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The Strategic Ohio Council for Higher Education (SOCHE) recognizes the importance of acknowledging the outstanding faculty and staff at our member institutions. Each school selected one (1) Faculty Excellence Award winner based on their institution’s criteria, with special consideration of demonstrated excellence in teaching, service, and/or scholarship. Similarly, the schools each chose one (1) Staff Excellence Award winner based on their institution’s criteria, with special consideration of demonstrated excellence in student success, service, and/or assessment. Finally, each college or university selected a winner for the Campus Impact Award, which is based on institutional selection criteria, with special consideration for performance that made a positive impact on the school or campus, as a whole. This category is open to faculty, staff, or administrators.

Below are the winners from the submitting colleges and universities, in alphabetical order by institution…

2023-2024 Excellence award WINNERS


Captain James J. Frye
Faculty Excellence Award

Instructor, Civil Engineering | Air Force Institute of Technology


An instructor in Civil Engineering at Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), Captain James J. Frye is the Faculty Excellence Award winner this year. Captain Frye built a 32-hour course focused on planning realistic and relevant training to support USAF force generation. He assembled a team of 11 subject matter experts from Air Staff, the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, and operational units to develop the Engineer Readiness Planning Course. Captain Frye authored 25 lessons which focused on utilizing Mission Command principles to develop training plans. HQ AFIMSC requested his curriculum as a baseline for other combat support communities.

“As a new UDM, I really do not get hands-on training that goes over how orders are made,” said one of his students. “This now gives me a building block to go off to create OPORDS for exercises. Another student said, “Units can hone training plans by aligning wartime task standards (WTS) to their mission essential tasks (MET). This aids unit leadership in scoping and scaling exercises with objectives that provide rigor and relevance.”

Denver L. Johnson
Campus Impact Award

Instructor and Nuclear 300 Course Manager, School of Strategic Force Studies | Air Force Institute of Technology


As an instructor and Nuclear 300 course manager in the School of Strategic Force Studies, Denver L. Johnson is the Air Force Institute of Technology Campus Impact Award winner. Identifying a decade-long concern with students achieving only an average score of 81% on the Department’s 5-day Nuclear Fundamentals Course’s post-course learning assessment, Denver introduced formative assessment, a first for Air Force nuclear professional continuing education (PCE), implementing daily quizzes to reinforce student learning. Within AY23-24, formative assessment improved student learning by 64.3% across 8 classes, the highest yearly average on record. This new effort improved student motivation and achievement while reinforcing learning and retention.

Brian D. Vicars
Staff Excellence Award

Director, Department of NC3 Studies | Air Force Institute of Technology


Brian D. Vicars is AFIT’s 2024 Staff Excellence Award winner after he developed the first-ever NC3 Orientation DL course, eliminating travel for 42 Airmen, saving 80 hours and $45K. Enabling 28 DAF/DoD talent managers, Brian satiated high education demands, balancing operational requirements while growing production 58% to 608 students annually. He also quarterbacked a $250K project, establishing a first-ever dedicated NC3 classroom and solving a multi-year headquarters problem while trailblazing an NC3 capstone event, driving student critical thought and application supporting national priorities and great power competition.


Luisa Bieri Rios
Campus Impact Award

Dean of Cooperative, Experiential, and International Education | Antioch College


This year’s Campus Impact Award winner, Luisa Bieri Rios’ leadership has catapulted Antioch College into a new era of work recognition by leading efforts to get the College successfully recognized as a Federal Work College. Luisa has been a consistent member of the faculty who strives to have a positive influence on Antioch College, every day. She is passionate about the student experience and adhering to the College’s mission of providing experiential education through a social justice lens. As Dean of the Co-op program, she leads by example and makes decisions in a thoughtful and holistic manner, ensuring they best serve students while meeting the many needs of the College. Luisa is primarily responsible for helping Antioch College achieve the Federal Work College designation, a historic event in the College’s history and one that will tremendously benefit the next generation of Antiochians.

Erica Wyant
Staff Excellence Award

C-Shop Manager and Operations Specialist, Olive Kettering Library | Antioch College


Antioch College’s Staff Excellence Award winner, Erica Wyant is the epitome of a kind and caring community member. At Antioch College, she serves as a dedicated member of Community Council, runs the Antioch C-Shop, and recently even stepped up to help the Wellness Center at the front desk when they needed coverage. However, Erica’s strength is her friendly and compassionate nature, allowing her to be seen by all on campus as a trustworthy and stand-up community member.

