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STLCC Faculty, Staff Receive Excellence Awards

Thursday, March 4, 2021


Excellence Award WinnersFive faculty and staff members from St. Louis Community College have been chosen to receive the 2020-21 Excellence Awards from the League for Innovation in the Community College.

The League for Innovation has been dedicated to informing, inspiring, and celebrating innovation in learning, teaching, staff development, and student success for more than 50 years. Since 2012, the league has presented Excellence Awards to outstanding faculty, staff and leaders in the community college field who have made a significant difference in the lives of students and in the communities their colleges serve. 

The STLCC recipients were Robyn Barrett, professor of accounting at Meramec; Jamie Kreher, associate professor and chair of the photography program at Forest Park; Danielle Lusk, coordinator of the student assistance program at Florissant Valley; Christopher Mahan, assistant professor of mathematics at Wildwood; and Susan Watkins, student success advisor in the academic advising office at Florissant Valley. 

The 2020-21 recipients were honored at the league’s Innovations Conference, which was conducted virtually March 1-4. 

Robyn Barrett
Barrett joined STLCC in January 2007. Prior to joining academia, she worked 15 years in the business industry, including eight years of information systems work and seven years in public accounting. In 2014, Barrett received the league’s Rouche Excellence Award for Teaching. She was named the Outstanding Accounting and Legal Studies Faculty Member at STLCC in 2017. Barrett won the Two-Year College Educator of the Year in 2017-18 from the American Accounting Association, recognizing her as an educator who demonstrates innovative and engaging teaching practices within the college accounting classroom. She has been nominated a Faculty Award at Meramec in 2020-21. 

Barrett has worked with her campus’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program for the past 14 years, serving as the coordinator for the last nine years. She is a member of several national and state accounting-related organizations. 

“I am proud to be recognized among so many other qualified faculty members,” Barrett said. “We all try to continue to creatively engage and mold our student's success,” she said after learning. Working toward this goal is why we are all here, to help the everyday, ordinary student flourish. Our encouraging practices and words can change lives.”  

Jamie Kreher
Kreher joined the Forest Park staff full time in January 2010, and was an adjunct instructor at Meramec from 2006 to 2008. 

“I was surprised, but grateful for the recognition,” she said about receiving this award.

Kreher currently serves on Forest Park’s curriculum and campus improvement committees.  She has served on several departmental and division search committees. She also has been on the facilities, division promotion, teacher of the year, international education and intercultural arts festival committees, as well as the general education council. 

Kreher received a $3,000 Artist Support Grant from the Regional Arts Commission in 2019.  She and her husband were finalists for the Great Rivers Biennial Exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis in 2020 and 2019. In 2006, Kreher earned the Excellence Award from the Society for Contemporary Photography in Kansas City, and the Solo Show Award from the Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles. 

Danielle Lusk
Lusk joined the STLCC staff in 2001 as project associate I in student affairs. After briefly leaving the College in 2004 to work for the state of Missouri, Lusk returned in 2005 as a project associate II and has continued growing in her career with STLCC. She helps expand services for students experiencing emotional, physical, academic and personal challenges. She also serves as case manager for the Campus Care Team and manages Archers’ Market. 

“I am shocked and honored for the recognition, which I just consider doing my job,” Lusk said about receiving this award. 

Lusk was instrumental in designing the Campus Care Survey Self-Referral form for students at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still in use. She has served on various committees, including the current Student Success and Equity Council and the Florissant Valley Student COVID-19 Health Response Team. Lusk was recognized as the Florissant Valley Professional Employee of the Year in 2014 and 2020.  

Christopher Mahan
Mahan joined the College in 2007 as an adjunct faculty member. In 2014, he was hired full-time at Wildwood. During his time at STLCC, Mahan has taught a variety of math courses, including pre-algebra, survey of calculus, introductory statistics, and differential equations. Since 2014, he has taught upper-level calculus courses via a live virtual lecture format to local high school students. 

“I like the process and challenge of learning a concept and trying to find the best way to explain it,” Mahan said about teaching in general. 

In his classes, Mahan often teaches students who experience math anxiety. To help these students succeed, he likes to offer strategies based on his own experiences with yoga and cognitive therapy. 

“There’s a coaching aspect to teaching, and it’s fulfilling when I’m able to break down complex concepts in such a way that students not only understand the material, but also gain the confidence they need to solve the problem on their own,” he said. 

Outside of work, Mahan enjoys spending time with his family and friends. 

Susan Watkins
Watkins began her career at STLCC as an admissions representative, and soon after became a financial aid counselor for 10 years. She has also served as an adjunct instructor. 

Watkins has served on various committees, including the Florissant Valley Institutional Affairs Committee. She is also the only academic advisor at Florissant Valley who has served on the campus’ Curriculum Committee. 

Watkins’ most rewarding experience was being the liaison advisor for the Deaf Communication Studies Interpreter Education program, in which she implemented practices of case management. 

“I work with an amazing group of academic advisors, and I share this honor with them,” Watkins said of receiving the league’s award. 

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