Hays, Nichols honored at NISOD Conference
Recognized for their outstanding accomplishments in the field of higher education, Cowley College instructors David Hays and Greg Nichols received Excellence Awards from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development in Austin, Texas during the annual International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence held May 30-June 2.
Nichols, who recently finished his 11th year as a mathematics instructor in the Natural Science Department, also serves as a sponsor for the college’s Academic Excellence Challenge Team, which tied for second place at the state competition.
While, Hays has spent the past seven years as a mathematics instructor in the Natural Science Department and served as a sponsor for the Chess Club.
Cowley College vice president of academic affairs, Slade Griffiths, praised the work done by Nichols and Hays.
“Both Greg and David have been very strong teachers at the college,” Griffiths said. “Greg is a great instructor that does a good job helping the students learn. David is also a wonderful teacher that has devoted his life to helping students.”
Nichols was unable to attend the conference due to his wife, Melissa, giving birth to the couple’s fourth child.
Joining Hays at the conference were Slade Griffiths; Natural Science Department Chair, Michelle Schoon; Humanities Department instructor, Amy McWhirt; Career and Technical Education Department Chair, Bob Moffatt; director of journalism, Meg Smith; and Humanities Department Chair, Marlys Cervantes.
Smith and Cervantes served as presenters at the conference. The title of their presentation was “Crossing Over Interdisciplinary options for higher education classrooms.”
“They did a phenomenal job,” Griffiths said. “This will help other colleges start new programs that we have found to be very successful here at Cowley.”
Smith and Cervantes were already doing a cross curricular assignment with creative writing and digital photography so it seemed like the perfect fit at the right time.
“Putting the presentation together helped us to find ways to perfect what we are already working on in the classroom,” Smith said. “Doing the research showed something we had already discovered: cross curricular, interdisciplinary and critical thinking not only go together, but they also compliment the learning process.”
The conference had hundreds of breakout sessions, which made it easy for those attending to find something they were interested in learning about.
“I think everyone walked away more motivated and with a greater understanding of where we are, and where we need to be,” Griffiths said.
The event was capped by an awards ceremony where the NISOD recipients were honored.