Employee Spotlight: Robin Hardin
Robin Hardin stands as a shining example of the profound impact that exceptional educators can have on the lives of their students. Robin’s journey, starting from a community college background herself, has come full circle as she continues to inspire others through her teaching.
This year, she is the recipient of the Marilyn Goodman Anderson Endowed Award for Excellence in Teaching, an accolade she holds with deep gratitude and humility. Robin’s journey through education is marked by her own experience within the community college system, where she discovered her passion for teaching.
Inspired by her first composition instructor, Robin kindled that same flame of motivation within countless others over the years. Robin’s story is a testament to the power of dedicated educators who not only shape minds but also inspire the next generation to reach their full potential.
Here’s what some of her students and colleagues have shared about her:
Student 1: “She creates an environment for every student to thrive. Mrs. Hardin takes the time to understand her students’ needs and with her guidance, makes the writing process a little less intimidating.”
Student 2: “She was friendly and enthusiastic during class, really wanting us to enjoy what she was teaching. Mrs. Hardin is an excellent teacher and an incredibly caring person. I am thankful that I had the chance to know her.”
Colleague: “She believes that college education is for everyone, and her kindness and patience are a welcome relief for reticent students. Her coursework is innovative and engaging, and she has the unique ability to challenge students who are academically thriving while simultaneously supporting students who need extra skill-based scaffolding as they move through the semester.
Robin’s win left her in a state of pleasant shock. Throughout her career, she always felt honored just to be considered among the nominees, and her goal has always been to strive for excellence in her teaching. So, when her name was called, it took a moment for the realization to fully register.
“My name was called and I just sat there for a second. I was seated in the back and it seemed to take a long time to get to the stage,” shared Robin. “Mr. Morton cracked a joke about me wearing the medal to work every day. It was an endearing moment.”
We allowed Robin a moment to savor her win and let the initial surprise subside before inviting her to share her story and experiences at CFCC. She readily embraced the opportunity with a smile.
WHAT YEAR DID YOU START WORKING AT CFCC AND WHAT BROUGHT YOU HERE?
I started working at CFCC in August 1999. I moved to Wilmington for the position.
Before coming here, I taught as an adjunct faculty member at James Madison University for two years and taught full-time at Eastern Shore Community College for one year.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR WORK?
I think one of the most rewarding parts about working at the college is seeing our students make positive, meaningful changes in their lives. I enjoy hearing from former students who reach out to let me know about a recent success or milestone. Being a part of such a dynamic team of faculty and staff makes coming to work something that I look forward to. Working at CFCC is a privilege.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING, WHAT DO YOU DO?
I love spending time with my family. I also enjoy gardening, listening to podcasts, reading, running, and walking my dog.
WHO HAD THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR EDUCATION AND/OR CAREER PATH?
In college, I was influenced by so many phenomenal professors. I think the one who made the most impact on my career was my composition professor at Virginia Western Community College. Her passion and joy for teaching inspired me to pursue a career at a two-year college. She encouraged me to set a goal of earning a master’s degree. I’m not sure I knew what a master’s degree was at that point in my life, but her words stuck with me. She believed I had the ability to achieve excellence, so I started to believe it, too. In all of my roles at CFCC, I am mindful about how I project myself. I want my attitude to reflect my enthusiasm for our college and its mission. I would love to know that I have had a positive influence on students and my colleagues in the same way this composition professor impacted me.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
Here’s my (maybe too long) backstory that leads up to my parents’ advice:
When I first enrolled in college, I was not a strong student. As a young child, I was labeled “hyperactive,” but I grew up in the 1970s and 80s when we had no real strategies for coping with being hyper, aside from staying away from sugar, which I didn’t. School, especially high school, was a struggle for me. I lacked confidence and motivation. After I graduated, I did not see myself going to college. My parents, however, knew my potential. They encouraged me to enroll in my local community college. At this college, I slowly learned how to learn. It was not easy, but I eventually began to excel in my classes. My dad’s advice kept me on track. He always told me to keep pushing forward and to jump back up if I stumbled.
At one point in my academic transformation, I told my mom that I would love to be a college teacher, but my prior issues in school probably meant I should do something else. Her advice was life-changing. She told me that my past struggles would actually make me a stronger teacher because I could relate to students who might be struggling themselves.
WHAT IS SOMETHING NOT MANY PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I enjoy starting (and mostly completing) minor home DIY projects. Whenever I have more than a few days off from work, I will end up doing something like ripping up carpet or scraping popcorn off a ceiling. The popcorn scraping, however, is not a task I’d recommend for anyone who is a beginner like me.
DEGREES & CERTIFICATES
Associate in Science, General Studies, Virginia Western Community College
Bachelor of Arts, English, Maryville College
Master of Arts, English, James Madison University
National Council of Teachers of English
State Employees Association of North Carolina