Vet tech program director honored
Gwinnett Tech instructor given award for excellence

LAWRENCEVILLE - The program director of Gwinnett Technical College's Veterinary Technology program has been named the college's 2008 Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Education honoree.

Bonnie Ballard, who has doctorate of veterinary medicine degree from the University of Georgia, became the program director in 1997, two years after she joined Gwinnett Tech as an adjunct faculty member. She has been previously honored with the Rick Perkins Award in 2001 and Lighthouse Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2000.

The Rick Perkins Award honors technical education's most outstanding instructors, according to a news release. The award has been an ongoing statewide program since 1991 and is designed to recognize and honor instructors who make significant contributions to technical education through innovation and leadership in their fields.

"Dr. Ballard has been an active champion of technical education and an innovative leader of Gwinnett Tech's Veterinary Technology program," Gwinnett Tech President Sharon Bartels said. "Under her direction, the program has earned accreditation by the American Association of Veterinary Medicine, and program graduates have earned and maintained a perfect 100 percent pass rate on the Veterinary Technician National Examination. She's a very deserving honoree."

The Veterinary Technician program combines in-class education with active clinical site training. It was the first program of its kind in the nation that did not house animals on campus, the news release states.

"I chose to teach in a technical college because I can help students achieve their dreams in a relatively short period of time," Ballard said. "My proudest moments are when I reflect on knowing that our graduates are learning information and skills that will be directly applicable to a job in our field."