The Instructional Excellence Awards are presented each year to those outstanding instructors who exemplify the CCCOnline Academic Mission Statement, who actively support student learning and student success in the classroom, and who demonstrate strengths in our core values and principles of integrity, quality, collaboration, and strategic planning.


The Dr. Nancy McCallin Award for Online Teaching honors a CCCOnline instructor who demonstrates exceptional teaching and who fosters student success.

The SME of the Year Award recognizes all-around excellence in serving CCCOnline as a subject matter expert, while the Department Chair of the Year Award recognizes all-around excellence in participation, proactive engagement, and general commitment to CCCOnline.

 

Liberal Arts & Humanities

A Word from the Dean
Arts and Humanities
Composition
Languages & Communication
Liberal Studies & College Prep
History & Political Science
A Word from the Dean

CCCOnline consistently provides quality education experiences for our students, and the heart of this is our talented and dedicated instructors.

All of our instructors provide expertise, creativity, and a passion for teaching, and do an amazing job serving our students. Selecting award winners is thus a challenging task, undertook with the understanding that all of our instructors are deserving of recognition and thanks.

Our award winners this year have demonstrated exceptional online teaching in fostering online student success.

I, and the leadership team, offer our congratulations to the winer in Liberal Arts!


Daniel Metz, Associate Dean
Liberal Arts and Humanities
daniel.metz.cccs.edu

Arts and Humanities

Jeremy Rottini 

For more than a decade, Jeremy has taught Comparative Religions and Eastern Religions for CCCOnline.  He has also provided invaluable administrative support to the Arts and Humanities department, including being a subject matter expert for Eastern Religions. In all cases, Jeremy has demonstrated professionalism, integrity, reliability, and a student-centered approach. Moreover, as a Zen practitioner for twenty-two years and a Zen priest for eleven, Jeremy infuses the online environment with a certain passion and lived experience that defies standard characterization. In short, Jeremy puts the art in the art of teaching.  CCCOnline is lucky to have him!  

Jake Camp, Department Chair, Arts & Humanities 

Composition

Katherine Burton 

Kate is one of the best Composition instructors and gives 100% to her classes, which has contributed to her earning consistently superior student evaluations. Kate is always willing to do whatever is needed for the good of the students at CCCOnline and regularly engages in professional development opportunities to improve her teaching. She is very involved and interested in all aspects of the Composition program and is often the first one to respond to emails and requests. Kate often takes initiative with her classes and students that go above and beyond. She is always looking for ways to improve and is enthusiastic and caring. In short, Katherine Burton exemplifies all the qualities of our Teaching Excellence award and is well-deserving to receive it this year.

Dr. Kyla Hammond, Department Chair, Composition

Languages & Communication

Olga Gorbacheva

As Russian is her native language, Olga’s superior level of linguistic capability is matched only by her talent for building rapport with her students. Olga is a constant professional, an enthusiastic ambassador of culture and curriculum, and an expert in her field. More importantly, Olga has the unique talent of creating an environment where those around her can succeed. Olga has created a vision for language students throughout the Colorado Community College System. She has collaborated between 13 different institutions and has successfully laid the foundation for an associate degree pathway in Russian. Olga is an outstanding department member and teammate. Her success in part is defined by the respect she demonstrates to her students and colleagues. She is a scholarly practitioner and consistently revises and improves her practice, and she cares about individual students and deeply wants them to succeed.

Dr. Michael Verderaime, Department Chair, Languages & Communication

Liberal Studies & College Prep

Melissa Kitterman 

"How can I help?" "Let me know what else I can do!" "I am here for you!" These are the kinds of enthusiastic, caring, and generous comments that I can always expect from Melissa Kitterman, whether she is reaching out to students or colleagues. Her love for students and her active, joyous commitment to their success is palpable in her courses and positively inspiring in our face-to-face meetings. The instructors in my department are all extremely talented, but Melissa is the one I would send them to if I wanted to illustrate what "presence" looks like. Her love, joy, and enthusiasm are augmented by a charismatic attitude towards learning that can't be contained by a computer screen. Everyone who gets to work with Melissa is delighted and transformed by the experience. Melissa is a wonderful teacher and colleague, and in this crazy Covid year when love and generosity were the necessary cornerstones of presence, her brand of encouraging and supporting students and colleagues was unparalleled. I can't recommend her highly enough for this award.

