Skip to main content
Main Content

Outstanding Faculty Award

A white man with light hair and glasses wearing a John Deere polo    

Duane Bouska

Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC)

Duane Bouska of St. Olaf, Iowa, has been an instructor in the Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) John Deere TECH program since 1997. He earned a diploma in Farm Implement Mechanics at Area One Technical College (now NICC) in Calmar, Iowa in 1979 and earned his John Deere Master Instructor credential from John Deere University. In 2004, Bouska received the National Institute for Staff and Institutional Development award for his commitment to student success and excellence in teaching. The John Deere TECH program ensures the technical competence of incoming John Deere dealership technicians through classroom, laboratory, and internship instruction. The program has been awarded a platinum rating multiple times by John Deere based on criteria such as quality of faculty, program facilities and student retention. The John Deere TECH program has the highest program retention rate (98%) and graduation rate (98% - 100%) in the College.


A white man with no hair smiling at the camera, wearing a suit.    

Brent Hamilton

North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC)

Brent Hamilton is an active member of NIACC's campus community teaching a variety of courses. Brent also serves as the Curriculum and Academic Affairs Committee Chairperson, mentors new faculty members, and is the faculty advisor for the Campus Ministry Association. Brent is student focused, passionate about student learning, and dedicated to student success. He has worked with Student Services to develop student wellness activities and organizes service learning opportunities for students. Brent also records his daily content presentations and uploads them to the learning management system so that students have access to ideas and concepts they missed or are struggling to understand. Locally, Brent serves on Boards of Directors, participates in service organizations, and is an assistant coach at a local high school.  He has served two terms as President of the state-wide Iowa Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (2003-2004 and 2020-2021). Brent has received the Foundation Excellence in Service Award, an honor resulting from nominations by his peers, and has been recognized by the Iowa Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges for outstanding leadership in mathematics. Brent was recognized as a Globe Gazette 30 under 40 Honoree for making a significant difference in North Iowa. He has served in many capacities at NIACC over the years and recognized by both his peers and students as an outstanding faculty member. 



Corey Menning

Iowa Lakes Community College

Corey started his career at Iowa Lakes Community College as a student in the Construction Technology program, and while attending, he served as a Resident Advisor in campus housing. He graduated from the program and worked in his father's construction business prior to taking a position as Lab Assistant in the Iowa Lakes Construction Technology program. Due to growth in the program, Corey assumed the position of Instructor, and now is the Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Construction Technology at Iowa Lakes. During Corey's tenure, he has had multiple individuals and teams excel in Skills USA at both the state and national level. His specialty is the Team Build competition. 



Robert Hoting

Northwest Iowa Community College

Robert utilizes current industry standards in his teaching in order to meet the needs of the welding students. Robert is also a leader at NCC in promoting innovative technology in the classroom. He uses online curriculum resources and industry specific technologies on a consistent basis so that students are able to learn the current trends within the welding profession. Robert never says “no” to teaching credit or non-credit welding courses. In addition, he is a leader on the campus of NCC, and he serves on committees and professional organizations that promote community college education.



Mike Richards

Iowa Central Community College

Mike has served as a faculty member within the agriculture program at Iowa Central Community College for close to 14 years. During this time, he has spent countless hours not only preparing his class lessons and content for the betterment of student learning, but he has also served as the Faculty Advisor for the highly successful Professional Agricultural Student Organization (PAS) in which students gain the valuable leadership experiences that will allow them to have successful careers once they graduate. Mike has also been instrumental in building relationships with area high school instructors, providing leadership and expertise, supporting every concurrent enrollment course, visiting classrooms, and showing students the technologies that are being used in today's current environment.



P.J. Colbert

Iowa Valley Community College District

Professor Colbert has been an outstanding English faculty member, campus leader, and student advocate at Marshalltown Community College for 36 years. Her academic service includes teaching writing and literature courses including advising the Collegiate Veteran's Association and organizing the annual Veteran's Day Celebration and Iowa Valley of Fear Sherlock Holmes club. P.J. has co-advised the Alpha Iota Rho chapter of Phi Theta Kappa for the past ten years. Her noteworthy responsibilities include developing students' leadership and scholarship skills within the PTK organization, coordinating the Iowa PTK Conference hosted by MCC, assisting students with application materials for the All-Iowa Academic Team, and assisting with the All-Iowa Academic Team Banquet when IVCCD hosted the event. 



Cindy Koehn

Hawkeye Community College

Ms. Koehn serves as the Assistant Professor and Program Director for the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program. She is first and foremost dedicated to serving students. She uses a wide variety of instructional techniques to enhance and assist student learning and can dissect an idea into pieces that help students progress in stages to learn a new concept or activity that builds on prior knowledge. Ms. Koehn is driven, highly analytical, well organized, and effective at short and long-term planning. In 2021, due to her grit and determination, she and a colleague worked to earn the OTA program a ten-year accreditation. She is a force for good at Hawkeye Community College while working with others to keep the OTA program moving forward. Ms. Koehn also serves as a faculty mentor and serves on many Hawkeye committees.



Christine Solheim

Eastern Iowa Community Colleges

Christine (Tina) Solheim joined Eastern Iowa Community Colleges in 1991 as an administrative assistant in the Small Business Development Center. While teaching classes for the college’s Continuing Education division, she discovered her true calling, and joined the Administrative and Office Professional program faculty as a full-time instructor, now serving as district-wide coordinator for the AOP program at all three EICC campuses. Tina’s goal every day is to develop warm, caring relationships with her students. Many of the students in the AOP program are nontraditional students who appreciate her extra efforts to make the classroom – and by extension, the college – a welcoming and supportive environment. She strives to create a friendly, comfortable and supportive classroom environment, one where she is “the meteorologist who controls the weather in my classroom, and I strive to keep the weather bright and sunny.” This style shows in her students’ attendance, retention, and completion results.



