Staff Honored for Professional Development Leadership

K. Patricia Bouweraerts

NISOD Awardees Image

Professional development is continued training for faculty and staff that is widely conducted in the U.S. to increase excellence in higher education.

Eight individuals at Truckee Meadows Community College have been honored for the example they set mentoring their colleagues. They are engaged in opportunities for professional growth and to assist others in pursuing advanced training. TMCC students ultimately benefit from the high quality of educational programming, said department chairs and directors who attended a leadership retreat on August 7.

“With an excellent, supportive staff, students have the best possible chance to succeed academically, achieving their goals in their education and in life,” said Dr. Maria Sheehan, President of TMCC.

The National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) has recognized, for the 2014-2015 academic year, a respected group of TMCC faculty and staff members. Awarded with 2015 Excellence Award medallions during the NISOD International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence in May were:

  • Andy Hughes, Director of Admission and Records, came to TMCC in 2012 and oversees general and special admissions, registration, transcript evaluation, records management, and graduation applications.

    “Andy Hughes has demonstrated his leadership and has gained the respect of the campus community, as well as his counterparts statewide in the shared service collaborative,” said Estela Levario Gutierrez, Vice President of Student Services.

  • Gregory Ellis, Professor of Computer Technologies, teaches classes in computer information technologies and information systems at TMCC. His specialty subjects are installing and configuring computer hardware and software, spreadsheets, databases and management information systems.

    “Greg Ellis exemplifies leadership and dedication with his work in the TMCC Faculty Senate and also serves as the Chair of the CT Department,” said Dan Bouweraerts, Visual and Performing Arts Department Chair. “He has donated his time guest-appearing in character as Captain Jack Sparrow for elementary schools in town.”

  • Adriana Lopez, Coordinator of Student Outreach, coordinates programs at the College such as Success First Summer Bridge, working to increase success and to support lifelong learning for first-time college students.

    “What a superlative collaborator. Adriana Lopez has been instrumental in working with Success First Students through the Nevadaworks grant, and she is noted in the TMCC 2014 audit of all Nevadaworks grants as ‘Commendable’ for her strong management and oversight of the grant,” said Patty Porter, Program Director of Student Outreach.

  • Rosemary Rinaldi, Professor of Nursing, presented an overview of the clinical assessment tool developed by TMCC nursing staff at the National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (N-OADN) convention in November. Professor Ellen House was the co-presenter together with Rinaldi.

    “Professor Rinaldi has demonstrated excellence in faculty leadership in her role as clinical coordinator and as a lead faculty member in the Nursing Program,” said Lance Bowen, PhD, Dean of Sciences.

  • Warren Hejny, Professor of Radiologic Technology, teaches courses in a rapidly evolving technological facet of health care and works to make sure coursework meets standards of the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Graduates of the program at TMCC have achieved a pass rate for the national certification exam at nearly 100 percent during the past 30 years.

    “Warren Hejny has been an innovative leader of the Radiology Program at TMCC,” said Dr. Sheehan. “He has expanded the program by working with Lance Bowen in seeking donations to purchase new state-of-the-art equipment. The Nevada Department of Education has recently awarded a grant for TMCC to develop an MRI skills certificate, which will be the first of its kind in the state. With this, Professor Hejny has greatly expanded access to training, even to rural Nevada. ”

  • Darryl Cleveland, Director of Occupational and Safety Training, holds the internationally-recognized credential of Chief Fire Officer (CFO), and is one of six CFOs in Nevada. He has more than 33 years of experience in fire and emergency medical services and is a founding member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

    “Since joining the staff of TMCC in 2013, Chief Cleveland has achieved national accreditation for the Paramedic Program,” said Kate Kirkpatrick, Director of Marketing and Communications. “He has expanded the EMT curriculum, participated along with EMS staff and students in the National Association of EMS Educators Convention, and created new degrees in his department. EMT students and staff are actively involved in community engagement with the Boys and Girls Club, Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful and other organizations.”

  • Jody Covert, Director of Nursing, leads the Maxine S. Jacobs Nursing Program at TMCC. She has expanded the program to replace the A.A.S. degree with a more transferrable Associate of Science degree, and is adding a fifth cohort of nursing students as the program moves into the new William N. Pennington Health Science Center on Aug. 31.

    “Professor Covert has been the model of faculty leadership in her position as the Nursing Director,” Bowen said. “Her fundamental understanding of the profession and vision to lead the program have garnered her the respect of her peers within the program and community.”

  • Erika Bein, Professor of English was also nominated for the 2015 Excellence Award, but she was unable to attend the conference.

    “Professor Bein is so well-respected by students, they clamor to get into her classes and her sections fill immediately,” said Natalie Russell, Professor of English and English Department Chair. “She designed and spearheaded our English majors’ advisement program for which she’s been honored state-wide. And she also serves as a board member of Nevada Humanities.”

National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development

NISOD is a non-profit organization, established in 1978, and is located on the campus of the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin. There are 337 two-year colleges from the U.S. and Canada that are NISOD members. Member colleges have access to a variety of resources such as:

  • Innovation Abstracts, a teaching and learning strategies publication
  • Scott Wright Student Essay Contest with cash prizes
  • NISOD’s Webinar Series
  • Resources for teaching and professional development

“For community and technical colleges that want to make the most of their professional development dollars, NISOD provides budget-friendly, high-quality, and faculty-focused programs and resources,” according to NISOD.

NISOD sponsors the Excellence Awards Program, recognizing outstanding faculty, staff and administration for outstanding accomplishments and innovation in teaching and learning.

Member colleges can select nominees to recognize, and the honorees represent their school at the annual NISOD International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence in Austin, Texas.

NISOD Has Held the Annual Conference Since 1989

"The NISOD Conference is a high profile event for community colleges, with a typical attendance of more than 1,200,” said Cathy Brewster, Manager of Professional Development and TMCC’s liaison to NISOD. “The conference recognizes the best practices in teaching and learning from around the nation. It is a wonderful opportunity for our Excellence Award winners to interact with their colleagues and learn what is working in other locations. It also allows our talented faculty and staff to showcase the work they are doing here at TMCC by offering workshops; as Chief Cleveland did at the conference."

The University of Texas at Austin co-hosts the yearly event and TMCC sponsors its nominees’ travel expenses to the event.

“This conference is a true celebration of hard work and provides recipients an opportunity to network, share best practices and be inspired by others from community colleges across the country,” according to

For more information about Professional Development or NISOD participation at TMCC, please call 775-674-7965.