After a 30-year career in law enforcement and the military, many people might have chosen to relax and take it easy. Cape Fear Community CollegeÂ criminal justice instructor Jerry Duncan isn’t one of those people.
Duncan was recently honored as the winner of the 2010 Marilyn Goodman Anderson Award for Excellence in Teaching. Nominated by students, faculty and staff,Â DuncanÂ was chosen forÂ his outstanding ability to motivate and inspire students, his leadership ability, devotion to student success and dedication to the mission of the college.
Duncan’sÂ family moved to Wilmington six years ago afterÂ he retired from the U.S. Army andÂ his sonÂ graduated from high school, but his days of traditional retirement left him wanting to do something more.
“After a brief period of ‘retirement’, I needed somethingÂ more to do than just retirement activities,” said Duncan.
Then one dayÂ he noticed an ad in the Star News regarding a position vacancy for a criminal justice instructor.Â HeÂ feelsÂ fortunate to be hired and began teaching a fullÂ schedule in the spring 2005 semester -Â and with that,Â a second career was born.
Like other retired professionals, DuncanÂ considers his role as a teacher an extension of his formerÂ career.
“For me, teaching at CFCC is the culminating experience of all that has come before,” Duncan said.
DuncanÂ discoveredÂ an interest in teachingÂ while training Army soldiers in various intelligence disciplines.
“I love students. I love learning about them and learning from them.Â I love the fact that they are sometimes smarter than I give them credit for, and that they take from me more than they sometimes realize.Â I help them grow up and mature…they help me stay alert and on my toes.Â It’s a wonderful symbiotic relationship.Â In the end it is my goal to make them a better person if I can.Â When they let me know that I have been successful, I cannot wait to try again,” Duncan said.
However, Duncan’sÂ teaching philosophy is more than simply imparting skills or knowledge of a subject.Â His goal is toÂ guide studentsÂ on how to succeed.
“Some students come toÂ Cape FearÂ with dreams but not a plan to make them happen.Â Others are still working on their dreams and goals.Â In either case it is incumbent on me help them realize their vision of their future,” Duncan said.
Duncan beganÂ his career in law enforcement in 1975 whenÂ he graduated college and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the US Army as a military police officer.Â Â His assignments included duties as an training officer at the US Army MP School and as MP Platoon Leader and Operations Officer.
AfterÂ four years on active duty,Â he returned to civilian life and continuedÂ his law enforcement career as a deputy sheriffÂ in the patrol divisionÂ of theÂ Greenville County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina.
InÂ his first year there,Â he was named the Greenville County Sheriff’sÂ Office Rookie of the Year and awarded the JP Strom Award as top graduate of the SC Law Enforcement Basic Training Academy.Â LaterÂ he moved to the Simpsonville, SCÂ Police Department as a patrol officer.
In 1986,Â Duncan left law enforcement and entered the business industry working as an investigations supervisor for a private investigations company.Â Â In 1988,Â he went back into the Army, this timeÂ as a military intelligence officer with a primary designation as a counter-intelligence officer.Â Â His duties included the conduct of sensitive security and personnel investigations, as well as security assessments of various organizations and facilities.