“Erica has always been a warm face to see on campus and one of the core members of the Olive Kettering Library and, by extension, the college itself. Her constant enthusiasm, accompanied by a healthy sense of realism, makes her one of the best people to work with and have as counsel. As she’s always willing to help others during times of need but is sure to make herself and needs known. In some way, I envy her ability to put her foot down and take initiative on what she does and doesn’t want to be involved in. For that, she deserves the utmost respect and is more than deserving of this reward.” – Student at Antioch College

Queen Zabriskie
Faculty Excellence Award

Acting Director and Resident Fellow of the Coretta Scott King Center, Visiting Associate Professor of the Social Sciences | Antioch College


Named the 2024 Antioch College Faculty Excellence Award winner, Queen Zabriskie has made a big impression in a short period of time. The fact the Queen has been with Antioch College for just under a year and had so many community members call for her to receive this award is a clear testimony to the impact she has had on the entire campus. One of the things Antioch appreciates the most about Queen is her clear demonstration of campus-wide community care and creation of welcoming and inclusive spaces for marginalized students. One student said, “She is a great leader and taught me many great things,” and another said, “Queen has been here less than a year yet made a huge impact on the college.”


Tom Betcher
Staff Excellence Award

Director of Assessment and Accreditation Services | Cedarville University


Tom Betcher, Director of Assessment and Accreditation Services at Cedarville University, is this year’s Staff Excellence Award winner. Tom has been dedicated to supporting the entire Academic Division as they work through the processes required for accreditation. He understands both the general (HLC) and program-specific (i.e. ABET) accreditation criteria and moves faculty towards completion of documents that are critical for proper assessment of programs. Students don’t always have the privilege to interact with Tom in his role, but since he also acts as the campus liaison for the ROTC programs on campus, every Air Force and Army ROTC student benefits from his interactions with the cadre commanders at Central State and Wright State universities.

Rodney Johnson
Campus Impact Award

Associate Vice President of Operations | Cedarville University


Cedarville University’s Campus Impact Award winner this year, Rod Johnson has worked tirelessly to grow the campus and provide a safe and healthy learning environment for all students. Under his leadership as Associate Vice President of Operations, the campus is in stellar condition, both in what is seen and what is unseen. Vendors and visitors comment that the campus is beautiful, all the buildings look new, even though many are well-aged. He has a direct impact on the development of new housing, dining options, academic space, outdoor living areas, and athletic facilities. Rod’s projects are always on schedule and on budget. No one on campus does more to directly impact the CU student experience.

Dr. J. Michael McKay
Faculty Excellence Award

Associate Professor of Biblical Theology, School of Biblical and Theological Studies | Cedarville University


This year’s Faculty Excellence Award winner for Cedarville University, Dr. J. Michael McKay receives exceptional student evaluations at all levels of teaching, including freshman-level to masters-level classes and four out of the five Bible Minor courses. He serves on university-wide sub-committees and is the Director of Online Graduate Bible Programs. As a scholar, he presents at professional societies, both regionally and nationally. This past year, he published two articles in internationally recognized journals, and he is currently working on another book project.

Students consistently comment on the clarity of Dr. McKay’s teaching and course design. In addition to students in the classroom, his New Testament Literature class is available online through the Bible Minor Project. The institution regularly receives comments about how this class is used effectively in local churches and for personal study. Dr. McKay consistently receives teaching evaluations exceeding 4.7/5.0, with class sizes ranging from 15 to 170 students.


Kandice Lamar
Campus Impact Award

Reading Specialist, Office of Academic and Instructional Services | Central State University


Named this year’s Campus Impact Award winner, Kandice Lamar has demonstrated leadership, dedication, sacrifice, and commitment to the students at Central State University. As a learning specialist, she helps to enhance students’ comprehension and literacy skills. She is an adjunct instructor for the Undergraduate Success Skills courses and works with students who are on academic probation. Kandice is advisor for two organizations: CROWN’D and Womanhood Wednesday — both organizations cater to helping young women at Central State University.

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LaShawn Shepherd
Staff Excellence Award

Student Success Coach, Student Access and Retention Center | Central State University


The 2024 Staff Excellence Award winner for Central State University, LaShawn Shepherd has demonstrated excellence in her service to the students of CSU. She has done exceptional work as an Academic Advisor in the Student Access and Retention Center. As a graduate of Central State University and former STEM major, she understands and connects with the STEM students she now assists in advising. It is evident in her work and interactions that she wants to see her students succeed.

