Five Missouri Southern State University Faculty Members Honored with Annual Awards

Image Credit: Curtis Almeter, Missouri Southern State University

(Joplin, MO) – Five members of the faculty at Missouri Southern State University have been recognized for their commitment to students and service to the university.

The awards were announced during the All-Employee Welcome Back meeting.

Dr. David Penning, assistant professor of biology and environmental health, received the 2022 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education.

The annual award is presented to an outstanding faculty member from each of Missouri’s four-year higher-education institutions. Criteria for nomination includes effective teaching and advising, a commitment to high standards of excellence, and success in nurturing student achievement.

“Compassion and realism go a long way in making meaningful connections with students,” said Penning. “Becoming a biologist is incredibly hard and challenging. I am honored to be able to help provide a foundation for the next generation of great scientists.”

Also recognized was the 2021 recipient of the Governor’s Award Kim Rogers, a faculty member in the Dental Hygiene Department.

“It is such an honor to be given this award and to be included in a long line of amazing educators,” said Rogers. “I have had the privilege of impacting the lives and careers of so many students over the years, and I’m grateful to all the individuals who have mentored and supported me over the years, because I would not be where I am today without them.”

Award recipients and guests will be honored during a luncheon hosted by the governor.

The 2022 Outstanding Teacher and Advisor recipients were also announced during the meeting. The annual awards are based on nominations submitted by Missouri Southern students.

Kathi Christian, a faculty member in the Dental Hygiene Department, was one of two recipients of the Outstanding Teacher Award.

“Mrs. Christian is a phenomenal and perfect example as a clinician,” said one of the students who nominated her for the award. “She is what I strive to be, a hygienist with her patience, understanding, knowledge, skills and more.”

Christian said she was honored and overwhelmed by the honor.

“God has blessed me with so many wonderful mentors and students, who each in their own unique way have taught me so many different things and helped me to grow and develop into the teacher I am. I could not do what I do without all of them.”

Also receiving the Outstanding Teacher recognition was Dr. Angie Durborow, an instructor in the Teacher Education Department.

“She brings life and energy to the classroom,” one of the nominations stated. “She goes out of her way to make relationships with her students and encourages and establishes rapport between the students. Her teaching style makes me want to show up for class every day and shows me the type of educator I want to be.”

Durborow said the relationships she builds with her students is her favorite part of teaching.

“We have incredible students at MSSU, and I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to spend time with them in the classroom. I am living the dream right now and couldn’t be more proud of the teachers we are molding in the Teacher Education Department.”

Dr. Nicole Shoaf, assistant professor of political science, was announced as the recipient of the 2022 Outstanding Advisor Award.

“It is an amazing experience to have someone to look up to who has been in your shoes and wants you to succeed,” said a student nominating her for the award. “Dr. Shoaf has encouraged me to try new experiences that have shaped me into a better student and given me a skill set that has prepared me for the work force.”

Shoaf said she is happy to know her advising efforts have had a positive effect on students.

“Advising is labor-intensive and there is no one-size-fits-all formula,” she said. “I see the role of the advisor as a resource to help students navigate the university bureaucracy, a guide to encourage students to prepare for what they want to do after graduation, and an honest partner who will be their advocate – and tell them when they need to get it together.

“I feel honored that a student took the time to nominate me and share their experience.”


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Missouri Southern State University

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