Awards Presented at 2012 Learning Communities Institute

For the 12th consecutive year, the Learning Communities Awards Committee honored individuals for their extraordinary contributions to learning communities at Iowa State University. The honors were presented at the 14th Annual Learning Communities Institute on Monday, May 7, 2012.

Corly Brooke Learning Community Advocate Award
This award recognizes an Iowa State faculty or staff member who has made significant contributions to the success of our students and learning communities.

This year’s recipient of the Corly Brooke Advocate Award was Ann Coppernoll, from the College of Business.
In 1995 Ann started one of the first learning communities, the business LCs, or BLTs, as they came to be known.   The BLTs have supported the recruitment and retention of thousands of business majors, and have honed the leadership skills of over 200 peer mentors.  
She was a key member of the 1998 LC work group that made a proposal that ultimately resulted in President Jischke allocating $1.5 million to fully launch the LC program. Ann continued as a member of the LC advisory board for several years, helped plan the very first LC Institute, and has served on the peer mentor and assessment committees.  

Outstanding Innovations Award
This award honors members of the Iowa State community who have made new and creative contributions to learning communities. 

The first of two recipients to receive the Outstanding Innovations Award was Denise Hix, coordinator of the Biology Education Success Team (BEST) learning community. 
Denise organized a collaborative project in which the BEST and College of Design learning communities collected trash with the Skunk River Navy and transformed the trash into treasure.  Students from both learning communities participated in the trash pick-up along the Skunk River and used it to create art such as sculptures, jewelry, and wall décor. The students also created narratives and other writing to reflect upon their learning experience. This was a successful initiative for students from very diverse academic disciplines to engage in a cross-disciplinary learning experience outside of the traditional classroom. Denise’s hard work, creativity, and passion stand out through this unique and collaborative experience.

The second recipient of the Outstanding Innovations Award was Nicole Vidden, coordinator of the Business Learning Teams (BLTs). 
In Nicole’s five years with the Business learning teams, she has not only successfully coordinated the freshmen and transfer student learning teams, but she also developed an international learning community, with half of the membership being domestic students. In addition to the member diversity within the international learning community, this particular learning team utilized peer mentor leaders who have had a study abroad experience. Among the many other accomplishments as coordinator, Nicole worked hard to engage faculty mentors by having them join individual team gatherings, inviting them to class, and having them give presentations on issues such as business ethics and involvement in college and university events.

Learning Community Champion Award
This award honors an individual who has significantly contributed to the advancement of learning communities at Iowa State University.
The first of three recipients of the Champion Award was LeQuetia Ancar, coordinator of the Technology and LEAD learning communities.
LeQuetia’s learning community journey began in her undergraduate days when she was hired as one of the founding peer mentors of the Technology learning community. 10 years later, LeQuetia was hired as the co-coordinator of the TLC. Since then, she has produced scholarly publications and participated in numerous presentations on the impact of learning communities. In addition to her work with the TLC, LeQuetia has served as the LEAD learning community coordinator for the past two years. With a passion for assisting in the academic, professional, and social success of all students, LeQuetia has demonstrated commitment to the learning communities program at ISU for the past 10 years. 

The second recipient of the Champion Award was Dermot Hayes, professor in the department of Economics.
Dermot has been at the forefront of promoting learning communities through teaching the Econ 101 class, facilitating common reading discussions and through his generous financial support of the Agricultural Business learning community. Every fall, Dermot sponsors a dinner for each of the four Ag Business freshmen learning communities. He gives each learning team the responsibility of planning the event and inviting several of their current professors. Additionally, his support for the program is made known by the enthusiasm he shows when teaching his 101 class. He cares about students and their continued success at Iowa State. His interactions with students support retention efforts and he is commended for his dedication to the success of students.  

The third recipient of the Champion Award was Jan Wiersema, senior lecturer of Natural Resource Ecology and Management.
Jan’s Project LEA/RN workshop “Putting more learning and more community into learning communities” and its connected bi-weekly seminar have provided its’ participants with educational insights, motivation and inspiration, as well as countless activities and tangible ideas for classroom and training implementation. Jan provides an environment that challenges and pushes her workshop participants while also supporting their ideas, efforts, frustrations, and victories. Jan has facilitated sessions and workshops for numerous students, faculty and staff across campus, and is deserving of recognition for the contributions she has made to the many learning community coordinators she has educated over the years. 

Learning Community Collaborator Award
This award honors an individual in the Iowa State community who has demonstrated the spirit of learning communities through collaboration.
The first recipient of the Collaborator Award was Allison Greenwald, lecturer of English. 
Allison is a thoughtful and highly collaborative English instructor as well as an effective ambassador for the NREM, ABE and Agronomy learning community linked communication courses. In addition to carefully studying the issues, culture and context of the linked disciplines, Allison has engaged with the faculty to best help students reach the English 150 and 250 learning outcomes within their chosen discipline. Allison also works closely with other English instructors to develop their curriculum based on her learning community link model, and she openly shares ideas to improve the efforts of others in the department. She serves as a great mentor and sets an example for the many faculty she interacts with on campus.

The second recipient of the Collaborator Award was Diane Rupp, Associate Registrar in Records and Registration.
Ever since she entered the Associate Registrar role, Diane has strategized how to address the needs of learning communities and non-learning community students. It takes a skillful political athlete to balance the two constituencies. Diane devised a formula that allows for reasonable growth in learning communities and shows a strong commitment to the service of students on campus. She objectively navigates individual interests to provide the maximum course availability for Iowa State undergraduates. And because of her support of the learning community initiative, Diane is willing to assume the extra work they introduce into the course availability equation. The result of her hard work is realized in the number of students who are able to participate in learning communities each year.

Learning Community Partner Award
This award honors a department or office that has partnered with and supported learning community initiatives at Iowa State University. 

The recipient of the Partner Award was the ISU Student Counseling Service. The Counseling Service has been very proactive in presenting information about outreach services and highlighting the biofeedback program as a great service for our students. Additionally, the nominators of this award shared how the Mental Health First Aid training course was beneficial to knowing more about dealing with students in crisis situations. The Counseling Service has gone to great lengths to reach out to everyone involved in Learning Communities and are deserving of our recognition for their efforts.

Jen Leptien, 294-1948