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Three Blinn College faculty honored with coveted educator excellence award

NISOD Excellence Award recognizes faculty for outstanding teaching and leadership

April 9, 2015

Three Blinn College faculty were recently honored with the 2015 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award in recognition of their dedication to student success.

Visual & Performing Arts Instructor Brad Nies, Natural Sciences Instructor Linda Richardson, and Humanities Instructor Ann Voelkel will be recognized in May at the annual three-day NISOD conference in Austin.

Created in 1978, NISOD is a consortium of community and technical colleges that share a philosophical commitment to support excellence in teaching, learning and leadership. NISOD member institutions receive weekly professional development materials and are eligible to nominate outstanding faculty, staff and administrators for the annual Excellence Awards program.

Recipients were nominated by the heads of their divisions based on their character and integrity, effectiveness as instructors, involvement in student organizations and activities, service to Blinn College and participation in professional organizations and professional development activities.

“Educators don’t always have a sense that they are making a difference,” Richardson said. “To be nominated for this award means a lot. It has reassured me that what I do every day matters.”

In addition to teaching biology, Richardson has served as assistant division chair, lead instructor for two of the College’s Bryan campus biology courses and director of Blinn’s Regional Science Olympiad, a program that promotes science education for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

“While I teach my students biology, my main emphasis is enhancing their critical thinking skills to improve their ability to learn,” Richardson said. “I don’t expect them to remember all the specifics; I hope they walk away better learners.”

Voelkel has been with the College for 19 years as philosophy instructor for face-to-face, online and blended courses at the Bryan campus. Outside the classroom, Voelkel serves on both the hiring and the curriculum committees for the Division of Humanities. She also runs a “logic lab” outside her regularly-scheduled office hours to offer additional assistance to philosophy of logic students.

Nies has served as the Blinn-Brenham campus Theatre Arts Director for 25 years and has won several awards, including recognition as college educator of the year by the Texas Educational Theatre Association. Several of his plays and short stories have been published, and Nies is a member of a variety of state and national theatre associations. Nies sponsors Delta Psi Omega, a national theatre fraternity, and has served as an officer for the Blinn College Professional Association and the Blinn College Faculty Council.

About Blinn College
Founded in 1883, Blinn is a comprehensive community college committed to educational excellence and to individual and community enhancement. With an enrollment of 19,317 students, Blinn ranks among the nation’s leaders in transferring students to leading four-year universities and has received national recognition for its affordable educational excellence.

As part of its commitment to student success, Blinn is implementing a Quality Enhancement Plan titled “Destination Success: First-Year Focus,” which utilizes learning communities to support first-year college students.

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