William Harris, welding instructor at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Jackson County Campus, received House Resolution No. 46 from the state House of Representatives commending him for his selection as the American Welding Society’s (AWS) National Howard E. Adkins Memorial Instructor Membership Award for 2009, and for his outstanding education record. The resolution was authored by Rep. Billy Broomfield of Moss Point. Harris, who was selected for the AWS award based on his use of Web-enhanced instruction in his welding class, said the resolution and award were unexpected. “I was shocked, surprised and humbled by the Resolution,” he said. “I was equally as shocked at having won Instructor of the Year, and I still do not know who nominated me.” Harris, who has pioneered welding education over the 33 years he has taught at Gulf Coast, was the first person in the college district to receive Certified Welding Inspector certification and Certified Welding Educator credentials from the AWS. He has authored a Certified Welding Instructor (CWI) manual and was the first to establish a two-day seminar to train inspectors and other welding personnel for the AWS certification exam. His use of Web-enhanced classes is what won him the recent AWS award, however.
“When I went to a national conference several years ago, I was surprised to find out that I was the only welding instructor there using Web-enhanced classes,” he said. “That was the first thing I set up once our college began distance learning. I wanted my students to have access to notes and practice tests even when they weren’t present in class. Of course, the Web-enhanced information only works for safety and theory sections in welding. The actual welding practice must be completed in class.”