September 4th, 2018
GC's Stemple shows you can indeed go home
Stemple enthusiastic about return to his roots as distance learning coordinator
Fred Stemple, Jr. is proving you can indeed go home – and Garrett College couldn't be happier.
"We're thrilled to have someone with Fred's skills and background in distance education joining our staff," said GC President Richard Midcap about Stemple, who is the college's new coordinator of distance learning. "The fact that his family has deep roots in Garrett County is just an added advantage."
Dr. Qing Yuan, GC's dean of academic affairs and the college's chief academic officer, agreed.
"Fred not only has the technical knowledge and skills in distance learning needed for the position, but also a broad range of qualifications beyond what the position requires," said Dr. Yuan. "Fred's 30 years in teaching as well as his leadership experience in higher education will help Garrett College in many ways to be successful in the years to come."
"Garrett College represents a pillar of the county's community where my family has lived for generations," said Stemple, who actually started his educational career as a substitute teacher with Garrett County Public Schools. "It made sense for me to join this institution's efforts and move my family to the area."
Stemple recently retired from Tidewater (Va.) Community College, where he rose all the way from a Biology Department instructional assistant to associate vice president for faculty professional development. During his TCC career, Stemple spent almost two decades as an assistant professor of biology before service as interim dean of the Natural Sciences Division and four years as associate vice president.
Stemple believes Garrett College has a unique opportunity to leverage distance education to better serve both local and out-of-county students.
"Distance education continues to grow nationally, and online courses are a natural fit for increasing enrollment in our vast county and surrounding region," said Stemple. "With other online college alternatives, the ‘home' college is still preferred by most residents. Garrett College's distance education can expand our convenient and vibrant online offerings to those in- and out-of-county, including our high school students."
Dr. Yuan noted that Stemple's vision for distance education aligns neatly with the college's strategic plan.
"One of our goals is to create more high-quality and unique online programs and classes to address the needs of the non-traditional student and working adults," said Dr. Yuan, adding, "The main goals of distance education are to increase student access and success."
Stemple said one area in which GC can enhance its students' educational experience is in the usefulness and effectiveness of its learning management system (LMS), which is a customized version of the national LMS "Blackboard".
"The Blackboard LMS provides a framework for structured course delivery from online to face-to-face courses," said Stemple. "Consistent navigation, communication and content delivery with opportunities for numerous innovative educational tools makes the LMS vital to the challenges of the new and returning student, and creates a clear pathway for their academic success."
Stemple said one of his passions is providing community college faculty with a wealth of professional development opportunities.
"Transitioning from a community college faculty member to an administrator has afforded me the opportunity to support and assist new and senior faculty members in their roles as educators," he said. "I hope I can contribute to Garrett from my career-long experiences in higher education from Virginia."
Stemple – who has bachelor's and master's degrees in biology from Old Dominion University – said he is pleased to be moving his family from the Virginia Shore to the mountains of Western Maryland.
"As a college biology instructor for 30 years, this area is close to heaven for a scientist, biologist and outdoorsman," remarked Stemple. "My wife and three kids are trading the beaches and marshes for the mountains and forests – not to forget the snow – but most of all our nearness to family is priceless."