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Two DELTA Staff Members Receive 2020 Provost’s Unit Award for Excellence

Copper wolves on central campus.
The Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost honored DELTA staff members David Howard and Charlene Pettiway each with the 2020 Provost’s Unit Award for Excellence, celebrating their outstanding contributions to DELTA and the NC State community.
Howard and Pettiway are two of six award recipients across the Provost’s unit who will each receive eight hours of paid leave, an engraved plaque and a check for $250. They will also be considered for the University Awards for Excellence, NC State’s highest honor for non-faculty members.

Instructional Media Producer Arthur Earnest and Lead Project Manager Laurie Gyalog were nominated for the award and will each receive a certificate of recognition. 

Congratulations to all of our DELTA recipients and nominees!

(Note: No in-person ceremony was held this spring due to COVID-19.)

David Howard, director, Instructional Innovation Services

Howard was nominated in the Efficiency and Innovation category by Daniel Davis, associate director, Instructional Design and Development, for his commitment to innovation and long-term advocacy for reducing student costs. 

Since joining DELTA in 2002, Howard has continually driven DELTA’s innovative culture. He leads a team of communication, media and instructional design experts who are on the cutting edge of digital learning at NC State. Together, they collaboratively develop virtual reality experiences (including the First Impressions virtual reality module, a recipient of the 2018 Campus Technology Impact award) and novel mobile applications. Thanks to Howard, Instructional Innovation Services boasts an environment of innovation, experimentation and flourishing creativity. 

Photo of David Howard and Arthur Earnest being led by the ranger at Merhcants Millpond in kayaks
David Howard and Arthur Earnest are led by the ranger at Merchants Millpond.

Howard is a leading advocate for low-cost course materials and Open Educational Resources (OER) at NC State. He has helped the university take actionable steps to encourage the use of free and low-cost materials, contributing to a measurable reduction of costs incurred by our students. 

When DELTA implemented Top Hat, a classroom response software, Howard was among those who saw the value in an enterprise technology where students could use their own devices rather than purchasing separate clickers. 

More recently, Howard launched a pilot program for faculty to use the Top Hat Marketplace, home to free or low-cost textbooks available for instructors to adopt and alter to fit their needs. The pilot supported 10 instructors across eight courses with funding from DELTA to switch course materials. These courses enroll 2,050 students each year with a total potential savings of $219,950 per year. Thanks to Howard’s proactive leadership and cross-campus collaboration, DELTA is now helping to shape the discussion around OER at NC State. He serves as the convener for the Academic Materials Affordability Committee, which is composed of members from DELTA, NC State Libraries, NC State Bookstores and Student Government. Together, they facilitate a collective awareness of increasing course costs for students and help address them.

Howard stands talking in front of a seated audience.
Howard leads a presentation at CTI.

Howard also worked with Will Cross from the Libraries to make NC State a 2019-2020 OpenStax Institutional Partner with a goal to increase the use of Open Educational Resources at the university. The two spearheaded the Open Textbook Grant program. The first wave of projects has already reduced costs for 4,595 students with savings between $45 and $173 per year on textbooks. 

Howard has been a proponent for enhancing innovation and efficiency and ensuring that processes run smoothly at DELTA. He has a long and continuing history of efforts aimed at making our organization function at its best and keeping bottlenecks to a minimum. 

Howard and Cuales lean over a roast pig on a barbecue.
Howard (right) and Cuales (left) prepare the main course at DELTA’s annual pig pickin’.

To make sure his teams are recognized for their hard work, Howard regularly organizes submissions for awards and conferences as well as other opportunities to share DELTA innovations. As a result, his teams have been celebrated for their innovations and achievements on the campus, local and national level. Howard understands that recognition and encouragement are keys to an effective organization, and he believes strongly in creating and nurturing community. For 11 years, he and Creative Director, New Media Development Mike Cuales have hosted DELTA’s annual pig pickin’, at times drawing more than 100 colleagues, family and friends. 

