’s learning management system) in a centralized location, eliminating the need to send in the worksheet. calculus between assessors,” said Karla Gilliam, dean of the curriculum. and online learning. “It allowed us to come full circle. He even created color-coded charts and tables to visually represent the data so that we can interpret it easier and faster. He did a phenomenal job. »

The database also makes it much easier to identify professional development opportunities while saving hours and hours of faculty time.

“This single database will provide information for quality improvement at different levels of the college,” Gilliam said. “Just this database.”

In addition to developing the database, Ecker created a number of custom tools in D2L to make teachers’ lives easier, including a dynamic attendance scheduler as well as grade transfer instruments.

In his own courses, Ecker has added an incentive tool in D2L that adds competitive gaming elements to his courses to further engage and motivate his students. Several instructors have followed suit and incorporated the tool into their own courses.

“I was impressed with the depth and breadth of Dr. Ecker’s knowledge and expertise,” said Dr. Keli Fewox, vice president of academic affairs at PTC. “Even more impressive is his willingness to take on new projects and think about them in innovative ways. He continues to grow in his role in college and has become the benchmark when it comes to seeking new ways of thinking and to perform tasks in the most effective and efficient manner.

As Ecker’s reputation continues to blossom at PTC, so does the praise expressed for him across the colleges.

“Without a doubt, Henry is a rock star in the eyes of our faculty and staff,” said Hope E. Rivers, Ph.D., president of PTC. “Perhaps most remarkable about him is his complete lack of pretension or ego. He works tirelessly to improve processes throughout the college.

“Henry is really bright and he’s so young,” Brown said. “I know he spent hundreds of hours on this course review project. It’s just amazing.


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