UNC-Chapel Hill Instructor, Student Recognized at UPCEA South Region Conference

The Friday Center for Continuing Education is delighted to celebrate its award-winning student and instructor! Kevin Tillman has been recognized with the Professional, Continuing, and Online Education (PCO) Student Award at the UPCEA South Region Conference, held online Oct. 27-29. Anastacia (Tacia) Kohl has been recognized with the organization’s Professional, Continuing, and Online Instructor Award. They both represent some of the most outstanding stories at Carolina, and we’re proud that they’re a part of our community.

Kevin Tillman

Kevin started his undergraduate degree at UNC-Chapel Hill as a part-time adult learner in 2012.
One of several siblings, Kevin spent time after high school working as a vending machine repair person before he joined the military, where he sustained some permanent injuries in deployment.

Kevin has done exceedingly well academically at UNC-Chapel Hill, and he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in 2019. He is a choral composer, double majoring in Music and in Germanic & Slavic Language and Literature, with a concentration in German Media, Arts, & Culture. During his senior year, he produced an honor’s project, “Where is Love: Oratorio and Myth.”

Kevin has also been a caring mentor to other part-time, non-traditional students during his years at UNC-Chapel Hill. He served as a Friday Center Peer Mentor while he was an undergraduate; in particular, he helped two part-time undergraduates who had stopped their education to return to Carolina. One of those students has since graduated, and the other student has returned to academic good standing and is now a senior. Kevin cares about other students, particularly those who have faced hurdles and are still striving to succeed, and he has made a difference in the community of part-time adult learners at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Kevin graduated with highest honors and departmental distinction, earning his bachelor’s degree in May 2020. You can learn more about Kevin’s journey in this short video.

Anastacia (Tacia) Kohl

Anastacia (Tacia) Kohl is a Teaching Associate Professor of Spanish and the Director of Spanish Language Instruction at UNC-Chapel Hill. In addition to her regular teaching and administrative appointments, Tacia has been an invaluable member of the Friday Center team, serving PCO learners through two distinct programs –Self-Paced Courses and Correctional Education. These programs allow Tacia to instruct online-based distance students as well as individuals incarcerated in the North Carolina prison system.

In 2019, the Friday Center undertook a project to update our legacy self-paced correspondence program in order to optimize it for the Correctional Education Program. The portfolio was reduced to 9 key courses that provide a solid base for future coursework and bear transferable credits to other institutions of higher education in North Carolina. Subject matter experts from UNC-Chapel Hill’s academic departments worked alongside instructional designers from UNC-Chapel Hill Digital and Lifelong Learning to update all course content and optimize delivery to help students attain the best learning outcomes.

As part of this project, Tacia developed a new model course – SPAN 101: Elementary Spanish I – for Correctional Education. While introductory foreign language courses are typically taught with live class sessions incorporating basic conversation, self-paced courses housed within Correctional Education cannot, by nature, include the standard listening or speaking components due to technological restrictions in the prisons. Because of this fundamental challenge, language courses had not been included in this portfolio in the past.

Tacia met this challenge head on, enthusiastically developing a method to achieve the desired learning outcomes despite the unique teaching constraints. She was committed to finding a way for students in prison to participate in foreign language courses. Within months of its launch in early 2020, the new SPAN 101 correspondence course was filled to capacity. Thirty correctional education students are currently enrolled in Elementary Spanish I and have the opportunity to begin basic foreign language studies under the tutelage of “Profesora Kohl.”

About the UPCEA Awards

Since 1953, UPCEA has recognized its members’ outstanding contributions to the Association and the field, as well as their achievements in innovative programming, marketing and promotion, community development and services, research and publications, and many other areas. Each of the five regions host their individual awards programs, recognizing the achievements of outstanding institutions and individuals in their own region. Learn more about the UPCEA Awards.