Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Lisa Tittle

Dr. Lisa Tittle’s association with Harford Community College began in the late 1980’s when she attended as a part-time student while a North Harford High School senior. An avid learner, with a passion for literature and writing, Dr. Tittle was drawn to education. “I had wonderful teachers who nurtured my potential. I also had classes that were only lectures, particularly in my college courses; I did not want my classes to be boring to my students,” she said. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Towson University, her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from McDaniel College, and her doctorate in community college leadership from Morgan State University. Her career began as an English teacher for Harford County Public Schools while teaching as an adjunct for Harford Community College.

For almost 20 years, Dr. Tittle has served as Professor of Reading and English in the Humanities division at HCC. She teaches Transitional Reading and English courses and English 101; she is also currently the Program Coordinator for the Humanities. Dr. Tittle’s teaching philosophy is that all students should have the opportunity to meet their educational goals. She believes in treating students with loving kindness and patience. For some students that means being firm but kind in setting expectations; in other cases, it means giving students second chances in order to succeed. “Every student is an individual, and they should be valued and loved for their individuality,” she said. She also believes that the instructor needs to be approachable and humanistic so that students feel comfortable in the classroom. A strong proponent of active learning within the classroom, she wants her students to be engaged purposefully, not just sitting and listening to lectures: “I infuse innovative strategies into my lessons to make my classroom an enjoyable environment. Integrating group activities, interactive lessons, hands-on experiences, the use of props (food, toys, crafts) and games into my lessons, helps motivate students and keep them engaged in the lesson. This engagement makes them want to come to class, finish the course, and continue on in their educational journey.”

Dr. Tittle’s dedication to her students extends well beyond the classroom. Several years ago, she worked with her colleagues to redesign the transitional reading and English classes from a four-class sequence to an integrated reading and writing format. This new design streamlined the transitional courses to two four-credit classes, reducing the transitional track to college readiness by four credits. As a result of the changes to the course structure, students are now able to see a clearer connection between reading and writing. She was also one of the first faculty to teach the Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) classes, which allow transitional writing students to take ENG 101 while receiving additional support through a one-credit transitional writing class. The ALP students do as well as other students in English 101 when they receive this additional support. “When I work with students, I want them to feel valued. I hope students have an appreciation of learning for the sake of learning, not just the completion of a class (also important), but that they know more and are better people because they have gained knowledge. I also hope they become lifelong learners, take some risks, and remember to have some fun,” said Dr. Tittle.

Dr. Tittle’s service at Harford Community College is widespread and commendable. From 2016-18, she served as interim dean of the Humanities division. She has been a faculty representative at HCC Parent Orientations for about five years. She also worked with Continuing Education and Workforce Development staff to arrange career presentations for transitional students. Dr. Tittle also serves on the Safe Zone Committee and the Diversity, Inclusion, Culture, and Equity (DICE) Committee as well as the My College Success Network Committee. Most recently, Dr. Tittle worked with the STEM division on a National Science Foundation grant. Within her division, Dr. Tittle is collaborating with her colleagues as part of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant which exposes her students to the history of the Civil Rights Movement in Harford County. “My ENG 101 students read local articles from the Civil Rights Movement and wrote about those historical events, which enlightened them to the rich history that took place here in Harford County. Most students view the Civil Rights Movement as something that happened in the South, not Maryland or Harford County,” explained Dr. Tittle. She served on HCC’s Strategic Planning Committee, the Strategic Enrollment Management Committee, and the Council for Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) Assessment Committee that worked to review current business practices in the financial aid department at HCC, recognize best practices, and make improvements to services if needed. At the onset of the pandemic, she worked with her colleagues to create an alternative placement test for English courses when the Accuplacer was unavailable due to the campus closing. “I had never taught online prior to the pandemic, so the challenge was dramatic and stressful. Now I record my lectures and offer virtual office hours and class sessions throughout the semester. I post an announcement each week to let them know what is coming up and remind them about what is due. I use the discussion boards to check in on their understanding of concepts and get feedback from them about my performance as a teacher. Any opportunity to connect personally is the most effective; students are really looking for an interactive relationship from the teacher,” said Dr. Tittle.

Currently Dr. Tittle is serving for the second time as co-chair for HCC’s Self Study as the College prepares for its re-accreditation in 2022. Other leadership positions she has held include serving three terms over the past ten years as president of the Mid-Atlantic College Reading Association, a regional professional development organization for transitional reading and writing faculty. She also served as the chairwoman of the Harford County Commission for Women from 2008-2011, a role that she believes helped her learn the most about effective leadership and valuing those who serve with her. She was a National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) award winner in 2007 and was recognized as an outstanding African American teacher in Harford County by Zeta Phi Beta Omicron Chi Zeta Chapter in 2008.

In her earliest days of volunteering, Dr. Tittle was active in the PTA while her children were growing up. Dr. Tittle currently volunteers for The Sharing Table and Manna House by making food and serving the homeless. She also volunteers at Harford Family House, mentoring a young, single mother of four children. Along with her former colleagues at Fallston High School, she established the Tony Cooper Vernon Brown Memorial Scholarship, which provides scholarships to senior female athletes and to those interested in majoring in the Humanities. Dr. Tittle also volunteers on multiple committees at Fallston United Methodist Church. Her tireless service to the College and her community was inspired by her mother. “My mom always said that if you are doing your best then that is all you can do. I think about those words when I am feeling overwhelmed or inadequate,” said Dr. Tittle.

"I want all students to feel like they can succeed and they can improve their lives through education and/ or workforce development," she said. Dr. Lisa Tittle’s passionate endeavor to empower students to be critical thinkers and problem solvers is why she is featured as this month’s Faculty Spotlight. You are deeply appreciated, Lisa – keep up the amazing work!