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CCAC Professor Stephen Wells receives Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty Recognition

PITTSBURGH—Community College of Allegheny County English Professor Dr. Stephen Wells of Mt. Lebanon has received the prestigious 2020 Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty Recognition from the American Association of Community Colleges. This national award recognizes individuals who make a difference by demonstrating passion, showing a willingness to support students inside and outside of the classroom, participating in college committees, and going above and beyond what is required to ensure students are successful in their academic endeavors.

“Receiving the Dale Parnell Distinguished Faculty award is gratifying to me as an individual, but more than a recognition of individual merit, it is recognition of the organization we all represent as members of the college community,” said Wells. “I am part of a much larger team of capable and caring people, and that is what allows me to be effective in doing my job, of taking care of our students, one at a time. Each of our students has a story and must be treated as an individual of value, of worth in the world.”

In his letter to the nomination committee, CCAC President Dr. Quintin Bullock attests to Wells’ exceptional instructional and leadership skills and the passion that he demonstrates for education: “Dr. Wells is committed to academic excellence and embraces a holistic model of learner development. He thoroughly understands that traditional and nontraditional students come to college-level learning at all ages, from diverse backgrounds, with different abilities, and with a variety of academic and financial resources. He strongly believes that learners deserve an opportunity to succeed in meaningful, useful ways, to be challenged in their development as critical thinkers, and that it is his role to help them accomplish their educational goals through quality teaching and mentoring.”

CCAC Southeast Region President Charlene Newkirk, who administers South Campus, stated “Dr. Wells is innovative in his teaching, energetic and engaging with his students, active in our college governance structure, and caring about the welfare of our students and our community. He is always focused on how students learn, and he is a faculty leader who is committed to eliminating barriers to success and stigmas that our students and their families may face. I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to work with him to benefit our community.”

Wells has received numerous awards during his tenure at CCAC, including the Student Life Impact Award (2018–2019), the CCAC Vanguard Diversity Award (2011), and the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award (2008). He currently chairs CCAC’s College Council and has previously served as chair of the Academic Planning Subcommittee. From 2013–2017, he served as the co-chair of the self-study process through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. He also served as a member of the Achieving the Dream (ATD) Relaunch Team and the ATD Steering Committee. At the state level, Wells represented CCAC on the Pennsylvania Commission for the Community Colleges Assessment and Placement Steering Committee.

A long-time native of Mt. Lebanon and a graduate of Mt. Lebanon High School, Wells holds an Associate of Science degree from CCAC, a Bachelor of Arts degree with a dual major in English and History from Duquesne University, and both Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in English Literature, also from Duquesne University.

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is the primary advocacy organization for the nation’s community colleges. The association represents nearly 1,200 two-year, associate degree-granting institutions and more than 12 million students
Dr. Stephen Wells
Dr. Stephen Wells