On November 13, Renee R. Felts completed a Doctor of Education degree with an emphasis in Higher Education Leadership at Northcentral University (Prescott Valley, AZ).
Prior to receiving her doctorate, Felts completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Information Systems in 1997 from Chowan University (Murfreesboro, NC), where she also earned an Associate of Science degree in Accounting in 1982; a Master of Science degree in Education with an emphasis in Computer Education in 1987 from Old Dominion University; and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Education from Barton College (Wilson, NC) in 1984. In addition, she completed a12-semester-hour program in Web Design from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC in 2002 and obtained the “Quality Matters” certification for online instruction in 2012.
Felts said, “This journey has been a long one for me. Over the last six years, I lost my mother; I lost my brother-in-law; one of my daughters got married; I became Campus Dean; and recently, I became a grandmother. I say all this as encouragement to others who are mapping through this process. I took several leaves of absence throughout my journey, but with the support of my family, friends, and colleagues, I stayed the course.”
Dr. Felts is the Dean of the Franklin Campus and Occupational Technology Programs at Paul D. Camp Community College, where she is also a professor for the Information Systems Technology Department (IST), teaching both online and live classes and advising students. Her IST responsibilities include previewing software for the Computer Lab; preparation of an annual budget and a booklist; training and mentoring adjunct faculty; and representing the department of the IST Peer Group. Her leadership positions at PDCCC include serving on the President’s Advisory Council and the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Leadership Team.
Her employment history also includes Assistant Professor, School of Business, at Chowan University (1986-2002); Part-time Trainer for the Virginia Department of Transportation (1996-2001) through PDCCC’s Division of Workforce Development; Adjunct Instructor for PDCCC’s IST Department; and Computer Literacy Instructor for Isle of Wight Academy (1985-1986).
In 2010, Felts was recognized as Educator of the Year at PDCCC and also received the NISOD (National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development) Excellence in Teaching Award.
Her dissertation was titled, Comparing Learning Outcomes among Community-College Students Based on the Use of a Microsoft Word Simulator. It was a quantitative, quasi-experimental study that compared student learning outcomes in a computer-applications course in a small rural community college in southeast Virginia, based on whether a simulator was used for instruction. A nonequivalent-group pretest-posttest design was used. The findings suggested that the results with a simulator may be comparable to the results using the traditional textbook tutorial. However, as the study was underpowered, the results were inconclusive. This research contributed to the literature as a preliminary study, but future research is needed to confirm the results in a fully-powered study. A study resulting in larger sample size is recommended.
Felts cites her mother as one individual whom she must acknowledge as an influential part of her success. “She was one of the smartest people I have ever known, yet she had only a high school diploma. She could read manuals and fix just about anything. She consistently encouraged education in our family. In 2010, she passed away, but many times I heard her encouraging words: ‘You can do it.’”
Felts gives credit as well to her dear friend and colleague, Robert Tureman, who played a big part in her success. He has served as her mentor since 1987, providing both personal and professional advice. “Without his support, I could never have finished this journey.”
She also notes special thanks to her family, saying: “My husband Michael, who probably thought I would never finish, and my two daughters, Hillary and Taylor, always supported and encouraged me. For the past several years, I have been preoccupied, so I give thanks for their patience, love and support.”
“Foremost, I give thanks to God. Many prayers have been sent to him for guidance and persistence. Through his mercy and grace, I finished my dissertation.”
Dr. Felts and her husband, Michael, reside in Franklin. They have two daughters: Taylor M. Felts and Hillary L. Brock, married to Jason W. Brock—and one grandson, Drake Brock. Felts is the daughter of David R. Ricks, Jr. and the late Arlean L. Ricks. She has two sisters, Rhee R. Cumbey and Randi R. Foster.