Endowed Faculty Chairs

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A Note From our President

“The great work and devotion shown to our students by our faculty is truly inspiring. The faculty exhibit a dedication to learning that is unparalleled in terms of passion and enthusiasm both inside as well as outside the classroom.

The Endowed Faculty Chair awards are an important part of how we continue to strive to make this college the greatest institution it can be. By supporting our faculty, this incredible program will help drive teaching, learning, and, ultimately, innovation at Kirkwood well into the future.”

~ Dr. Lori Sundberg, President


What are the Endowed Faculty Chair Awards?

The Endowed Faculty Chair awards were initiated to honor retiring President Dr. Norm Nielsen in December 2004. Endowed Faculty Chairs provide an opportunity for selected faculty to undertake professional development projects in their disciplines or in instructional pedagogy through writing, preparing, and presenting a special lecture, conducting research, or pursuing other opportunities.

The emphasis is on personal and professional growth and is separate from assigned duties, routine work, or service to the department.

The goals for the Endowed Faculty Chair program are to:

  • Encourage faculty to pursue educational challenges with creativity and innovation
  • Promote academic quality by supporting faculty commitment to educational and pedagogical excellence
  • Promote the college’s name in connection with educational excellence
  • Bring community leaders and faculty together in a commitment to excellence in education

The Endowed Faculty Chair program is a major effort by the Kirkwood Board of Trustees and the Kirkwood Foundation Board to demonstrate their commitment to quality instruction by recognizing and fostering instructional excellence and lifelong learning.


2021-22 Endowed Faculty Chair Award Winners

Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Endowed Chair

Dr. Alissa R. KingDr. Alissa R. King

“Exhale: Exploring Trauma, Technology, and the MindBody Connection”
Associate Professor | Sociology, Social Science

With today’s turbulent and unpredictable culture, humans are relentlessly bombarded by real and perceived threats. As a result, our systems are on high alert. Stored trauma and chronic stress have serious physical, emotional, and mental implications. What helps reduce the trauma response is connection with others; however, it becomes easier to detach, self-isolate, and distract ourselves with the very things that contribute to our feelings of dread – social media, devices, and disconnected “alone together” behavior. This project explores the literature, viewed through a sociological lens, to dissect the following topics: neuroscience, connection/community, trauma/fear/stress/anxiety, technology, and the mindbody connection. Humans have the miraculous capacity to heal; therefore, the proposed outcome of this project is to contribute to the resurgence of community and collective healing at Kirkwood Community College by providing practical deliverables, workshops, and resources that faculty can integrate into their classrooms as tools of resilience.

Kirkwood Endowed Faculty Chair

Elizabeth BaertleinElizabeth Baertlein

“Expanding Access: Developing an Open-Access Writing Textbook for Linguistically Diverse Immigrant Students at Community College”
Assistant Professor | ELA, Global Learning

Recent conversations around issues of racial and socioeconomic justice in education have grappled with how to create more access and equity for minoritized and marginalized students within our educational institutions. Open educational resources (OERs), as an alternative to costly textbooks from traditional publishers, present one way of promoting access and equity in education. For this project, the awardee created and published the first three chapters of an open-access textbook for multilingual adult immigrants in a developmental academic writing course at a community college. By creating an OER, the awardee was able to not only increase accessibility for students but also tailor the content of the book to be culturally relevant, inspire critical thinking about language use, and demonstrate the value of all varieties of English students encounter and use in their lives—elements that are often missing in traditionally published English language teaching materials.

Kirkwood Endowed Faculty Chair

Dr. Peter JauhiainenDr. Peter Jauhiainen

“White Christian Nationalism and the Future of American Democracy”
Professor | Religion, Arts and Humanities

The presidency of Donald Trump and its aftermath have revealed the pervasive hold of “White Christian Nationalism” (WCN) on large segments of the American population. WCN is an authoritarian ethno-religious ideology, cultural framework and political vision that promotes a fusion of American identity with a particular strain of conservative Christianity. It alleges that the United States has been divinely chosen for a special purpose in the world, and that God’s continued blessings on the nation depend on maintaining a particular social order with clear boundaries. Those most committed to this ideology demonstrate strong preferences for white supremacy, Christian dominance of institutions, immigration restrictions, patriarchy, hyper-masculine leaders, militarism, and traditional notions of sexuality and gender. Recently, Christian nationalists have resorted to authoritarian and even violent tactics to carry out their agenda—even attempting to overturn a legitimate presidential election—and represent a serious threat to pluralistic, multiracial American democracy.

Kirkwood Endowed Faculty Chair

Laurie SimmonsLaurie Simmons

“Impact of Instructor-led Supplemental Instruction on Student Success and Retention at a Community College”
Professor | Nursing

Supplemental instruction has existed since 1973. Traditional supplemental instruction (SI) is a peer-led academic resource, offered to students enrolled in a rigorous course that focuses on high-risk courses (Congos & Schoeps, 1993). Data shows that SI increases student success, retention, and graduation rates from multiple studies. However, there is little research on the use of instructor-led SI and how it affects student success and retention. Research was conducted from collecting retrieved data within the nursing department database. The research focused on number of SI sessions a student attended, exam performance, and course grade. Multiple methods of data analysis were used to compare different variables. Overall, it was found that instructor-led supplemental instruction had a positive effect on student performance.

Kirkwood Endowed Faculty Chair

Jim Trepka

“Smart Grid Open Educational Resources (OER)”Jim Trepka
Professor | Electronic Engineering, Industrial Technologies

From the inception of AC electricity in late 19th century, the US electric grid grew in a one directional manner: energy was generated by the utility and consumed by businesses and homes whose usage was monitored once a month for billing purposes. A smart grid is a range of technologies that allow for more complex interactions between the utility and consumer. Some of these interactions include better monitoring of energy generation, transmission, and usage so that a utility can better predict demand, pin point outages, and serve its customers. In addition, a smart grid allows for better integration of consumer generated power such as solar panels or turbines. OER materials geared toward community college students on this subject are minimal. My endowed chair project involved developing OER materials for smart grid technologies and publishing them on OER depositories.

2022-23 Endowed Faculty Chair Recipients/Donors

Jacki Brucher Moore

"Speaking for Success: Developing Best Practices in Instruction, Assessment and Support of Public Speaking at Kirkwood"
Professor, Communication Studies
Communication, English, and Media

Lisa Hebl

"Update Dental Hygiene Clinic Instrumentation Videos"
Professor, Dental Hygiene
Allied Health

Randy Ackman

"Hematology Atlas"
Professor, Animal Health Technology
Agricultural Science

Dr. Chris McCord

"Conspiracy Theories and Red Flags"
Professor, Philosophy
Arts and Humanities

Kevin Shroth

"Stand Up Comedeme: A Webcomic"
Associate Professor, Communication Studies
Communication, English, and Media, Iowa City Campus

Supported by the following Endowed Faculty Chair Donors

The Allsop Family

Diamond V

The Mansfield Trust

The Rohde Family

Ruffalo Noel Levitz

St. Luke’s Hospital/UnityPoint Health


Kirkwood Foundation

We are grateful to the Endowed Faculty Chair donors and their dedication to supporting excellence in the classroom.

For more information about creating an Endowed Faculty Chair in honor or memory of someone special, contact Jody Pellerin at 319-398-5409 or jody.pellerin@kirkwood.edu.

Kirkwood Foundation
The Kirkwood Foundation exists to bridge the gap between the needs and resources of Kirkwood Community College and its students.