Jennifer Turpin-Stanfield
Campus Impact Award

Assistant Professor Recreation/Exercise Science; Department of Health, PE, and Recreation | Central State University


Assistant Professor of Recreation/Exercise Science at Central State University, Jennifer Turpin-Stanfield was selected for this year’s Faculty Excellence Award because she has demonstrated excellence across teaching, research, and service. Through her professional and community services, Jennifer has taught yoga to diverse audiences across local, state, and national levels. She demonstrates her dedication to the students by utilizing a high-quality curriculum and innovative teaching methods. Recently, Jennifer acquired funding to support open access materials in the classroom. Moreover, she was funded to study physical activity and behavior in black women.

Cincinnati State Technical & Community College

Tom Hale
Staff Excellence Award

Director, Middletown Campus | Cincinnati State Technical & Community College


Cincinnati State values Tom Hale’s long-term commitment to SOCHE and in various positions within the college, naming him as Staff Excellence Award winner for 2024. As a graduate of Cincinnati State, he has made it his mission to make the college a welcoming place for everyone. Tom is a great collaborator. The best example is Cincinnati State’s move to the Miami Middletown Campus. This would not have been possible without the planning, organization, collaboration, and commitment to their communities. He is well deserving of this award of excellence.

Kelly Hubbard
Faculty Excellence Award

Program Chair and Professor, Early Childhood Education Department | Cincinnati State Technical & Community College


Cincinnati State’s Faculty Excellence Award winner, Kelly Hubbard is chair and professor for the Early Childhood Education department. Kelly has gone above and beyond to bring attention to the endeavors and needs of the program and the education community by encouraging Cincinnati State students and teaming up with community partners. Kelly works directly with students to ensure they are supported academically; she also directs them to the services they need to be successful. In addition, Kelly is a leader in setting policies to benefit learning and student retention. One example of her work is the collaboration with the Leading Men Fellowship program, which encourages men of color to pursue careers in early childhood education and establishes lab site partnerships with community agencies for Clifton and Middletown students.


Pamela Ball
Faculty Excellence Award

Professor & Management Program Coordinator, School of Business and Applied Technologies | Clark State College


Clark State College recognizes Pamela Ball with this year’s Faculty Excellence Award. A consummate team player, Pam is a member of the Flipped Focus Group, the Achieving the Dream Strategy Team towards completion, the Resource Management Committee, the Faculty Mentoring Program, and the Center for Teaching and Learning Faculty Success Academy. She earned a certificate in Effective College Instruction through ACUE. She truly cares about student success and implements high impact practices in courses such as regular touch-base meetings and systematic messaging for course transparency.

Students say, “Pamela Ball is always responsive, and she makes sure to keep us all updated. I feel that I have learned a lot from her and the assignments. She keeps us all involved, and she gives us feedback for everything we submit, not just normal feedback like ‘great job’ or ‘nicely done.’ She responds in full sentences and highlights certain things we say, which is really refreshing.”

Dr. Adam Parillo
Campus Impact Award

Dean, School of Business and Applied Technologies | Clark State College


As Dean of the School of Business and Applied Technologies, Dr Adam Parillo is Clark State College’s 2024 Campus Impact Award winner. Dr. Parrillo excels at cross-campus relationships that benefit students and is respected for his willingness to try new things, thoughtfully planning to ensure the success of initiatives. He is a great partner with schools, business and industry, and community. Dr. Parrillo has advanced the stackable credential model across many programs, giving students flexible options. He values faculty and staff across campus and supports students by engaging in projects that provide direct resources, such as grants and collaborations.

Diana Seaman
Staff Excellence Award

Registrar, Enrollment Services | Clark State College


Clark State has named Registrar Diana Seaman as the school’s Staff Excellence Award winner for 2024. As registrar, Diana leads all things Records and Registration and ensures that commencement is a professional, collegial, and student-centered event. When process changes are proposed at the institution that will impact Records and Registration, she works diligently to understand how to implement those changes with the least disruption to students. She also oversees veteran student services and is a major factor in Clark State being named the Number 1 Military Friendly School for small community colleges.


Terry Calvert
Faculty Excellence Award

Professor of Mathematics, Department of Arts & Sciences | Edison State Community College


Named Edison State Community College’s Faculty Excellence Award winner, Mathematics Professor Terry Calvert is an exemplary faculty member who is dedicated to students and to their success inside and outside the classroom. She demonstrates a student-focused approach in all she does for the college. She volunteers on various committees and supports the college through attendance and participation in different college events. Professor Calvert is committed and dedicated to helping students overcome challenges with learning mathematics. Her students say, “Mrs. Calvert is a great professor. She’s always reminding us that she’s open to questions and is always available to help, and “She is very willing to help students, and makes herself available outside of class for any questions.”