Outside of work, you might find Howard racing with his wife, Anna, and the Carolina Sailing Club (of which he is Commodore) or playing strategic board games. He recently helped to start a gaming group at DELTA and has played a role in organizing Cary Band Day for six years, ensuring that everyone has a good experience. 

“David is part of the engine that moves us forward in making a difference in teaching and learning at NC State,” says Davis. 

Charlene Pettiway, technology support technician, DELTA LearnTech

Pettiway was nominated in the Customer Service category by Stacy Gant, director, Instructional Support Services for her excellent support services and leadership efforts with the DELTA LearnTech Help Desk

2018 Pride of the Wolfpack Recipients pictured with Senior Vice Provost Tom Miller. Back row left to right: Shawn Colvin, Jonathan Champ, Tremayne Grimes and Tom Miller. Front row left to right: Leisa Bolles, Charlene Pettiway, Allie Giro, Angela Hallman and Yan Shen.
2018 Pride of the Wolfpack Recipients pictured with Senior Vice Provost Tom Miller. Back row left to right: Shawn Colvin, Jonathan Champ, Tremayne Grimes and Tom Miller. Front row left to right: Leisa Bolles, Charlene Pettiway, Allie Giro, Angela Hallman and Yan Shen. Photo by Katie Harris.

Pettiway joined DELTA in July 2014. Since then, she has successfully resolved 4,325 help calls, providing high quality instructional technology support to NC State faculty as they integrate DELTA-supported learning technologies into their teaching practice. Pettiway is one of two staff members who are available to faculty during LearnTech’s extended help desk hours, which include Sundays and weekday evenings.

Her strong professionalism and unparalleled product knowledge have drawn extensive recognition. Each month, LearnTech awards a gold, silver or bronze badge to Help Desk staff with the highest average customer satisfaction ratings. Pettiway has earned 22 badges, holding the team record. She is also a three-time member of the “LearnTech Elite,” a title awarded to team members who receive a perfect rating across all customer feedback surveys in a given month. 

Three staff members gather around a desktop computer.
LearnTech Help Desk Staff Member Charlene Pettiway Reviewing a Help Ticket Survey. Photo by Scott Watkins.

Clients often reach out to LearnTech during times of confusion or frustration. Pettiway not only answers their questions, but leaves a lasting positive impression. Her customer feedback surveys are often filled with praise. 

“Charlene Pettiway was extremely helpful and patient with me as she helped me to resolve this issue. I am a new Moodle user. Charlene is very knowledgeable and could answer every question I asked. This is the second time I have scheduled a consultation. Both times Charlene has been the consultant and both consultations I was helped with my issue. She is an outstanding consultant!” says a client. 

Another client described Pettiway as “the epitome of customer support timely, clear, and pleasant.”

Pettiway leads a number of internal operations for LearnTech. She coordinates weekly Help Desk team meetings to review and resolve complex issues. She has taken the lead on a variety of support-related projects, including the redesign of Learning with Moodle. The online support resource is designed to help students taking blended and online courses in Moodle and was reviewed 8,506 times in 2019 alone. 

Pettiway organizes all of LearnTech’s instructional consultation requests, ensuring instructors have access to intensive one-to-one support. Using excellent analytical skills, she matches support requests to team members with the appropriate expertise, including herself. 

Several LearnTech colleagues recall looking to Pettiway for inspiration. 

Pettiway poses with her family in dress attire.
Pettiway is the primary caregiver for her father, a retired U.S. Army veteran.

“Charlene handles difficult situations with a calmness that is inspiring to me. Her depth of knowledge on our tools and willingness to go the extra mile definitely encourages me to do the same,” says a team member.

Pettiway likes to listen to music in her spare time and even plays guitar. She loves spending time with her family. As the primary caregiver for her father, a retired U.S. Army veteran, she manages his daily care, activities and finances. 

Pettiway represents the standard of excellence that DELTA is constantly striving for. 

“While Charlene is consistently at the top in terms of productivity and performance, she doesn’t call attention to it. She quietly gets the job done and can be counted on to work independently while doing her best,” says Gant. “Charlene shows kindness and patience towards everyone colleagues and customers and we are deeply thankful for all she does to support both faculty and students at NC State.”