Thursday, March 19, 2015

KCKCC faculty recipients of John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Faculty and staff at Kansas City Kansas Community College have been recognized by the League for Innovation in the Community Colleges, through the John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards.

The KCKCC faculty and staff who were recognized include – Liz Holloway, ESOL Coordinator; John Stafford, instructor of Choral Music; Cherilee Walker, Dean of Art, Humanities and Social Sciences; Shirley Wendel, former Dean of Allied Health & Nursing and Andrica Wilcoxen, outreach and prevention coordinator.

The John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards are named after two leaders in the community college field and early proponents of teachers having a major responsibility for how well their students perform in the classroom.

In recognition of the tradition of excellence in community college teaching and leadership, the League established the John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards in 2012. Faculty, staff and administrators at a League Alliance member institution are eligible to apply for the award, which celebrates the contributions and leadership by community college faculty and staff. Each college has their own selection criteria, procedures and protocol for the Excellence Awards. Recipients are recognized at the League’s Innovations conference each spring.

Holloway said she has always been impressed with the level of quality and commitment of the KCKCC faculty and having the number of award recipients from KCKCC reflects the college’s dedication to quality teaching.

“To succeed in teaching ESOL, I must believe in the fundamental value and dignity of every student,” Holloway said. “I strive to accept each one’s cultural and personal uniqueness and see the strengths behind their weaknesses to help them achieve their goals.”

Stafford said in a statement submitted to the John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards, “the primary objective of the Choral Music Program at KCKCC is to educate the students and the community about vocal ensemble music through stylistic variety and tonal diversity.”

He also said he believes his students should receive the same educational opportunities as those attending a four year college or university.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” he said of receiving the award. “It was also nice that several faculty/administrators got this recognition. It feels good to be appreciated for what you do.”

Walker said she was “completely humbled” by the recognition. She said KCKCC’s strong representation in the awards program demonstrates the “amazing work” being done every day.

“When you look on campus and see all these smart, passionate people educating our students, I am completely humbled that I was one of those recognized,” she said. “The conference itself was a wonderful, uplifting experience. There were approximately 1,500 people, primarily from community colleges, and it was very affirming to realize that other colleges/institutions are struggling with the same things we are.”

Wendel, who retired earlier this semester, after 38 years at KCKCC, said she was surprised and pleased to be honored, especially since she was selected by her peers. She said she felt like it was the “crowning touch” to her career and helped make her retirement even more special.

“I have always tried to work hard. I have worked hard most of my life,” Wendel said. “I have also always tried to treat people the way I want myself and my family to be treated, which is how I approached many situations that arose over the years. What if this was my daughter or my son? How would I want them to be treated?”

Wilcoxen said the award was so unexpected she did not believe it at first. She said it was exciting to see the number of individuals from KCKCC who received the award, especially compared to other schools.

“This is definitely an honor. I was blown away,” she said. “There are so many great things that people on campus do. It is neat to see how our institution impacts the lives of the students. The fact that I was selected was amazing.”

The League for Innovation in the Community College is an international, nonprofit association that is dedicated to community colleges. Winners received a medallion and John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards certificate.