Brandi Olberding
Staff Excellence Award

Assistant Dean of Workforce Development & Work-Based Learning | Edison State Community College


Assistant Dean of Workforce Development and Work-Based Learning Brandi Olberding has been named Edison State Community College’s Staff Excellence Award winner for 2024. Brandi exhibits exceptional poise and leadership in all she does for the college, the students, and the school’s business and industry partners. She works tirelessly with her team to provide the right mix of training for continuing education classes, for-credit classes, and professional development opportunities for the region’s employers. She collaborates with the academic teams to provide opportunities for apprenticeships and support for grants. Brandi supports her team and works hard to ensure a strong reputation for academic and continuing education.


Ryan Brainerd
Campus Impact Award

I.T. Enterprise Architect | Franklin University


Ryan Brainerd, I.T. Enterprise Architect at Franklin University, is the school’s Campus Impact Award winner for this year. Ryan has led the effort to develop a service-oriented architecture (SOA) that facilitates rapid feature development and promotes reuse. This initiative has allowed the University to quickly deliver new portal features to diverse users and seamlessly integrate with various educational technology platforms. Collaborating with colleagues, Ryan has leveraged enterprise systems and data to provide impactful features that empower students, faculty, and staff. Ryan’s exceptional skills, expertise, and customer-centric approach have significantly enhanced the University’s capabilities.

Dr. JoAnn Jordan
Faculty Excellence Award

Department Chair, Allied Healthcare, College of Health & Public Administration | Franklin University


As the department chair for Allied Healthcare, Dr. JoAnn Jordan has made significant contributions to Franklin University over her 10-year tenure, particularly in health-related academic programs. She has led program launches, attained accreditation for initiatives, and excelled in overseeing health programs. Dr. Jordan prioritizes excellence and innovation, notably guiding efforts in prior learning assessment to recognize student experiences. She pioneered an Associate Degree in Health Services, aligned with industry standards, which has been beneficial to both students and healthcare partners nationwide. Her visionary educational approach has enhanced student success and positively impacted the healthcare industry. Dr. Jordan’s leadership, dedication, and focus on student achievement truly sets her apart as an outstanding professional in the field of higher education.

Lea Mederer
Staff Excellence Award

Director of Financial Aid | Franklin University


Named Franklin University’s Staff Excellence Award winner, Director of Financial Aid Lea Mederer is deeply committed to ensuring that financial aid processes are efficient, transparent, and student-centered. Lea has led Franklin’s efforts to work through the significant FAFSA challenges this year and has managed a 23% increase in disbursement funding over the prior year. In addition, Lea leads her team to constantly seek ways to improve financial aid processes and services. She is proactive in collecting and analyzing data to evaluate the effectiveness of financial aid programs and initiatives. These efforts have led to the implementation of innovative strategies that have enhanced the Franklin student experience around delivery of financial aid.


Mia Pomales
Campus Impact Award

Instructional Technologist, KC Information Technology | Kettering College


As Instructional Technologist for Kettering College, Mia Pomales was selected as Campus Impact Award winner because she provides outstanding instruction and guidance for our digital learning resources at the school. This year, Mia led in the development and delivery of a professional development series to institutional faculty, utilizing new and emerging digital instruction technologies and approaches. Her stepping into a dynamic landscape at KC to deliver valuable resources to faculty and students was tremendously impactful this year.

Cathy Roth
Staff Excellence Award

Office Assistant,  Division of Science & Mathematics | Kettering College


Cathy Roth, Office Assistant in the Division of Science and Mathematics at Kettering College, has been selected as the institution’s Staff Excellence Award winner for 2024. Cathy is considered a hero among the support staff at Kettering College, supporting multiple departments with day-to-day management and urgent requests. She serves students, faculty and staff with excellence, compassion, and good cheer. Colleagues say, “We would be lost without her! “

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Dan Schoun
Faculty Excellence Award

Associate Professor,  Division of Science & Mathematics | Kettering College


Chosen as Kettering College’s Faculty Excellence Award winner, Associate Professor Dan Schoun has contributed to the school’s math and science instruction for more than twenty years. More recently, he led the institutional academic advising program and managed their early alert system, helping identify students who were at risk of falling behind.


