This past weekend, our college had the opportunity to host our annual College of Health and Human Services’ Awards Banquet, at the Knicely Conference Center in Bowling Green, KY. This awards ceremony celebrates and acknowledges the accomplishments of our students, faculty, staff and community. It truly is the culmination of the year-long academic pursuits of our college, and that of which drives the success of the CHHS and the pursuit of our mission: to inspire the discovery and application of knowledge in health and human services.
We had the privilege to honor over 80 students, eight faculty and staff members, as well the recipient of this year’s “CHHS Hall of Fame” award. The banquet began with dinner and a lovely violin and viola accompaniment provided by internationally renowned musicians—-Dr. Ching-Yi Lin and Andrew Braddock from the WKU Strings Program. Following the dinner and the presentation of our student awards, we acknowledged the following faculty and staff for their contributions to the CHHS for the 2016-2017 academic year:
- Faculty Excellence in Teaching – Dr. Ron Ramsing, Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport
- Faculty Excellence in Research/Creativity – Dr. Jill Maples, Exercise Science
- Faculty Excellence in Student Advisement – Dr. Amanda Funk, Exercise Science
- Faculty Excellence in Public Service – Dr. Gayle Mallinger, Social Work
- Outstanding Part Time Faculty Award- Charles “Mac” Cann, Public Health & Edward Sweeney, Communications Sciences and Disorders
- CHHS Outstanding Staff Award – Judy English, CHHS Dean’s Office
- Staff Advisor/Student Services Support Award – Austin Griffiths, Social Work
It was also my honor to present our CHHS Hall of Fame award to Mr. Kenneth Holland, Director of Operations for GoodWorks Unlimited, LLC. Mr. Holland has successfully operated nursing homes, continuing care retirement communities; freestanding assisted living properties, memory care locations and has served in multi-facility operations. Mr. Holland has been a tremendous support to our students, provides financial support when needed, connects students with other industry leaders, and works to increase involvement of his own organization (GoodWorks Unlimited, LLC). He has a contagious excitement about this profession and a strong desire to prepare students as future leaders in long-term care.
“He is an outstanding example of quality education and preparation within our college for future leaders in health care organizations,” stated WKU Associate Professor, Masters of Health Care Administration Director William Mkanta. “He has also shown continued support and tremendous enthusiasm for WKU’s Health Care Administration program.”
Mr. Holland currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Health Care Administration major at WKU. He holds a degree in Health Care Administration from WKU, and also served as a preceptor for students from Auburn University, WKU, St. Petersburg Community College and Meharry Medical College. It was an honor and a delight to not only present this well-deserved award to Mr. Holland, but to also meet and visit with his family.
Just as with the Holland family, I was delighted to see over 250 guests accompany our awardees at this highly touted event. From personal experience as a student, a graduate student, researcher, faculty member, and now as an administrator, if not for my own support system and mentors, I may have not persevered through some of the adversity and challenges I faced. Many of our student awardees shared some of the adversity they faced: first-generation college student, holding a full-time job, raising families, giving birth to a child, traveling abroad for research endeavors, or pursuing doctorate positions. Through this adversity, they still managed to earn great academic accolades, a victory in itself.
“That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.”— Abraham Lincoln
I just completed two years serving as Dean of the CHHS. There have been so many rewarding experiences in this short amount of time. Looking back, our noble seed-planting efforts are bearing much fruit in the present. Great things are happening in our college, as was seen at the awards banquet this past weekend. Strategy and planning drive our success. When I began my role as Dean, I worked at developing a strategic plan that would not only align with our university’s vision, but one that would also cast our vision, with direct action items, to position ourselves to be leaders in the field through our unique strengths, team based interests, individual, collaborative and collective efforts. I encourage you to read through our CHHS Strategic Plan , a plan that aims to advance practice, instruction, research, and service of health and human services in CHHS. As noted in the plan, our intent is to make the CHHS the college of choice for highly capable and motivated students from the Commonwealth of Kentucky and beyond. We are well on our way!