Dr. Beth Davies-Stofka, Department Chair, Liberal Studies & College Prep

History & Political Science

Kristie Raymond

Kristie’s engagement in the classroom, professional communication, and content knowledge are exemplary. Kristie has served as the lead instructor for GEO105 World Regional Geography since we started using the lead instructor model three years ago. She served as the SME in the redesign of World Regional Geography converting the course to OER and incorporating active learning in the form of “quests” that are described by students as “super informative and fun.” Kristie does all this while teaching both for CCCOnline and one (or more) of the community colleges in the System. Kristie exemplifies CCCS’ Academic Mission of high quality instruction and innovation demonstrating integrity, quality, and collaboration, using innovative techniques to provide students with high quality content – tools she is willing and eager to share with her colleagues. She truly is an asset to CCCOnline and our students.

Cynthia Krutsinger, Department Chair, History & Political Science


Career & Technical Education & Math

A Word from the Dean
Accounting & Criminal Justice
Business
Computer Technologies
Computer Science
Education/Early Childhood Education
College Level Math 
Dev Ed & Technical Math
A Word from the Dean

Every year, the annual CONNECT Awards Ceremony gives us a chance to recognize the extraordinary contributions of our distinguished instructors, and celebrate their commitment to student success and learning. This is one of my favorite times of the year as we continue to receive so many wonderful nominations documenting the countless interactions, initiatives, and support that provide the foundation to the success of our students and CCCOnline.

 

This year we have another great group of nominees, and I just wanted to take some time to thank them on behalf of their students, Department Chairs, and CCCOnline. I’m excited to share the accomplishments of all of our 2021 Career and Technical Education and Math Division nominees!

 

Thank you all for your commitment to our students, and I look forward to another great year of supporting you all and helping our students achieve their academic and career goals.

Chris Luchs, Associate Dean
Career and Technical Education and Mathematics
christopher.luchs@cccs.edu

Accounting & Criminal Justice

Lisa Pitts

In the less than four years that Lisa has been with CCCOnline, she has proven herself invaluable to the criminal justice program. She teaches a variety of courses, bringing her years of experience teaching in a Kansas community college system to our students, wrapping her passion for academic integrity in caring, flexibility, and support for her students. Lisa believes in improving her teaching expertise as well as collaborating with other instructors. In that pursuit, Lisa was a presenter of not just one but two sessions at our 2020 CCCOnline CONNECT Conference with one session being so popular it was also offered as an encore webinar this year. I believe that Lisa demonstrates every day what it means to be an exceptional instructor.

 

Roxy Phillips, Department Chair, Accounting & Criminal Justice 

Business

Carl Sonntag

Carl is a quiet leader always striving towards the best outcomes for his students, providing quality instruction and representing CCCOnline at the highest level. Carl’s professional, consistent, collaborative efforts are always at the highest professional standard. Carl works to challenge the student and to think bigger in an effort to prepare them for their life after learning. His broad experience with instruction brings a balance of relationship with other colleges and ensures that we keep the student first in everything we do.   


Annie Moats, Department Chair, Business 

Computer Technologies

Jeff Weide

Dr. Jeff Weide has been a reliable and excellent addition to the Computer Technology team for years. He is highly knowledgeable, personable, excellent with students, and helpful with colleagues. He regularly helps his fellow CCCOnline instructors, helps with course setup, and interacts with everyone like a champion educator. He's one of those instructors you wish you could copy / paste to get more copies! 


Kate Hagerty, Department Chair, Computer Technologies 

Computer Science

Amy Sorensen

Amy is dedicated to her students. She always jumps in to help them when they struggle. She has mastered D2L and utilizes the tools to help her students succeed in their courses. She is very conscientious and knowledgeable. Her students love her and she is an asset to the department.  