Britt Cole
Faculty Excellence Award

Associate Professor of Nursing | Miami University Regionals


The Faculty Excellence Award winner for Miami University Regionals this year, Associate Professor of Nursing Britt Cole excels in her expertise in pediatric nursing, as well as her commitment to student success and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). In her classes, Britt is shaping the next generation of nurses; she skillfully flips the traditional classroom to engage students in active learning that fosters deeper understanding, critical thinking, and collaborative problem-solving. Britt works to continually enhance her teaching practices through professional development and SoTL, all while working toward her Doctor of Nursing Practice. Former student Tristen Evans BSN, RN states: “Though I learned a great deal about pediatric nursing, and nursing as a whole, from Professor Cole, I also learned a lot from her as a professional and as a peer. I admire her tenacity and commitment to strive for better learning and student success. She not only provides the learning tools, but also provides the encouragement and positive attitude that students need. Professor Cole has been a big influence on my career and the type of nurse that I am today. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from her, and I look up to her as an educator, as a nurse and as a leader.”

Erica Crawford
Staff Excellence Award

Interim Director, E-Campus | Miami University Regionals


Erica Crawford, the Staff Excellence Award winner at Miami University Regionals, led the Miami Regionals E-Campus department through significant change with stability and positivity. As a student-centered leader, Erica has strengthened the E-Campus department by streamlining processes benefiting the campus community. In addition to her director role, Erica chairs the Regional Staff Forum committee and offers Mental Health First Aid training, which results in improved communication among staff and preparedness for rising mental health concerns in our society.

Alicia Justice
Campus Impact Award

Director of Dual Credit Program | Miami University Regionals


The 2024 Campus Impact Award winner at Miami University Regionals, Alicia Justice leads the Dual Credit Programs at the Miami University Regional campuses, including the expansion of the Early College Academy. In her role, she builds relationships with stakeholders within Miami University, as well as with school districts across southwest Ohio. Through her leadership, participation in dual credit programs has increased on all campuses. Whether it’s innovating new programs or providing individualized support, Alicia shows commitment to the students and campus community, day-in and day-out.

Shawnee State University

Desiree Isaac, Esq.
Campus Impact Award

Assistant General Counsel and Title IX Coordinator | Shawnee State University


Assistant General Counsel at Shawnee State University, Desiree Isaac has been named the institution’s Campus Impact Award winner for 2024. As Title IX coordinator, Desiree has created a safe space for people reporting sex discrimination or harassment. In addition, Desiree has assembled and trained a team of investigators, advocates, hearing officers, and decision-makers to ensure that such reports are addressed appropriately. Working with several off-campus stakeholders, she also has created a community-wide sexual assault response team. In addition to her Title IX duties, she oversees some campus labor negotiations, facilitating open communication across parties.

Dr. Jason Lovins
Faculty Excellence Award

Associate Professor of Marketing, C.H. Lute School of Business | Shawnee State University


Dr. Jason Lovins, Associate Professor of Marketing at Shawnee State University, has been chosen as the school’s Faculty Excellence Award winner this year. Dr. Lovins consistently receives outstanding course evaluations, and marketing program alumni regularly express appreciation for his mentorship and professional guidance. Several alumni have directly credited him with the preparation necessary for placement in early-career positions. He brings experiential learning into his courses through “agency projects” that bring together students and local business leaders to solve problems and/or create strategies for success. These projects have been uniformly praised by students, alumni, and the business community. Student Tori Donini said, “Throughout my time in the marketing degree program, Jason Lovins has consistently demonstrated qualities that extend far beyond the traditional scope of a professor’s responsibilities. From the moment students enter the program, Jason takes the initiative to meticulously map out their entire college career, considering their individual academic, financial, and personal needs. Such initiative ensures that students receive individualized guidance and support, setting them up for success in their academic and personal pursuits.”

Dr. Austin Raines
Staff Excellence Award

Associate Director of Career Services | Shawnee State University


Associate Director of Career Services Dr. Austin Raines is Shawnee State University’s Staff Excellence Award winner for 2024. Dr. Raines provides a wide range of resources and support through the Career Services office. He hosts one-on-one mock interview sessions, career and major exploration services, career fairs, résumé reviews and more. He also serves as a mentor for first-generation students. Drawing on his education in social work, he brings empathy to his work and is known for his efforts to support students holistically, ensuring their access to the resources they need to succeed. One student, Todd Eichenlaub, said, “Dr. Austin Raines has gone above and beyond in helping me with any questions or concerns that I have had during my two years so far at Shawnee State University. He has always been able to make time for me despite his busy schedule. I feel that my college experience has been enhanced by our academic interactions.”


