Renee Ballenger

At the New Employee Orientation last Fall, Chancellor Kristensen encouraged his audience to become engaged with one another’s activities and interests, because, after all, he continued, “The only way to really learn is to experience.” Much learning was had by employees and students alike in the Year 2008, and thus much progress and performance that have once again shone national light upon the value instilled at our campus. In celebration of a New Year in which to accomplish even bigger strides, strengthened atop the achievements of the last year, here is but a smattering of the countless examples of excellence in academics, teaching, services and student performance that have occurred recently at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Dr. JOSEPH BENZ,Department of Psychology, and Dr.ANNE FORADORI,Department of Music and Performing Arts, both were bestowed with UNK’S 2008 Creative Teaching Award. Their materials have been forwarded to the University of Nebraska Provost’s office to be considered for the University of Nebraska Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award.

The UNK CAMPUS KITCHEN was given the Excellence in Programming Award at the organization’s national conference earlier this semester, specifically for its Mini-Culinary Job Skills program. Funded by Cargill, this program was organized and run by Jenna Rycek, a junior psychology major from Kearney. Jenna is an intern at Cargill, and a Campus Kitchen Leadership Team Member. She developed a class in which she taught cooking skills, nutrition, and basic work environment skills to several clients with mental disabilities.

The UNK student affiliate of the American Chemical Society, aka CHEMISTRY CLUB, was recently recognized for its activities during the last academic year with a Commendable Award from it national organization. Only about 10 percent of chapters nationwide receive this kind of acknowledgement. UNK’s chapter was especially honored for its community activities which include chemical demonstrations to preschool to college classes, and organizing the undergraduate program at the Midwest Regional meeting, at which UNK hosted more than 500 professionals and students.

In a report to UNK on its latest focused visit, the North Central Association of the Higher Learning Commission gave blanket approval to UNK’s DISTANCE EDUCATION program to offer any academic program completely online. The NCA visitation team reported: UNK has developed a culture that values online education by creating opportunities for faculty to integrate online components into their face-to-face courses and creating hybrid delivery models.

The Mid-America Arts Alliance (Mid-America) selected UNK’s historic FRANK HOUSE as one among only 20 museums to participate in the Hands-On Experiential Learning Project (HELP), a program of Mid-America ‘s professional development division which provides institutional advancement, capacity building and professional development opportunities for recipients. A grant, at the value of $10,000, will support the Frank House in workshop attendance, training materials, conference attendance, professional memberships, and consultant/field expert consultations, both on-site and by phone.

UNK’s INTERIOR DESIGN program is one of only seven college/university programs in the country to possess accreditation from both the Council for Interior Design Accreditation agency and the National Kitchen and Bath Association. UNK senior political science major JARED CLAY, from Springview, NE, received the Best Undergraduate Paper Award from the Great Plains Political Science Association Annual Conference for his paper “Media Framing on the Issue of Illegal Immigration in the United States.”

MARSHA GUGELMAN, Building Services Tech, and LISA NEAL, Assistant Director of Institutional Research, are the two most recent recipients from UNK of the Board of Regents KUDOS Award. Lisa was given her award earlier this month, and Marsha received hers in early September. Lisa was chosen for this honor for her exceptional contributions to the university community in her 10 years at UNK. Those with whom she works are nearly-unanimous in their opinions that Lisa and her work do make a difference, largely because of her ability to decipher what technical needs people really want, even if they don’t verbalize their needs in accurate, technical terms. Lisa is an innovator in spearheading new, efficient computer programming and data management.Marsha, with her husband Delmer by her side, was honored for her outstanding service and dedication to the university over the last 15 years. Her work directly affects students, faculty and staff, and more than 3,000 groups who meet in the Nebraskan Student Union each year. Many will attest that Marcia’s calm and positive demeanor, her ability to anticipate customer needs, her knowledge of the campus, and her attention to detail, are wonderful assets that represent UNK well.

MORTARBOARD brought home multiple awards from its honor society’s national conference in Ohio this year. UNK’s chapter received a Golden Torch Award for going above and beyond timeliness and excellence while exemplifying the ideals of scholarship, leadership and service. It also received a Project Excellence Award in recognition for its notable projects, “A Book of My Own,” and the honors convocation event. UNK’s Mortarboard was a finalist in the highest national category for the Wiemer Mount Chapter Excellence Award.

In UNK’s first year of participation, five UNK VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS & DESIGN students received recognition for their design projects at the Third Annual National Flux Student Design Competition.