Dr. Margaret (Peggy) Receives Presidential Medallion for Instructional Excellence
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 5/15/2008
CONTACT: DR. PEGGY CHAMPION, 646-1357
(By Lisa Garrett)
PENDLETON --- In her four years as Veterinary Technology department head, Dr. Margaret (Peggy) Champion’s passion for the profession, the program, the students and Tri-County Technical College has been evident in her work ethic and her vision for the program.
“Dr. Champion is a passionate department head, instructor, student advocate and defender of animals,” said Dr. Lynn Lewis, dean of the Health Education Division. “She has made a tremendous difference in student learning, student experience and confidence, and the program’s recognition.”
Dr. Champion received the highest award presented to the faculty, the Presidential Medallion for Instructional Excellence, at the College's 45th annual commencement May 15.
Dr. Ronnie L. Booth, president, presented the medallion to the Anderson resident. The medallion is presented each year to the instructor who has contributed the most during the academic year to the profession of teaching, to the development of the College and to the students.
“Peggy Champion is a highly respected veterinarian who recognizes the value of the licensed veterinary technician in the veterinary practice. Peggy’s goal is to graduate confident, skilled and experienced veterinary technicians who are leaders in the workplace by the reputation of the program they represent,” Dr. Booth said. “No other veterinary technician program in the country gives as much hands-on experience for students as Tri-County’s.”
“A hands-on instructor, Dr. Champion works with freshmen and senior students in real-life clinical settings where animals literally depend on the skill and expertise of students for their welfare. The animal’s experiences become the teachable moments. She leads a team of faculty that is adept at making the clinical situation work within the pedagogy. Students learn from her and from each other. They learn by doing and they graduate with the confidence that they can,” added Dr. Lewis.
Students receive instruction and extensive practice experience in the laboratory to develop competencies in large and small animal nursing, diagnostic laboratory techniques, radiology, surgical technology and hospital management. The two-year program includes an externship during the summer term. Dr. Champion was instrumental in the College’s expansion of the program in the summer of 2007 to include evening classes to accommodate persons who work during the day.
Dr. Champion and her staff work with all shelters in three counties to aid in animal spaying/neutering and adoption. Twice a semester, Adoption Days are held on campus for pets (cats and dogs from the animal shelters) that have been cared for during the semester as part of the Veterinary Technology program. All animals are up to date on shots and have been socialized and introduced to basic commands. “This allows students to have more clinical experiences than ever before, strengthening their knowledge base, critical decision-making skills and competency,” said Dr. Lewis.
Further enhancing the clinical experiences, Tri-County was the only community college in the United States chosen in 2006 to receive Pepper, a prototype canine simulator used to teach anesthesia techniques to veterinary students. Pepper, the simulcast head of a grown Labrador Retriever, is invaluable in teaching canine intubation skills by giving students more confidence in handling emergency situations before they work with live animals.
Her availability to students is not restricted to office hours. “Animal care and husbandry extend to weekends,” said Dr. Lewis.
Community service activities are woven throughout the semester to allow students to make a difference for the campus and the community. Projects include participation the J.D. Massey Horse Show as a student fundraiser and the development of a campus meditation garden outside of Halbert Hall. The Student Chapter of the North American Veterinary Technician Association purchased Feline Leukemia FIV combo tests and donated them to Anderson Animal Shelter, along with donating time to the American Saddlebred Association of the Carolinas horse show. In 2005, following Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Champion and Stephanie Brown, licensed veterinary technician/adjunct instructor, volunteered to treat 12 dogs rescued from the streets of New Orleans.
“She is well respected by students, peer veterinarians and administration. Employees notice her passion for the students and the creatures they serve because Peggy and her team make a noticeable difference for the campus and for students,” said Dr. Lewis.
Dr. Champion has 27 years of veterinary practice and classroom experience. She first served as Tri-County’s Veterinary Technology department head from 1989 - 90. Prior to returning to teaching, she worked as a veterinarian for Village Veterinarian in Florida and at veterinarian at practices in Macon, Augusta and Thomasville, GA. She holds B.S. and DVM degrees from the University of Florida. She is a member of the Georgia and Florida Boards of Veterinary Examiners and holds memberships in the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association and the Florida and Georgia Veterinary Medical Association. Her community service includes work with the Audubon Society, the Georgia Conservancy and the American Association of University Women.
Last year she was nominated for the 2008 Nestle Purina Petcare Award, an awards program that celebrates excellence and recognizes those who have made a difference in the field of small animal medicine.