Kerri Bentjen
Faculty Excellence Award

Assistant Professor of Mathematics | Sinclair Community College


As Sinclair College’s 2024 Faculty Excellence Award winner, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Kerri Bentjen is currently the Principal Investigator for the NSF grant, “Engineering & Science Integration in Mathematics.” The grant team has developed lab activities for College Algebra, Trigonometry, and Calculus. The labs, developed in collaboration with faculty in the Engineering and Physics departments, use robots to engage students in active learning experiences. One student said, “Her enthusiasm for mathematics is contagious, and her kindness and intelligence have continued to be an inspiration to me, and others, outside of her classroom.”

Kelsey Whipp
Staff Excellence Award

Program Director, Sinclair Conference Center | Sinclair Community College


Kelsey Whipp, Program Director of the Sinclair Conference Center at Sinclair Community College, has been chosen as the school’s Staff Excellence Award winner this year. Kelsey has been leading the charge on business development opportunities for the Conference Center at Sinclair’s Centerville campus, increasing access for students and the community. These activities are enabling more individuals to familiarize themselves with the academic program offerings available at this location, as well as the other amenities and opportunities open to the community-at-large. She consistently goes above and beyond to demonstrate professional, innovative, extraordinary, customer-focused, and exceptional performance.


Lauri Bolitho
Staff Excellence Award

Admissions Specialist, Student Affairs | Southern State Community College


Named Southern State Community College’s Staff Excellence Award winner, Lauri Bolitho is receiving the Staff Excellence Award this year for her management and leadership of SSCC’s College Credit Plus (CCP) program with multiple high schools. She receives high praise from partnering high schools for her efficiency. Lauri truly has a heart for serving SSCC’s CCP partners, students, and others.

Charlie Gorman
Faculty Excellence Award

Adjunct Professor, Department of Human and Social Services | Southern State Community College


Adjunct professor Charlie Gorman is Southern State Community College’s Faculty Excellence Award winner for 2024. Charlie’s role as outstanding faculty in SSCC’s Human and Social Services Program started in 1998. After recently retiring from full-time faculty, which he considered to be his dream job, he continues to teach and assist the college with various projects. Charlie’s life work has been in the helping professions, serving as a chemical dependency counselor, pastoral counselor, professor, mental health clinician, crisis counselor, clinical supervisor, and executive director for a combined total of 50 years of service. One of his students said, “Mr. Gorman is an amazing professor. He cares about his students, has a passion for helping people, and has a vast understanding of the social services area.”

Loren O'Cull
Campus Impact Award

Facilities Manager,  Maintenance Department | Southern State Community College


Facilities manager at Southern State Community College, Loren O’Cull has been selected to receive the 2024 Campus Impact Award. Loren was chosen for this award due to his management and leadership of several campus facility projects this year, including exterior door replacement, bathroom renovation, new outdoor lighting, improving efficiency, and generally creating a good working environment for all. Loren has had a great impact on the SSCC campus and has led significant improvements enjoyed by students and employees alike. Loren’s leadership and professionalism have profoundly impacted the Facilities Department. His calm, competent demeanor, steady direction, and customer-focused mindset provide an inviting and dependable atmosphere that everyone notices. Loren always goes above and beyond on any task or project. His influence sets the expectation of excellence, putting others on notice and requiring them to bring their best.


Dr. James J. Kellaris
Faculty Excellence Award

James S. Womack / Gemini Chair of Signage and Visual Marketing Department of Marketing Professor | University of Cincinnati


This year’s Faculty Excellence Award winner, James Kellaris, PhD, Womack/Gemini professor in the Lindner College of Business, transitioned from a professional musical career to University of Cincinnati faculty in 1989. His research spans music’s influences on consumers, marketing ethics, and ethical decision-making. Notably, his work on the “earworm” phenomenon led to the term’s inclusion in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. As a Lindner Teaching Fellow, Dr. Kellaris introduced ethics into the marketing curriculum, earning the EXCEL and Dornoff awards. Dr. Kellaris has taught as a visiting professor and lectured at schools around the world. He is an internationally award-winning composer of contemporary classical music and has served residencies with orchestras and chamber ensembles in Italy, Spain, Australia, Canada, and the US.

Dr. Kellaris was a pioneer in online teaching, and was UC’s go-to when COVID-19 thrust them into remote learning. His pedagogical research includes American Marketing Association’s Marketing News publications focused on “the elephant in the room,” student boredom, the Journal of Biblical Integration in Business, and the Marketing Education Review. He is known for teaching behavioral principles using colorful experiments, with humor valued by his students – a feature he labels “edutainment.” His past students number in the thousands, their appreciation is clear. His teaching evaluations are consistently among the highest in the college.

