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Press Release



June 3, 2011

Cowley employees attend NISOD Conference in Texas


NISOD ConferenceCowley College instructors Joe Clasen and Amy McWhirt recently received Excellence Awards from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development in Austin, Texas.

Clasen has worked at Cowley since 2007 and serves as the director of the Nondestructive Testing program, and McWhirt, who serves as Cowley College’s Director of Academic Preparation and an instructor in the Humanities Department, received the awards during NISOD’s annual International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence held May 29-June 1.

Along with NDT classes, Clasen also teaches courses in Technical Math, Industrial Materials and Blueprint Reading. He has brought the NDT field into the online setting and helped create the world’s first NDT associate degree program.

Clasen, who previously attended the NISOD Conference in 2009, was humbled to receive the award.
The conference had hundreds of breakout sessions, which made it easy for those attending to find something they were interested in learning about.     

“I learned a lot from attending the seminars and brought a lot of information back that I can utilize in the classroom,” Clasen said.

Along with being an academic advisor, Clasen is also a SkillsUSA advisor and a member of the American Society of Nondestructive Testing.

McWhirt has spent the past seven years at Cowley where she teaches beginning Spanish and Basic English writing courses. As the Director of Academic Preparation, she is responsible for providing support to adjunct instructors and ensuring that the curriculum the school uses in its developmental English courses is the most effective for students.

McWhirt has been a presenter at the NISOD and NADE conferences, and has served on several committees at Cowley. She currently serves as a member of the AQIP Steering Committee, Multi-Cultural Scholars Program Advisory Committee, chair of the AQIP Category 1 writing team, and co-directs the Multi-Cultural Scholars Mentoring Program.

She also serves as an academic advisor and serves 10 to 15 students each semester.  

Marlys Cervantes, Humanities Department Chair; Meg Smith, director of journalism; Mark Flickinger, art instructor; Slade Griffiths, vice president of academic affairs; and president Dr. Patrick J. McAtee also attended the conference.

In 2009, Flickinger decided to take a sabbatical from his teaching position at Cowley and explore personal and professional growth. During the NISOD Conference, Flickinger and Griffiths gave a presentation entitled “The Sabbatical, Making it Count for Faculty and Institution”.

During the presentation, Flickinger spoke of how the sabbatical helped re-inspire him and his passion for teaching.