Zac Hall

Kirkwood Community College

Zac is an impressive 2nd year faculty member in the Parks and Natural Resources Program at Kirkwood. Zac’s first year of full time teaching was complicated by the disruptions and challenges of COVID, yet he was able to create and maintain a highly engaging learning environment and showed great commitment to his student’s success. In addition to his great work in the classroom, Zac was selected as a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fellow this academic year. This select group of faculty have spent a great deal of time learning about D.E.I. strategies and creating initiatives across campus to ensure our learning environments are accessible and engaging for all. Zac’s enthusiasm to devote time to D.E.I. work speaks highly of his character and directly resonates in the classroom culture he creates.



Jeremy Hoffmann

Des Moines Iowa Area Community College

While at Des Moines Area Community College, Jeremy has increased enrollment for the cybersecurity program and maintained high levels of retention and completion. He has worked closely with the community to determine training needs and designs his program around current and future need from the industry. He works with learners to ensure they have what they need to be successful in the program. He has successfully gained accreditation from the National Security Agency for the program and Center of Academic Excellence – Cyber Defense designation for the college. He is building a training center for multi discipline projects to help learners gain real world experience and remote learning opportunities for online learners. He works with student clubs and cyber defense teams for cyber competitions and with new faculty to mentor and assist with their acclimation to their new roles here at the college.





Karl Stodden

Western Iowa Tech Community College

Karl's industry experience is wide ranging. He helped install the world's first automated palletizing systems in a freezer environment, worked with an automotive and heavy equipment parts manufacturer, and traveled as an automation tech all over the country working in various industries and companies. Since being at WITCC, Karl has revamped the curriculum for the welding program, helped WITCC become an American Welding Society Accredited Testing Facility, helped companies develop specialized welding procedures for bridge welding in Iowa and surrounding states, designed an apartment complex, converted paper prints into modern 3D CAD models, and helped 3 people get patents. Karl uses all his experience and industry tools to teach students with real world examples, and he is constantly working to make sure what students are learning is what is needed for the future, not just the here and now.



Kelli Blair

Iowa Western Community College

Mrs. Blair is currently the Medical Assistant Instructor for the Medical Assistant Program at Iowa Western Community College.  In this role, Kelli demonstrates exceptional leadership skills, commitment, and dedication to the students, her colleagues, and staff.  Recently, Kelli was nominated by her students and awarded the 2022 Iowa Western Community College ‘Distinguished Teaching Award’ for her commitment to the students and college. Kelli is new to Iowa Western and teaching, but she is committed to student success. Students say she is compassionate, understanding, and willing to take the extra time to ensure the students success. Kelli is a team player, student-centered with extraordinary interpersonal skills, and demonstrates a positive attitude and leads by example. In addition to teaching a full load of courses each semester, Kelli manages to take on the additional duties and responsibilities of Accreditation Liaison and Department Chair for the Medical Assistant program.



Jeff Magneson

Southwestern Community College

Mr. Magneson has served as the instructor for the college’s auto collision repair/refinish program since the 1996-97 academic year. Throughout his career, Mr. Magneson has consistently exceeded expectations as he works diligently to ensure his program meets and exceeds national accreditation standards, spearheads SkillsUSA co-curricular programming opportunities for Career and Technical Education (CTE) students, seeks external funding opportunities to acquire additional technology to incorporate into the lab, and demonstrates a commitment to lifelong learning. Under Mr. Magneson’s leadership, Southwestern’s esteemed auto collision repair/refinish program is one of two programs in Iowa to have the ASE (The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence)/NATEF (National Automotive Technician Education Foundation) certification.  In addition, Southwestern is the only program in the state to have the I-CAR PROLEVEL 1 & 2 certifications.  Outside of leading the college’s ASE/NATEF accreditation efforts, Mr. Magneson regularly seeks external grant funding opportunities, resulting in thousands of dollars of new equipment and technology for the program. Several years ago, Mr. Magneson also spearheaded the college’s efforts to engage students in the Iowa SkillsUSA program. Mr. Magneson is always on the cutting-edge of identifying new technology to train and prepare the students for the workforce. Most recently, he completed a 3M training for best practices in structural, non-structural, and refinish repair during his off-contract days in the summer. In addition, he regularly provides training to members of the college’s auto collision repair/refinish advisory committee.  



Susan Wilson

Indian Hills Community College

Ms. Susan Wilson serves as Professor of Software Development at Indian Hills Community College. Ms. Wilson is a dedicated professor who works tirelessly to teach and support students within her program. Throughout her 24 year teaching career at IHCC, Ms. Wilson has been recognized by her colleagues as someone who goes above and beyond to serve the needs of students from their initial recruitment, advising, and on to successful careers. Ms. Wilson’s efforts to enroll students in Software Development has led to the development and her coordination of the annual Byte Jam competition that brings high school students from Iowa and Missouri school districts to campus for an incredible event. Susan is a committed faculty member who cares about her students, program, and college.



Amber Ruskell-Lamer

Southeastern Community College

Amber Ruskell-Lamer has been a Professor of Biology at Southeastern Community College since August 2009. In this relatively short time frame, Amber has made a significant impact on the College. Some of her distinctions include: serving a three-year term as Chair of the Math & Science Department, leading efforts to realign and refresh SCC’s science courses as well as efforts to attract new students to math and science courses, coordinating activities to increase enrollment and retention at the College, and creating and teaching a completely new and unique science course – The Science of Monsters. Amber is a popular teacher with students because she makes learning fun and intuitive for them and is often described by her students and her colleagues as dedicated, passionate, and knowledgeable. 



© 2023 Community Colleges for Iowa. All rights reserved.