Shaymaa A. Minkara
Staff Excellence Award

Program Manager, Graduate College | University of Cincinnati


The University of Cincinnati’s Staff Excellence Award winner, Program Manager of Graduation Shaymaa Minkara coordinates the successful graduation of hundreds of graduate students each semester. She has championed a student- and program-centered waiver process, as she clearly communicates graduation deadlines and supports completion of graduation applications. Shaymaa has conducted trainings for graduate directors and is currently working with Student Affairs to innovate in the commencement ceremony space. She is an invaluable member of the commencement team who coordinates critical elements of the commencement process. She has committed her life to that which is important to her – diversity, building community, and a genuine concern for humanity.

Emilee Suchomski, Director of Admissions, noted, “Shaymaa is one of my favorite people on campus to work with. She is an incredibly kind and helpful person, and she never takes an offer of help for granted. I help out with commencement every semester not because I have to, but because I love working with Shaymaa so much. She puts 110% into everything she does and is an asset to this university.” Amanda Carlisle, Program Manager in CECH, said, “Shaymaa has been so helpful in answering questions from our students (and me!). She is knowledgeable and kind and a pleasure to work with.”


Merida Allen
Staff Excellence Award

Associate Dean and Executive Director of the Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center | University of Dayton


Merida Allen, Associate Dean and Executive Director of the Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center, is the University of Dayton’s 2025 Staff Excellence Award winner. Merida works at the tip of the spear, involving the hard-complex work of diversity, equity, and inclusion for all students. Demonstrating our Commitment to Community, she knows the work is done best in community, partnering with parents, enrollment management, ODI, ECO, GIA, campus ministry, and academic departments. Each area can speak to her impact and the importance of her involvement. She is on the ground, rolling her sleeves up, meeting with campus partners, her team and students, all the while creating the direction and vision for MEC in the academy. She is currently lead co-chair of the university-wide Institutional Bias Related Advisory Committee. She is ushering this cross-campus committee through change and decision-making blocks to its new configuration that will serve the entire community of faculty, staff, and students.


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Daniel McCamish
Staff Excellence Award

Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Academic Affairs | Wilmington College


Director of Institutional Effectiveness Daniel McCamish is Wilmington College’s 2024 Staff Excellence Award winner. Daniel has been recognized for his comprehensive support of numerous data- and assessment-related projects during the re-affirmation of accreditation process, in addition to his regular responsibilities. Since joining the College in November 2016, Daniel has provided leadership for many of the College’s data-driven initiatives to improve institutional effectiveness, as well as considerable support for the College’s assessment efforts. These have included coordinating the College’s annual reporting processes for the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) as well as the Annual Institutional Update for the Higher Learning Commission.

Daniel’s background in information technology, where he began his career at Wilmington College, has allowed him to effectively advise and counsel numerous faculty and staff colleagues, as well as students, who are conducting their own technology-driven assessment efforts. Daniel’s impact on students, faculty, and staff at the College has been immense, and this acknowledgment is well deserved.

Alison Wells
Campus Impact Award

Accounts Payable Manager, Business Office | Wilmington College


The 2024 Wilmington College Campus Impact Award winner, Alison Wells serves as Accounts Payable Manager in the College’s Business Office. Alison received this honor for her continuous, steadfast support of essential, front-line business office functions during a period of significant staff turnover in that area.

As the sole constant staff member in the Business Office, which she joined as Accounts Payable Manager in August 2021, Alison has served as a college lynchpin this past year, ensuring continuity of numerous accounts payable, accounting, and banking-related duties. While these responsibilities are often unsung, every single employee who has used a College credit card, submitted a receipt for reimbursement, or filed a health insurance claim in the past 12 months has Alison to thank for keeping their accounts in good order.

Dr. Marta Wilkinson
Faculty Excellence Award

Professor of English | Wilmington College


Professor of English Dr. Marta Wilkinson has been named Wilmington College’s 2024 Faculty Excellence Award winner. Marta’s course design and instructional practices reflect her dedication to providing students with highly structured, scaffolded, and supportive learning experiences. She recognizes the value of keeping her courses “fresh” through modification and experimentation. Marta is deeply committed to offering her students engaging and collaborative educational opportunities. She maintains high standards and genuinely cares about helping students develop self-efficacy through academic challenges. Perhaps most notably, Marta is a very reflective educator. She thinks carefully about the framework for her course design, seeks to continuously expand upon her knowledge and skill set, and values incorporating feedback from her students. Marta is an excellent teacher, in part, because she is also an excellent lifelong learner.


