Watson Chronicle


Watson College News

WCE Ed.D. Graduate Receives International Mentoring Association Award

Friday, April 05, 2019

Laura Johnson Hercula ’18 Ed.D. is the 2019 recipient of the International Mentoring Association’s Dr. Hope Richardson Memorial Dissertation Award. The award, which recognizes scholarly work on mentoring, was presented at the IMA conference in Gainesville, Florida in March.

Hercula is a mathematics instructor and lead mentor for the faculty-to-faculty mentoring program at Coastal Carolina Community College. Her dissertation was titled, A Case Study of the Perceived Influence of Mentoring Others on the Instructional Practices of Community College Faculty Mentors.

“I am extremely honored to receive this award from the International Mentoring Association,”
 Hercula said. “At the IMA conference, I was surrounded by people who all believe in the power of mentoring and share a passion for it. The IMA is a positive, forward-looking organization that I am excited to be a part of. “

Hercula is originally from Tucson, Arizona. She holds a BA in economics from Whitman College and MA in mathematics from the University of West Florida.  She moved to Jacksonville NC in 2003 as a military spouse and taught for the Pender County School District for a year and a half before beginning work at CCCC. 

“Earning a doctorate degree has been a life time goal,” she said. “Still, when I started the program, I could not have predicted the unique opportunities which have presented themselves. I have met wonderful people, become much more knowledgeable about how educational institutions operate, and my skill set and self-confidence have grown.”       

Hercula became interested in mentoring when she took a course with Marsha Carr, chair of WCE’s Department of Educational Leadership. She began mentoring faculty colleagues at Coastal; experiences that became the inspiration for her dissertation.

“The purpose of a faculty mentoring program is typically to help the mentee become a better teacher,” she said. “However, mentors also grow through the process. I wanted to explore how involvement in a formal mentoring program benefits mentors and influences how they teach.  My study findings suggest that serving as a faculty mentor does significantly influence one’s instructional practices.”

Hercula’s husband is a veteran and they have three adult children and two middle school aged kids. She enjoys the small school atmosphere at Coastal, where she has an opportunity to work with wonderful students and top-notch colleagues and administrators. Future career goals include pursuing another childhood dream: becoming a community college administrator or university professor.