UPCEA Central Region 2017 Awards Recipients

Innovative Program (Credit)

2017 Recipient: Master of Arts in Journalism with an emphasis in Interactive Media
University of Missouri-Columbia

This award is given to an outstanding new credit program which has been offered within the last two years. The Interactive Media program at the University of Missouri-Columbia provides the opportunity for working journalists and strategic communicators to advance their career in interactive, digital and social media. The program trains professionals how to use new media products and investigate the psychological, social, ethical and legal issues regarding the roles and effects of digital news, advertising and public relations on society.  Marketing for the program has intentionally targeted underserved populations and many students work in markets where a large number of the population does not speak English as a first language.

Mature Program (Credit) 
2017 Recipient: Personal Financial Planning Program
Kansas State University

This award is given to a mature credit program which demonstrates sustained innovation and has been offered for a minimum of five years. The Personal Financial Planning program at Kansas State University has an outstanding track record of engaging students through distance bachelor’s, master’s, certificate and doctoral programs in financial planning. Students are uniquely trained with financial planning skills and with counseling skills that provide them with the ability to recognize psychological, emotional and relational factors that drive financial behavior. The program includes the first financial planning doctoral program offered largely online and is one of only five doctoral programs in the nation registered with Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. The program delivers relevant knowledge and skills to its student that allow them to help individuals and families take control of their financial lives.

Mature Program (Non-Credit) 
2017 Recipient: K-State Leadership Seminar
Kansas State University

This award is given to a mature noncredit program which demonstrates sustained innovation and has been offered for a minimum of five years. The K-State Leadership Seminar celebrated 20 years in 2017 with a continued mission to enhance the leadership skills and capacities of the K-State community and communities throughout Kansas. The seminar provides university and community members the opportunity to network, share stories and ideas, and build stronger ties to where they live and work. With an eye to continued innovation, the committee introduced a new format in 2017, allowing work teams to register and participate in “strategic doing” activities which were related to their everyday work, allowing the learning to be relevant and immediately applicable following the seminar.

Excellence in Teaching
2017 Recipient: Stephen Ball
University of Missouri

This award is given to an individual who has provided outstanding leadership and service to continuing education in the UPCEA Central Region. Stephen Ball is recognized as an outstanding instructor who has reached excellence in teaching and mentoring, leadership and service, innovation and excellence in programming and overall contribution to the field. He recognizes diverse learning styles and utilizes creative communication formats to accommodate this diversity. He is extremely engaged in his students’ success and it shows in the nearly 99% completion rate in his self-paced online course. He is devoted to service at all levels from the university department to involvement at the national level in his field. Dr. Ball’s excellence in teaching, integrity and commitment to students of all ages is evident in all aspects of his work in education, in educational technologies and with Mizzou Online.

John L. Christopher Outstanding Leadership Award
2017 Recipient: Bob Stine
University of Minnesota

The John L. Christopher Outstanding Leadership Award is given to a UPCEA Central Region professional member who has exhibited outstanding leadership and service within the region. Bob Stine has served as the Senor Associate Dean for Academic programs in the College of Continuing Education at the University of Minnesota. Bob has served in a leadership role with UPCEA since 2013, serving as Chair Elect, Chair and Past Chair for the region and is currently serving as the Central Region representative to the national UPCEA Board of Directors. In all of his roles at UPCEA, Bob has been a strong advocate and tireless promotor of the organization and its role in the future of continuing and online education.

Outstanding Continuing Education Student Award (Credit)
2017 Recipient: Kayla Savage
Kansas State University

The Outstanding Continuing Education Student Award for a credit student is given to an adult student who has met the challenge of an unconventional educational background and has become an inspiration to others through the individual growth accomplished in pursuit of his or her educational goals. Kayla Savage has persevered through several personal challenges while pursuing her master’s degree in Community Development at Kansas State University. She has an energy and commitment to her responsibilities which allow her to excel in her studies, graduating with a 4.0 GPA, maintain and grow her programs at the UFM Community Learning Center, and continue her involvement with many community organizations, even in the face of terrible personal loss.

Continuing Education Support Specialist Award – Staff in a Support Role
2017 Recipient: Ashley Nietfeld
Kansas State University Global Campus

The Continuing Education Support Specialist Award provides recognition to a UPCEA Central Region professional member or a professional, continuing or online education staff person of a member institution who has exhibited creativity and innovation in the area of program support. Ashley Nietfeld serves as a communications and marketing specialist for K-State Global Campus. Her work ethic, pursuit of best practices and cheerful attitude have made her a valuable asset to the organization. She has been instrumental in creating new, marketing materials for a recently adopted customer relations management system, bringing program materials up-to-date and making them more appealing to today’s student. Ashley’s creative prose in a variety of formats has resulted in greater visibility for K-State Global Campus programs, increased interest by potential students and receipt of several marketing awards.

Engagement Award
2017 Recipient: UFM Community Learning Center
Kansas State University Global Campus

The Engagement Award recognizes an outstanding partnership between a member institution and one or more external constituents such as local communities, corporations, government organizations or associations. The partnership should demonstrate a mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources and result in a measureable and sustainable shared impact in areas such as economic development, community development, workforce training or capacity building.

Based on the philosophy that everyone can learn and everyone can teach, UFM provides opportunities for lifelong learning and personal development through credit and noncredit classes. Topics include arts and hobbies, cooking, languages, marital arts, aquatics, career and computer skills, recreation and fitness, health and wellness and youth and instructors have ranged in age from 6 to 98.

Community outreach programs offered through UFM provide needed opportunities for targeted populations. Outreach programs include the teen mentoring program, Manhattan Community Gardens, Project Excell for developmentally disabled adults, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute classes, Northview Elementary School Garden and a lecture series.

Excellence in Advising
2017 Recipient: Kate VanDerKolk
Grand Valley State University

The Excellence in Advising Award is given to the individual who has provided outstanding leadership or service in an advising role to professional, continuing or online education students in the UPCEA Central Region. Kate VanDerKolk has served in advising role with Grand Valley State University since 2008. She recognizes that advising goes far beyond the simple exchange of information between a professional and student and that this work impacts recruitment, retention and time to graduation. Kate serves as the primary academic advisor for the Adult Accelerated Liberal Studies Leadership program, using a blend of appreciative and intrusive advising to ensure that these students are maximizing their coursework and are on track to meet their goals. To aid the students she advises, Kate has:

  • Crafted a hybrid orientation program for adult students designed to both allow for ease of scheduling and community building
  • Developed a model for advising students which contributes to the 85% fall to fall retention rate
  • Assessed the effectiveness of her advising through survey and data collection and makes ongoing adjustments in her delivery and approach based on the feedback.

Kate is exceptionally involved in several university committees related to advising where she advocates for policies, process and procedures that help distance and adult learners meet their educational goals.


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