Elizabeth Howe
Staff Excellence Award

Executive Assistant & Academic Administrative Coordinator, Provost’s Office | Wittenberg University


Executive Assistant and Academic Administrative Coordinator with the Provost’s Office, Elizabeth Howe is the 2024 Staff Excellence Award winner for Wittenberg University. Elizabeth models Wittenberg’s value of service, working daily to make the university a better place. She connects with a variety of members of the campus community, eliminating barriers for others by sharing, developing, and utilizing resources. As leadership changed, Elizabeth ensured a smooth transition, ensuring everyone had what they needed to do their jobs. She promotes a sense of community by treating others fairly, organizing events, and bringing people together to celebrate.

Dr. Amy McGuffey
Faculty Excellence Award

Associate Professor of Education | Wittenberg University


Associate Professor of Education for Wittenberg University, Dr. Amy McGuffey has been selected as the school’s 2024 Faculty Excellence Award winner. Dr. McGuffey fully embodies the mission and spirit of Wittenberg University through her exceptional dedication to educating and inspiring future educators. She challenges her students to grow into compassionate, creative, and responsible educators who discover their calling to serve others. Her courses and advising reflect the ethos of leading lives with integrity.

Matt West
Campus Impact Award

Director of Student Counseling, Tiger Counseling Center | Wittenberg University


Named the Wittenberg University 2024 Campus Impact Award winner, Matt West is Director of Student Counseling in the Tiger Counseling Center. He demonstrates excellence in student success by providing a safe space for students to express their concerns, emotions, and challenges. He considers students’ overall well-being, including emotional resilience and social connections. Matthew collaborates with other campus departments to ensure students receive comprehensive support. His proactive approach includes preventive measures to promote mental health awareness. He genuinely cares about students, validates their feelings, and helps them explore solutions. His compassionate approach fosters trust and healing.


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Kurt Holden
Campus Impact Award

Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety, University Police Department | Wright State University


Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety at Wright State University, Kurt Holden has been selected as the school’s Campus Impact Award winner. Kurt’s unwavering commitment to safety, community engagement, and problem-solving has significantly impacted the campus and beyond. A two-time Wright State graduate and a 15-year veteran of the University Police force, Kurt approaches police work as a means of making a positive impact. He believes that a helping hand can achieve more than handcuffs ever could. It is this empathy, fostered by his own experiences in foster care and encouraged in the officers and staff he supervises, that sets him apart. His vision for community policing and special events aligns with our university’s values, helping to create a safe and inclusive environment for all. Kurt embodies the spirit of leadership, empathy, and service, and he exemplifies the qualities of a true servant leader that every police department seeks in a Chief of Police.

Dr. Joshua Ricker
Faculty Excellence Award

Instructor of Psychology, Lake Campus Science and Mathematics | Wright State University


Dr. Joshua Ricker, Instructor of Psychology at the Lake Campus Department of Science and Mathematics, is Wright State University’s 2024 Faculty Excellence Award winner. Dr. Ricker has earned the reputation of being a student-success oriented professor. Students appreciate his guidance and his dedication in and out of the classroom and look forward to his classes. Not content simply to deliver excellent and engaging teaching in his psychology classroom, he encourages students to become more involved on campus and in the greater community. His passion is teaching, and his students’ growth is his priority.

Amanda Spencer
Staff Excellence Award

Director, University Academic Advising, Student Success Services | Wright State University


Wright State University’s 2024 Staff Excellence Award winner is Amanda Spencer. As the inaugural Director of University Academic Advising, Amanda pioneered a campus-wide program fostering persistence, retention, and academic progress. Under her leadership, she adeptly unified advisors while addressing individual unit needs, leading to streamlined university-wide processes and exceptional service. Amanda’s leadership extends beyond her team. An effective and generous collaborator, she has been elected President of the Wright State Staff Senate by her peers. With an unwavering commitment to the student success and her trademark smile, Amanda leads with diligence and grace.

Councils & Committees

SOCHE is dedicated to advancing higher education through active collaboration, resource and knowledge building, and effective professional development programs. To accomplish this, SOCHE administers 16 active Councils and Committees. The purpose of a SOCHE Council or Committee is to provide an opportunity for representatives from higher education to be a resource for one another, share information and best practices, identify common challenges, and, ultimately, broaden awareness of the resources, services, and activities in higher education. SOCHE is also dependent upon the Councils and Committees for substantial input on annual professional development programs.

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