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Bill Paquette, left, receives international MERLOT award.

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (Sept. 3, 2009) – An esteemed Tidewater Community College history professor and author has won two prestigious accolades. William Paquette, Ph.D., was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Landmark Grant for the project, “The Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians,” and an international innovation award from the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching – MERLOT – organization.

Paquette will serve as project director for the $160,000 NEH grant which includes a conference next July in Plymouth, Mass., for 50 selected faculty members to learn about the multicultural world of the Wampanoag Indians and the Pilgrims. A team of nine scholars will speak. The project has the cooperation of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, Pilgrim Hall Museum and Plimoth Plantation. Paquette serves as governor of the Virginia Mayflower Society and was appointed in 2009 to a three-year term as education chairman for the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, a 28,000 member national organization. The Virginia Society has 1,000 members.


Professor Paquette also received the Innovative Use of MERLOT award, for his progressive work demonstrating novel, comprehensive and creative usage of MERLOT materials and services. The winners of this award are selected by the editors of the MERLOT editorial boards.


Involved in MERLOT since 2000, Paquette has redesigned all the courses he teaches to incorporate MERLOT into classroom, hybrid or online versions over the last eight years. He has posted 126 assignments on MERLOT, making them available to history faculty and noted in a monthly newsletter sent to Virginia community colleges’ history faculty. Paquette said that students who participated in the MERLOT option for the classroom also improved their reading and writing skills and, in turn, saw improvement in their test grades.


With myriad history interests and research underway, Professor Paquette will also offer a presentation on “12/21/2012, the Mayan Calendar and the End of the World” for TCC’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. The free, public talk is set for noon on Wednesday, Oct. 14, in the Waterfront Conference Room, TCC Portsmouth Campus. Call 822-1122 for more event information.


Laurie White
Media Relations

Tidewater Community College - the largest provider of higher education and Workforce Solutions services in Hampton Roads - enrolls over 40,000 students annually and has the second largest undergraduate student body in Virginia. The 15th highest associate-degree producer in the nation and the 35th largest community college, TCC is among the 20 fastest-growing large two-year institutions in the United States. Founded in 1968 as a part of the Virginia Community College System, the college serves the South Hampton Roads region with campuses in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach as well as the TCC Jeanne and George Roper Performing Arts Center in Norfolk’s theater district, the Visual Arts Center in Olde Towne Portsmouth, the Regional Automotive Center in Chesapeake and the Advanced Technology Center in Virginia Beach. Forty-six percent of the region’s residents attending a college or university in Virginia last fall were enrolled at TCC. For more information, visit