“This was a time when personal computers were becoming very prevalent,” he said, “and technology was being integrated into the classroom at a rapid pace. We were also adding computer labs around the campus. I worked closely with the director of technology services, then Dr. Betsy Jones, to co-ordinate and integrate technology throughout the college. During this time, we also upgraded our campus infrastructure to deploy Internet access throughout the campus. It was a very exciting time.”
As Pickett revealed, it wasn’t Shellman’s original intent to go into education. After he was graduated in the spring of ’84 from North Carolina State University, where he earned a degree in computer science, he planned to go into business or industry. His parents had a combined 75 years of experience in the Gaston County Schools, and he was determined that he would not be a teacher. However, when he learned about a job opening as an instructor in Gaston College’s computer science department, he went for an interview and was offered the position.
“I am still here 35 years later,” said Shellman, “and I still love it. I guess, due to my parents, I was born to be in education. Thanks, Mom and Dad.”
Since joining the college, he has continued his education and completed a master of science degree in computer education from Barry University and an educational specialist in higher education degree and a doctorate in education, the latter two both from Appalachian State University.
“What I learned from all my degrees is that there is so very much that I do not know,” said he said. “I continue to learn each and every day.”
The information technology program has changed substantially since 1984, as Shellman observed.
“Looking back,” he said, “it was like ‘Star Trek’ in the 1960’s. No one could believe it then, and it is sometimes hard for me to believe it now. I never could have imagined the technology we have today at our fingertips. Children today take all the technology for granted. However, I remember all too well when none of it was here.”
In 2016, the N.C. Community College System underwent a curriculum improvement project regarding information technology programs. Gaston College implemented the project outcomes in 2017, and that resulted in updated and stronger programs, including a new data analytics and database management program. Coursework for the program includes terminology and design, database administration, analytics, back-up and recovery, performance, database programming and tools and related topics. Students develop the ability to implement, support, manage and analyze industry standard database systems.
“With everything in our society relying on data,” said Shellman, “this program gives students the opportunity to learn skills that will benefit them well into the future.
“I feel that I was put in this environment to help students, and that is why I am still here today,” he added. “When I can just interact with students and teach, I am truly happy. Not everyone has the aptitude to major in information technology. However, they do have the aptitude and passion for many other things. Just interacting and meeting the needs of students is my biggest accomplishment.”
For more information about the information technology program at Gaston College, consult the Website at www.gaston.edu or contact Shellman by telephone or e-mail respectively at (704) 922-6278 or email@example.com.
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