OCtech Honors 2017 Educators of the Year

Three faculty and staff members have been honored as Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College’s Educators of the Year and were recognized during the South Carolina Technical Education Association’s annual conference Feb. 16-18 in Myrtle Beach.

Photo of Sandra AikenSandra Aiken, human resources benefits manager at OCtech, is the outstanding staff honoree; Crystal Mallner, a psychology instructor, is the outstanding faculty member; and Cleveland “Cleve” Wilson Jr., director of agency compliance, academic support and institutional effectiveness at the college, is the outstanding administrator.

SCTEA is a professional association of technical education personnel and others interested in post-secondary technical education.

Aiken joined the OCtech staff in November 2014. Her job is to oversee all employee benefits and coordinate benefit fairs, wellness screenings, onsite workshops and more. She began her human resources career in January 1993 after graduating from OCtech with an associate in business degree in office systems technology.

“I have over 20 years of human resources professional experience in private manufacturing and real estate companies,” she said. “I assisted in the start-up of two manufacturing companies – Allied Air Enterprises Inc. in Orangeburg and Wilbert Plastic Services Inc. in St. Matthews.”

During that time, she continued her education. Aiken earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational management from Voorhees College in 1998 and a master’s degree in organization and management with a specialization in human resources management from Capella University in 2006.

“OCtech is supportive, provides a four-day workweek and allows me to have a great quality of life,” she said. “I like talking and listening to employees about any ideas or concerns they may have. Customer service and providing support to all employees – including students – is important to me. I believe that if I take care of OCtech employees, they will be as productive as OCtech needs them to be.”

Aiken is an active member of Bull Swamp Baptist Church in Orangeburg, where she has served on the Events and Finance committees and is a member of the Pastor’s Search Committee. She has been member of the National Society for Human Resource Management since 2008 and a local SHRM member since 2015. She was named to Cambridge’s Who’s Who Among Executives, Professionals and Entrepreneurs in 2008, and is a member of the Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society and Who’s Who Among American Students. Aiken regularly volunteers for OCtech college and foundation functions.

“My goal is to fairly and consistently help each person by going above and beyond assisting them with their business and personal matters. It does not matter how busy I am, I will always take out time to assist them,” Aiken said. “OCtech provided the groundwork for my professional career, and now that I am an employee of the college, I feel that I am giving back to the college, as well.”

Aiken met her husband, Marvin, while they were both students at OCtech. They live in Calhoun County and have four daughters, Lisa, Kimberly, Shauna and Katrina.

Photo of Crystal MallnerMallner began teaching at OCtech in 2011. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in psychology from East Carolina University. She previously taught at ECU and Midlands Technical College, where she was named the Adjunct Faculty Member of the Year in 2009.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at OCtech, and truly love working with the faculty, staff and students,” Mallner said. “They have become like a family to me, and I cannot imagine working anywhere else.”

In addition to her duties as a psychology instructor at the college, Mallner serves as coordinator of OCtech’s Presidential Scholars program. She has also been at the forefront of the college’s transition to a new learning management system, creating training materials for faculty, staff and students on the new software. Mallner teaches marriage preparation classes, counsels engaged couples and leads religious education courses on a variety of topics for her church. She also provides a lecture series for different community organizations in her hometown. Mallner and her husband, Aaron, live in Elgin.

“It is important to love your job, to feel that you serve a greater purpose, and OCtech fulfills this,” she said. “I would not drive an hour to work for just any place.”

Photo of Cleve WilsonWilson has been at OCtech since 2006. His duties include directing the college-wide assessment and evaluation programs to include the assessment of organizational goals, targets and defined research activities. Additionally, he coordinates the data analysis, forecasting and projections of the college’s strategic plan; serves as the conduit for college reporting to external agencies; and analyzes and writes software programs that extract data from automated college systems, among other duties.

“The Office of Institutional Effectiveness is extremely and intimately involved with all areas of the college,” he said.

Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from South Carolina State University. He received an MBA in management information systems and general management from Augusta University and a certificate of graduate study in higher education and higher education administration at the University of South Carolina. Wilson is currently enrolled in the University of Maryland’s University College Doctor of Management in Community College Policy and Administration program.

When not running data reports and analyses for OCtech, Wilson serves his community as a lunch buddy and mentor for school children, and works with the South Carolina Youth Advocate Program and Richland County Sheriff’s Department Youth Arbitration Program.

“I like the opportunity to give back to the community, and especially our youth and adults seeking a better or different way of life,” he said.