"Vast scope of knowledge" makes for a superb instructor
Niki Theis-Coulter says she has found her niche at RCC.
Before joining the RCC social science faculty in 1998, she taught at Salt Lake City Community College, the University of Utah, and a college in Australia.
“I enjoy the community college level because the focus is on teaching — not publishing or researching,” she explained. “I like the teaching aspect. My job here is to be with students. I would never go back.
Students like Frank Hamilton are glad. “Her scope of knowledge is vast. She has master’s degrees in psychology and history and draws from many sources to enhance her teaching,” Hamilton said. “Niki is very knowledgeable and she uses humor in the classroom to make learning fun.”Niki holds a bachelor’s degree in social science at Brigham Young University, master’s degrees in psychology and history from Utah State University, and conducted doctoral studies at Melbourne University in Australia.
Frank Hamilton building new career at RCC
Frank Hamilton possesses key traits that make for an outstanding psychologist, says Rogue Community College social science instructor Niki Theis-Coulter.
“Frank always questions ‘why?’ He doesn’t take things at face value,” Theis-Coulter said. “And as a person, he has a great, funky sense of humor.”
Hamilton began attending RCC in fall 2008 after a 17-year career as a residential carpenter.
“Work was slowing down, and I was nearing 40, so I decided it was time to move on,” said Hamilton, who chose Rogue for its programs, affordability and convenience.
While working to complete his Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree, Hamilton earned a 3.8 GPA. He aims to transfer to the Oregon Health & Science University nursing program at Southern Oregon University and pursue a dual major in psychology. Eventually, he would like to teach at the college level.
Hamilton also encouraged his wife Jennifer to enroll at Rogue; she is now studying in RCC’s Early Childhood Education program. The couple have four children, ages 7-21.
One of first things Hamilton did upon enrolling at RCC was to sign up for the TRiO Student Support program.
“Because I’d been out of school so long, I needed as much help as I could get. TRiO’s tutoring and one-to-one counseling services have been instrumental in my initial success and planning to transfer,” he said. “TRiO is a very positive, encouraging force on campus,” Hamilton observed. “For non-traditional students like myself who’ve been out of school 20 years, TRiO can help you get over the first stumbling blocks.”
Hamilton also cites the quality of instruction at RCC. “The instructors here are top-notch, but more importantly they care about you as a successful student,” he said. One stand-out is Niki Theis-Coulter, who teaches for the RCC Social Science Department.
“Her scope of knowledge is vast. She has masters degrees in psychology and history and draws from many sources to enhance her teaching,” Hamilton said. “Niki is very knowledgeable, and she uses humor in the classroom to make learning fun.”
Hamilton received financial assistance from the RCC Foundation in the form of several scholarships: $1,000 from the Carpenter Foundation, a $500 L.J., Julia and H.H. Doerfling Memorial Scholarship, a $750 James F. & Marion L. Miller scholarship.
“Scholarships take a lot of pressure off,” Hamilton said. “You spend so much time studying, financial aspects can weigh heavily on you. Scholarships have helped me focus on education,” he explained.
While he hit the books hard, Hamilton also became involved with the Associated Students of Rogue Community College, lobbying state lawmakers in Salem to increase funding for Oregon Opportunity Grants, and serving as the student government’s Health and Wellness director.
“I’m thoroughly enjoying my college experience,” he said. “Student government is a unique way to be involved.”
Next year, Hamilton will serve as president of ASGRCC on the RCC Redwood Campus, and as president of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), RCC’s honor society. His goals include helping enhance student life opportunities and integrating the community with the campus. Hamilton also heads up a book club, which loans textbooks to students at no charge and has amassed 300-400 volumes.
“The best thing about RCC is the interaction with other people,” he concluded. “It’s really refreshing to come into contact with younger people and new ideas. It helps you look through a window in a wider world.”
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