University readies for outstanding nominations

Outstanding Teacher Award nomination forms are in.

Starting April 1, students, faculty and staff can start nominating instructors for the award by picking up a form at several locations on campus.

“The first award was given out in 1980,” said Julie Vestal, secretary to the interim vice president for academic affairs.

Vestal said when Missouri Southern started giving out the award, an outstanding teacher award and an outstanding teacher of a freshmen class award were given out.

“But after 1991, we just stopped and combined the two awards,” she said. “So there is one award but two recipients.”

For instructors to be eligible, they must be full-time, must be teaching at least six credit hours per semester and must have completed three years of employment at Southern.

The winning instructors receive $1,000, which the Foundation provides.

A panel of six past winners makes up the committee who decides the recipients of the award. Vestal said the nomination forms are placed in folders for each instructor who is nominated.

“The committee comes in and looks over the nomination forms,” she said. “They meet as a committee, and they make a selection.”

Vestal said the process of deciding the winners takes about one month. She said the committee is notified about mid-April.

“We generally try to have everything done by the end of April so that public information has a chance to get the plaques made,” Vestal said.

The award will be announced at commencement on May 15.

Dr. Laura Adkins, assistant professor of mathematics, has served on the committee for three years and won the Outstanding Teacher Award for 2000-2001.

“I was excited,” Adkins said. “I felt like Miss America.”

Adkins said excellence in teaching and the number of nominations over the years is some of the qualifications she looks for when deciding on a winner.

She said it is difficult to pick a winner.

“Some years are harder than others,” she said.

She said the award is a good idea.

“It is one way for students to recognize teaching efforts,” Adkins said. “It makes them (instructors) feel valued. It’s a way to give back and show regard.”

For information, call Vestal at 625-9394 or Dr. Betsy Griffin, interim vice president for academic affairs.

The deadline for the nomination forms is April 16.