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“Mrs. Ragan is one of the greatest science teachers I have ever had. Period. She is a great teacher and a wonderful person to be around.” – With glowing student endorsements like that, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why Rend Lake College Professor Carrie Ragan has been given the 2017 Faculty Excellence award.

Since 2001, Ragan has been at the forefront of teaching Rend Lake College students Biology, Ecology, Zoology, Anatomy and Physiology as a member of our all-star Math and Sciences Division.

Carrie Ragan W

Associate Professor Biology and Anatomy & Physiology Carrie Ragan

Her ability to touch students is far past theory. It’s a well-documented fact.

“Mrs. Ragan is an excellent teacher. She is very energetic and always knows how to make class fun. She is very thorough in explaining new topics and helps students comprehend the material. She is very enthusiastic and happy about passing on this knowledge,” said another student.

“Mrs. Ragan made class extremely interesting. All of her instructions, lectures and examples build upon layer after layer to make the material easy to understand. She is always willing to answer everyone’s ‘what if’ questions. Her teaching style and personality are what I enjoyed the most,” expressed one more of Ragan’s former pupils.

With a number of exceptional educators at RLC, the decision for the Faculty Excellence Award is never easy, but Ragan was nominated by a large group of her colleagues and has proven time and time again to go above and beyond, displaying a passion for her content and a dedication to helping her students better understand the course material.

“I am humbled to have received the Faculty Excellence Award and want to acknowledge the talented and industrious teachers here at the college who set a standard of expectation that perpetuates quality education,” Ragan expressed.

“It is wonderful to get to share topics that I feel so strongly about, but the best part of my job is the people—coworkers and students. I’m one of the lucky few in the workforce who has the opportunity daily to meet large numbers of fine folks who have made a commitment to improve their lives and are on the cusp of an adventure.”

“Many of them are fearful. Many of them have obstacles to overcome. I think about them during my 35-minute commute and wonder who in my class needs a word of encouragement or extra help with a tough topic that day. I am blessed and proud to be part of the culture that has developed at Rend Lake College. It is a culture in which staff, faculty and administration are focused on not just the education of students, but also the edification of students—lifting them up in ways that surpass instruction.”


Ragan’s nomination letter, penned by her colleagues, cites her constant redesign and development of courses, creation of an online Biology for non-majors hybrid course and being a vital part of the IAI submission and approval of three courses in the past two years, with a few more in the approval processing stage.

Over the past three years, she has been instrumental in the successful implementation of the Title III Pathway to Success in Health Careers Grant in Anatomy and Physiology courses. She is also cited as frequently helping new instructors to become acclimated to the classroom and campus community. She provides insight and advice to new instructors while helping them to navigate RLC systems.

“Carrie’s contributions to Rend Lake College and the educational community of Illinois have been many over her career. She has proven to be an exceptional classroom instructor, active curriculum innovator, and dedicated committee member. Both RLC and the region have benefited from her professionalism and academic expertise,” read the nomination letter.

“She challenges students with high expectations, all the while, creating a comfortable environment for her students to learn and grow….Carrie has demonstrated Faculty Excellence in her devotion to education throughout her time at Rend Lake College.”

Ragan will be presented the 2017 Faculty Excellence Award during the college’s annual Board / Faculty / Staff Awards event, scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 2, at the RLC Theatre. Her award also means she is in the running for the Illinois Community College Trustees Association’s Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Member Award.