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Highland honors faculty and staff with Excellence and Service awards

Highland Community College recently recognized colleagues at its spring semester kickoff last month to honor individuals receiving Excellence Awards and Service Awards. The awards recognize employees for professional excellence over the past year or their total years of service.

2023 Excellence Awards

These awards recognize employees for quality work, creativity, honesty, integrity, self-development and excellence in their professional relationships. A committee made up of Excellence Awards recipients from the previous two years selected the winners in the following categories: full-time faculty, full-time administrative/professional staff and full-time classified staff.

Rachel Stewart (Davis) — Administrative/Professional Excellence Award: Stewart was recognized for her high-quality quality work and commitment to Highland’s Early Childhood Education students as a mentor/coach. Her efforts helped the college achieve an increase in enrollment for the program by 150 percent. She communicates frequently with students to make sure they are reaching their goals.

Monica Pierce (Freeport) — Faculty Excellence Award: Since she began at Highland as an instructor, Pierce has worked tirelessly to grow the Agriculture Program. Pierce demonstrates quality work daily by creating lessons and experiences for the students that shape their lives. Her work to recognize employment demands and develop programming to help meet those needs has benefitted students and the college alike. The Cannabis Studies Certificate is one example. When it became difficult to hire quality instructors, Pierce took the needed courses to build on her knowledge base to teach.

Michael Gunderson (Davis) — Classified Excellence Award: Gunderson is an ITS Support Specialist for Media Systems. Gunderson is always striving to improve the experiences of staff, students, labs and classrooms. He installed standard audio-visual equipment in all classrooms across campus, making it easier for faculty/staff to have seamless learning environments. To meet the increasing demand for hybrid modalities, Gunderson implemented technology to better connect instructors and students.

2023 Service Award Recipients

Five Years of Service: Stacey Moore, Executive Assistant; Trinetta Holmes, Administrative Assistant; Wesley Bertram, Student Advisor; Michael LaRush, Custodian; Alyssa Lipinski, Digital Media & Creative Specialist; Steven Curran, Earth Sciences/Geography Instructor; Stephanie Eymann, Dean, Nursing and Allied Health; Kristin Akins, Automotive Instructor; Bruce Pittluck, ITS Support Specialist, Elizabeth Hamilton, Administrative Assistant; Stacey Benkert, Coordinator, Student Accounts

Ten Years of Service: Kevin Remrey, Lead Custodian 3rd Shift

Twenty Years of Service: Paul Rabideau, Psychology Instructor; Danny Tufariello, English Instructor

Twenty-Five Years of Service: Laura Watson, Reference Librarian; Samuel Fiorenza Jr., English Instructor; Michael Sopcic, Custodian

Thirty Years of Service: Patricia Dunn, Director, Operations (Foundation); Madonna Keeney, Bookstore Manager; Alan Nowicki, Biology Instructor

Photo: (L -R) Mike Gunderson, Monica Pierce and Rachel Stewart