Linda Hamons, Department Chair, Computer Science 

Education/Early Childhood Education

Pamela Humphrey

Pam Humphrey has been a dedicated team member and overall contributor to the CCCOnline ECE Department. Her passion and commitment for the work has resulted in positive student outcomes as well as the alignment of a contemporary lens on how we prepare students for the making a dynamic impact on their communities. Pam is well respected among the team and remains a champion for the important work of early childhood education. 


Bridgitt Mitchell, Department Chair, Education/Early Childhood Education 

College Level Math 

Cheryll Wingard

Cheryll’s passion for mathematics, combined with her willingness to help others, makes her a valuable member of the College Level Math Division at CCCOnline. Cheryll is very intentional with her teaching. She wants her students to have the best possible learning experience and succeed. She has also worked diligently to revise and review new courses for our math curriculum so that they are top-notch college level courses. Her suggestions and recommendations are always so thoughtful and do make our courses high quality. Cheryll always goes above and beyond for our department, and she is always available and willing to volunteer for anything that is needed. She is truly an amazing instructor and person.


Rudilee Gabel, Department Chair, College Level Math 

Dev Ed & Technical Math

Brenda Zink

Brenda has been an amazing instructor for CCCOnline for many years and is well deserving of this award. She is always devoted to the success of every one of her students. One reflection of this is that Brenda received a 5.0 score (out of 5) on the student evaluations with over half the class completing the survey. She also has always received a "Best" on all TE Reviews.  Thank you for your dedication and diligence Brenda!


Eric Thompson, Department Chair, Dev Ed & Technical Math 


Sciences

A Word from the Dean
Behavioral Sciences
Health Sciences
Life Sciences
Physical Sciences
Social Sciences
A Word from the Dean

We carefully select all of our CCCOnline instructors based on expertise in their relative fields, as well as their ability to cultivate and maintain student engagement.  Because we have such a strong team, it is difficult to identify just one instructor to recognize for this award.

Nominees are identified based on their outstanding efforts to present course material that provides context and applicability to students. These instructors bring their expertise and enthusiasm for the subject to their course, regularly provide supplemental materials to enhance the course content, and consistently and dynamically engage their students. It is my pleasure to announce the following awardees for each department within the Sciences Division.  Thank you so much to all of the award winners and to all of the CCCOnline team for the great work that you do each and every day.


Kai Savi, Associate Dean for the Sciences
kai.savi@cccs.edu

Behavioral Sciences

Christy Sorden

In some ways, Christy Sorden is a quiet, under-the-radar instructor. However, what most don’t know is that she has been a lifesaver for the department for years. When I have an unexpected course to fill and no instructor to teach it, I can always count on Christy to step up and take it, no matter what the circumstances are. She demonstrates professionalism in everything she does and is one of the most reliable instructors in the department. However, to her students she is much, much more. She is accessible, compassionate, and supportive to every individual student and is always looking for ways to make the content more meaningful to them. Her dedication to her students and their success is unsurpassable and raises the bar for the entire department when it comes to student-centered teaching. So, don’t let her mild nature fool you. When it comes to her students, her passion is second to none.   


Jeremy
Rottini, Department Chair, Behavioral Sciences
 

Health Sciences

Simon Waldbaum

Simon has been an instructor with CCCOnline since 2009; he has taught a variety of classes, is the current course lead for Pathophysiology, and acted as SME for our Intro to Human Disease course. Simon has a prompt and positive communication style - always ready to offer assistance or feedback, ask questions, or relay any course issues. As an instructor, Simon excels at providing learner-centered instruction. He engages his students in discussions with relevant questions and quickly answers student questions. His assignment feedback is detailed, supportive, and proactive throughout the semester. The learning environment that Simon creates in his online classroom serves to both motivate and support students, in order to best prepare them for careers in health sciences. Student evaluations have also been consistently enthusiastic about Simon's impact on the course.


Jenee
 Weitzel, Department Chair, Health Sciences 

Life Sciences

Jennifer Ketterling

Jennifer consistently ranks Best in TE reviews because of her success at motivating, connecting with, and guiding students as reflected in their reviews and mine. Her Announcement pages are breathtaking as is her participation in discussions and lab critiques. She played a major role in the instructor team that worked for several semesters fine tuning BIO111 and I can always count on her as a skilled, team player. She is devoted to her work as well as the success and well-being of her students. 


