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February 27, 2006

Butler, Branscum to receive NISOD Excellence Awards


Cowley College instructors Brett Butler and Cindy Branscum will receive Excellence Awards from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development in Austin, Texas, in May.

Butler, an industrial technology/agriculture instructor on the main campus in Arkansas City, and Branscum, the lead MICT instructor at Cowley’s Winfield Allied Health Center, will receive the awards during NISOD’s annual International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence May 28-31.

“The two are very deserving for the award of teaching excellence,” Cowley College Vice President Sheree Utash said. “The standard they set in the class room and to their students is outstanding.”

Butler has worked full time at Cowley since Jan. 2003. He said receiving the award will be a humbling experience.

“I was surprised to receive the honor, but certainly appreciate it,” Butler said.

Branscum began her Cowley teaching career as an adjunct instructor in 1994. She became full time in 2000. Branscum did not expect to receive the award.

“I was very surprised, very overwhelmed,” Branscum said. “I just assumed my work would go unnoticed.”

Branscum also works part time for the Winfield and Sedgwick County Emergency Medical Services. She uses her field experiences in her teaching.

“Because it is a technical program there is a difference between what they teach in a book and what you see on the job,” Branscum said.

Butler also learned valuable experience that he has applied to his teaching by previously working as a vocational agriculture instructor at the high school level, managing a breeding stock swine farm in Missouri, working for a commercial hog farmer, starting his own seed stock business, and working for Total Refinery, Conoco, and Boeing.

“I have got a pretty diverse background,” Butler said. “I try and relate as much of the curriculum to real life as I can.”

Butler said seeing the students he teaches have success after Cowley is the most satisfying to him.

“When you see somebody acquire a certificate and the skill to go along with it, and they can go out and get a good job, to know you had a little bit to do with it is a great feeling,” Butler said.

Branscum also enjoys seeing her former students succeed.

“It’s neat to see them get employed and move up the ranks,” Branscum said. “I have actually had a chance to work with some of them.”