STLCC Faculty, Staff to Receive Excellence Awards

Thursday, January 16, 2020

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Edward Pfeifer, LaRhonda Wilson and Arabela Koric

Seven faculty and staff members at St. Louis Community College have been chosen to receive 2019 League Excellence Awards.  

Sponsored by the League for Innovation in the Community College, league board and alliance member colleges and systems annually submit the names of those at their institutions who exemplify exceptional teaching and leadership for this award. Each institution determines eligibility criteria, procedures and selection protocol for the Excellence Awards. 

This year’s honorees are Edward Pfeifer and LaRhonda Wilson from Florissant Valley; Jeremy Dennis and Arabela Koric from Forest Park; Mysha Clincy and Betsy Morris from Meramec; and Yolanda Adams from Wildwood. 

Individuals from any STLCC location can be selected to receive this honor. The 2019 recipients will be honored at the league’s annual Innovations Conference March 1-4 in Seattle, Washington. 

Edward Pfeifer is an administrative assistant in the Math department at Florissant Valley. Prior to joining the math department, Pfeifer spent most of his 19 years at Florissant Valley as part of the library staff where he, among other tasks that demanded attention to detail, conducted financial audits of patron accounts using Banner, created and maintained inventories of various library supplies, and created and compiled statistical reports. 

The master at organization quickly learned a number of complicated software programs, overhauled the Math department's schedule and now represents it in the Florissant Valley Senate. Pfeifer is well known for treating others with great respect, listening acutely to students' questions, concerns and providing them with helpful information and advice. Pfeifer also received the 2014 Classified Employee of the Year Award. 

LaRhonda Wilson serves as associate professor in Sociology/Anthropology, as well as the service learning and prison education coordinator. In her role as lead faculty for several academic programs, Wilson is responsible for building and maintaining semester course schedules, hiring and evaluating adjunct faculty, managing student and faculty complaints and civility, and managing the program budget. 

Wilson has spearheaded dynamic out-of-the-classroom-learning experiences for students, faculty and staff. She has facilitated restorative justice circles, open forums, panel discussions, field trips, and welcomed local and nationally renowned lecturers to campus. Wilson has connected students to environmental activities, re-entry populations, services for children (and families), communities of poverty, city government, political campaigns and much more. She has won numerous awards, including the 2018 DELUX Inc. Courageous Community Advocate Award. 

Jeremy Dennis is the chair of English, ESL, Reading and SmartStart at Forest Park. He has been with the College for 19 years. In that time, he has held a number leadership roles and he has taught a wide variety of courses. Dennis is an alumnus of Harvard University's Higher Education Leadership program. 

Arabela Koric is an assistant professor of mathematics at Forest Park. She has been a faculty member at Forest Park since 2002. She has devoted her entire career to teaching mathematics and guiding her students toward understanding math concepts and away from mindless memorization of procedures and routines. 

Koric’s classes are structured and centered around her students’ needs. Her lessons are interactive and are laced with a bit of humor. Her high expectations and demand for rigor have helped her students demonstrate one of the highest success rates in mathematics at STLCC. Koric has been recognized as an Emerging Scholars Mentor on several occasions and has been a recipient of numerous Students Appreciating Teachers and Staff awards. 

Mysha Clincy is an academic advisor at Meramec, who started her career at STLCC in 1997 as a career counselor with the Employment and Training Center. She also has served as an admissions representative at Forest Park, and worked with the GEAR-UP program at Florissant Valley. She briefly left STLCC to work at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, but returned to STLCC in 2007 to her present position. 

Clincy works on several campus and district committees to develop successful programming for students, faculty and staff such as the Meramec Senate, the Campus Community Building and Wellness Committee, the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She serves on the Early Alert Taskforce and has served on the Governance Taskforce, as well as chaired the Advising Assessment Committee. Next month, Clincy will receive a Certificate of Merit of Region 7 Excellence in Advising-Advisor Primary Role from the Missouri Academic Advising Association.  

Betsy Morris is a professor and coordinator of the Fine Arts program in the Department of Design, Visual and Performing Art at Meramec. She teaches drawing and foundations design. Morris’ current work explores botanical imagery, combining direct exposure cyanotype with printmaking processes. She has exhibited work regionally and nationally, including solo and two person exhibits at the Pennsylvania School of Art and Design; the University of Dayton; St. Xavier College; the University of Missouri; the Sheldon Swope Museum; and the New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art. 

Morris has curated numerous exhibits for the Meramec Gallery of Contemporary Art, including “Drawing Forward: Process and Vision,” 2018; “Exploring and Expanding: A Fiber Invitational,” 2015; “Voices in Encaustic,” 2011; “Beth Edwards: Fifteen Years of Paintings,” 2008; and “Evolutions: Fiber and Wood Transformed,” 2004

Yolanda Adams joined the staff at STLCC-Wildwood after a 30-year career at Maritz. She has held support positions in both Academic and Student Affairs. In her current role as administrative secretary II, she is the go-to person in the faculty office, working to ensure that classes are scheduled and the faculty receive the support they need. 

Carol Lupardus, president and chief academic officer at Wildwood, said: “Yolanda is a true professional. She is respectful, congenial, collaborative and kind. She has proven her ability time and time again to advance our campus and move us forward. We are pleased to celebrate her contributions by presenting her with this award.”

When reflecting on her role at STLCC and this award, Adams said: “It’s an honor to be chosen for this award. I feel grateful for the opportunity to work with such wonderful people here at Wildwood. The positions I’ve held at the College have provided me with a deep appreciation for the work we do to support our students. It truly gives me hope for the future.” 

Mysha Clincy, Betsy Morris and Yolanda Adams

 Mysha Clincy, Betsy Morris and Yolanda Adams. Not pictured is Jeremy Dennis.

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