Paul Robertson, Department Chair, Life Sciences
 

 

 

Physical Sciences

Amanda Martin

I would like to nominate Amanda Martin for the 2021 Physical Science Academic Excellence Award. From the time that Amanda has come to CCCOnline, she has become an effective online instructor, teaching both Astronomy and Physics courses. Amanda is great at getting her students excited about the current topic they are covering. She is very knowledgeable in her subject matter and it shows in her communications with the students. Amanda is great when it comes to offering her time to others and always has great ideas when it comes to course improvements and making our courses innovative and stimulating. She is a very valuable asset to CCCOnline! 


Therese Fukuda, Department Chair, Physical Sciences

Social Sciences

Rachael Byrd

Rachael is relatively new to CCCOnline but has done an excellent job in all of her courses. Rachael consistently has high TE reviews and student evaluations. She is kind, respectful, knowledgeable and prompt. Her communication is strong, she promotes student success within the classroom and shows strength in each of the designated areas (integrity, quality and collaboration). Rachael is willing to teach any of the courses offered and is happy with as many (and sometimes as few) as I can give her. Based on what students say about her, she is very learner focused. We are lucky to have her teaching for us.


Andrea Birkby, Department Chair, Social Sciences
 


Specialty Awards

Dr. Nancy McCallin Award for Online Teaching Excellence
SME (Subject Matter Expert) of the Year
DC (Department Chair) of the Year
Dr. Nancy McCallin Award for Online Teaching Excellence

Lisa Pitts, Accounting & Criminal Justice

In the less than four years that Lisa has been with CCCOnline, she has proven herself invaluable to the criminal justice program. She teaches a variety of courses, bringing her years of experience teaching in a Kansas community college system to our students, wrapping her passion for academic integrity in caring, flexibility, and support for her students. Lisa believes in improving her teaching expertise as well as collaborating with other instructors. In that pursuit, Lisa was a presenter of not just one but two sessions at our 2020 CCCOnline CONNECT Conference with one session being so popular it was also offered as an encore webinar this year. I believe that Lisa demonstrates every day what it means to be an exceptional instructor.

SME (Subject Matter Expert) of the Year

Holly Dershem-Bruce, Accounting & Criminal Justice

Holly developed our first OER Criminal Justice class at CCCOnline this year. She located the OER eText and wrote 15 supplemental Explorations to create a cohesive and interactive course. She wrote assignments, discussions, and even quizzes that draw from the Explorations and the eText to encourage students to utilize all the resources provided in the class. Holly combined her expertise and years in the field with the eText to create a complete coverage of a variety of topics in our Introduction to Criminal Justice class. She worked easily with everyone on the development team, meeting weekly to provide updates on her progress and hear feedback on her work. She graciously received and included feedback with the result being a class we can be proud to deliver to our students.

DC (Department Chair) of the Year

Beth Davies, Department Chair of Liberal Studies & College Prep

Beth consistently demonstrates thoughtful engagement with her instructors and every team she is involved with at CCCOnline. She has dealt with many challenges in her department with a strategic mindset and thoroughness in working out creative solutions. She also evinces an empathetic approach, evident to all. Beth has gone beyond her duties to volunteer for the CCCOnline informational workgroup on curriculum, co-leading a cross-discipline interactive CONNECT session on closing the performance equity gap, and Developed Short Cuts, a DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion)-related PD opportunity for instructors and staff at CCCOnline. Beth also expanded course offerings with the development of an ESL course (ESL052), and piloted “Wrap-Around” support for CCR094-ENG121 in conjunction with Student Services. Beth works hard to build and support community with instructors and System, such as participating in the Faculty Pilot, as well as the Faculty Pilot Assessment workgroup, working with the developmental English discipline group, etc. She has also been instrumental in the endeavor to provide students a JOU pathway, and has anticipated and tracked needed changes in our JOU courses. A constant refrain from Beth is, “how can I help? What else can I do?” Beth’s efforts and positive attitude are appreciated, and continue to have a positive effect on colleagues, instructors and students. Thank you Beth!