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IT Instructor honored for enthusiastic student mentoring

July 26, 2018 - Honors, Technology

Continuing PTC’s long-standing tradition of outstanding instructors, Gralan Gilliam accepted the 2018 Outstanding Instructor award from the Pennsylvania Association of Private School Administrators (PAPSA) during the organization’s annual conference held July 25, 2018, in Cranberry, PA.

A faculty member in Pittsburgh Technical College’s School of Information Systems and Technology since 2014, Gilliam is held in high esteem by colleagues and students alike.

“So much to say about Mr. Gilliam… the man, the myth, the legend. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like Mr. G. I love the industry stories he tells to motivate us,” said Christi Eyler, a PTC IT student. “And we know he understands because he’s been there. He doesn’t want any of us to waste our chance at getting a solid education.”

Working alongside Gilliam is infectious to those around him. 

“Gralan is the epitome of a dedicated teacher,” stated Chuck Eltringham, also a School of Information Systems and Technology faculty member. “He approaches the art of teaching with his own ‘Gilliam-style’: professional demeanor, positive attitude, continual thirst for knowledge, and unwavering support for students, faculty and staff.

Mutual respect, structure and productivity are the stalwarts of a Gralan Gilliam classroom.  He knows when to provide a gentle word of encouragement and when to let a student learn the consequences of his actions. And it’s all delivered in a calm, easy-going manner, sprinkled with morsels of wisdom that stick with his students.

His instructional style is reflected in these six Gilliamisms.

  1. We are all on the same team.
  2. Slam Dunk!
  3. This is where the rubber meets the road, folks.
  4. Let the good times roll.
  5. Yeah… No.
  6. Boom! Now we’re cooking with gas.

Although Gilliam sets high expectations and can be strict, students understand that he is their mentor charged with the responsibility of preparing them for the demands and accountability of their careers.

PTC graduate Alec Swiger, now employed as a NOC Engineer, puts it into perspective.

“He always used to tell us, ‘This is where the rubber meets the road’ and many students weren’t quite sure what he meant by that. After a few months in the IT industry, I now understand,” said Swiger. “All the hard work that we had been putting into his classes, as well as all others relating to our program, is finally going to pay off.”

Gilliam is the eighth PTC instructor to be honored with the PAPSA Outstanding Instructor award since 2002.



Offering career-focused education since 1946, Pittsburgh Technical College (formerly Pittsburgh Technical Institute (PTI)) offers degree and certificate programs in more than 30 areas. Its 180-acre campus is home to the American Academy of Culinary Arts, the Energy Technology Center, the Nursing Simulation Center, and many hands-on specialty labs. PTC students can take advantage of online course offerings, on-campus residence halls, student activities, intramural programs and community service programs. PTC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

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