South Florida State College’s faculty recognition efforts got a boost from two Highlands County residents.

Bill and Lisa Jarrett pledged funds to endow a teaching chair for an SFSC faculty member dedicated to teaching business courses. The Jarretts founded the Bill Jarrett Ford dealership in Avon Park.

Bill and Lisa Jarrett, 200dpi

Bill and Lisa Jarrett

Laurie and Dr. Norm Stephens designated their donation to fund an endowment to support a teaching chair for any academic discipline taught at the college by a full-time faculty member. Dr. Stephens recently retired as SFSC’s third president after serving in the college’s top post for11 years.

“The Teaching Chair program gives us a way to show appreciation to excellence in teaching,” said Donald L. Appelquist, SFSC Foundation executive director. 

Appointments to SFSC endowed teaching chairs are highly competitive, Appelquist said. Recipients are chosen by a selection committee, with advice and counsel from the college faculty. Selections are confirmed by SFSC’s president Dr. Thomas C. Leitzel.

Faculty members appointed to a teaching chair are awarded $5,000 during two years, with half going toward professional development activities related to the professors’ discipline of study and half as salary additive.

Dr.Stephens and wife Laurie, 200dpi

Laurie and Dr. Norm Stephens

SFSC currently boasts three endowed teaching chairs. The Carol Emery Endowed Teaching Chair was established by a former SFSC mathematics instructor and benefits mathematics faculty.

Endowed teaching chairs in nursing and dental education, both funded by the Highlands County Health Facilities Authority, are awarded to faculty members who teach students in the health sciences.

“These chairs not only allow us to acknowledge current faculty, but also to attract the very best to our institution,” Appelquist said.

SFSC offers prospective donors two levels at which to endow teaching chairs: one requires an endowment level of $50,000 and the other $100,000.  The Jarrett and Stephens families chose to endow their chairs at the $100,000 level.

“We would love to have a teaching chair available in every discipline, and it is our goal to do that very thing,” Appelquist said.