For more than half of Sampson Community College’s existence, Wanda Capps has witnessed the changes over the years. This year, Capps is being celebrated for marking her thirty-year milestone at the college and she’s never been happier.
“I wanted the best of both worlds – nursing and teaching,” she says. ”Pediatric nursing is my first love and I miss it every day but SCC has afforded me the opportunity to love what I do. I was fortunate to begin here as an associate degree nursing instructor in 1988 and I am one who believes we are placed where we need to be as was the case in my career, not only in my professional but also in my personal life.”
Capps, who had served as Division Chair for Health Programs for the college, was promoted earlier this year to the position of Vice President of Academic Affairs. Her 30 years of experience within the college has helped her see the overall dynamics of the college even outside of the nursing department.
Dr. Veronica Stevens, who served under Capps in the nursing division before her move to an executive role, now serves as Capps’ replacement as Division Chair for Health Programs.
“Mrs. Capps has been and continues to be a wonderful leader and mentor,” says Stevens. “She has always exemplified excellence in transformational leadership. Her strategic use of inspiration and intellectual stimulation encourages others to exceed expectations. I believe her efforts will support faculty as we seek to achieve the best outcomes for our students and institution.”
Capps received her bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1985 and followed that up with her master’s degree in nursing education at East Carolina University and her graduate certificate in Community College Teaching from NC State. She has also earned several teaching awards over the years at SCC and won the college’s Excel Award in 2006.
She initiated and directed the achievement of National Accreditation for the Practical Nursing and Associate Degree Nursing Programs at SCC by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Only six Practical Nursing Programs out of the 37 offered in the North Carolina Community College System have achieved this designation. Out of 55 Associate Degree Programs in the state, only 19 are nationally accredited. Capps also established the Emergency Medical Science and Medical Assisting programs at the college, as well as the first online option for the nursing department.
Capps credits the role she serves in now to those who helped her along the way.
“I was more than blessed to be mentored by those before me and beside me during these past 30 years,” said Capps. “Mary Brown, Thyllistine Vann and Cindy Gurley. My years of service are not a tribute to me but to them, the students and the graduates. The joy of teaching nursing allowed me to not only care for patients but students, whether their need was an academic one or a personal one. Life allows us to use our experiences to build others up around us. That is what I feel has been an integral part in the purpose of my career. Seeing not only the student and graduates excel and finally reach their academic goal but also the empowerment and opportunities it provides to their circumstances, their families and the community is humbling.”