headshot-web-v_MarkMcDonaldThe Kansas Independent College Association (KICA) announced today the selection of 17 college faculty members to receive the association’s Faculty of Distinction award.  Bethany Professor of Biology Mark McDonald is among those receiving the award. The honorees will be recognized at a workshop and award reception in Newton Kansas, on November 3, 2015.

Professor McDonald was awarded the Robert Mortvedt Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award at the Bethany College in May. The annual award recognizes a faculty member who makes a distinct difference in the teaching climate of the college. Professor McDonald, a 1991 Bethany College graduate, has been a member of the faculty since 1996.  He is the chair of the biology department and has been active in various campus initiatives including curriculum reform projects and sustainability initiatives. He has served on several campus and faculty committees and has served as President of the Faculty Senate and Faculty Representative to the Board of Directors.

In the nomination for his award last May, Professor McDonald was described by a colleague as “always thinking about ways to improve our students’ experiences and achievements. He often makes very astute observations about student behavior and learning styles; he provides clear learning goals and objectives to students; he enjoys trying new strategies in the classroom with an eye to improving student outcomes.”

The KICA Faculty of Distinction program celebrates excellence and achievement among faculty at the 18 accredited private colleges and universities in Kansas.  Throughout their existence, these colleges, which included the oldest colleges in Kansas, have emphasized the importance of classroom teaching, personal attention to each and every student, and a commitment to character, values, and learning through every facet of their graduates’ lives.  The 2015 KICA Faculty of Distinction honorees are exemplars of this approach to college education and serve as models for educators everywhere.

“It’s inspiring to know these faculty and see how they live the mission of our independent colleges,” said Matt Lindsey, President of the KICA.  “A common thread we saw among them is their gift for balancing a commitment to hold each student accountable for real, meaningful learning and a strong sense of empathy for the value of each student as an individual.  Or as one nominee was described:  they help every student ‘to find their voice,’ which is a central to forming college graduates with the ability to succeed wherever they go.”

Faculty of Distinction honorees are nominated by the President and/or Chief Academic Officer of each KICA member institution.  This year’s recipients encompass multiple disciplines, including the natural and physical sciences, business, education, and several social sciences, as well as art, theater, and language.  They include departmental chairs, individuals who teach and contribute to student life and athletics, and adjunct instructors who are practicing professionals in their chosen field.