Cameron University’s Dr. Christopher O. Keller, associate professor of communication, and Dr. Kurtis Koll, professor of physical sciences, have been selected as the 2010 recipients of the Harold and Elizabeth Hackler Teaching Excellence Award. The Hackler Lectureship in Teaching Excellence was established in 1996 by CU alumni Harold and Elizabeth Hackler to recognize outstanding contributions by faculty in the lives of Cameron students. Keller and Koll received their awards during a reception featuring Mr. and Mrs. Hackler tonight at Cameron University-Duncan. Cameron students Rachel Engel and Ornella Nelson introduced Keller and Koll, respectively, sharing stories of how their education has been impacted by the Hackler recipients.
Through the endowment, Keller and Koll will each receive a stipend and a grant for professional development. Their names have been added to the Hackler Award honor roll plaque that is on display at the CU-Duncan campus.
“It is a pleasure to recognize Dr. Keller and Dr. Koll with Cameron’s highest faculty honor,” says John McArthur, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “We are grateful for Mr. and Mrs. Hackler’s generosity in establishing this award so that we can reward deserving faculty members.”
Keller was nominated by Dr. Matt Jenkins, his colleague in the Department of Communication and a previous Hackler Award honoree.
“Dr. Keller works to reach all of his students,” says Jenkins. “His critique of student work is always positive and constructive. He has an excellent ability to determine individual student weaknesses and to provide extra assistance to encourage a successful learning outcome. Students are complimentary of Dr. Keller, indicating that he will go the ‘extra distance.’ Students indicate that in the classroom, Dr. Keller is excited about subject matter, is fully prepared and while he can be a ‘tough’ teacher, he is caring and genuinely interested in student success.”
Koll was nominated by Dr. Danny McGuire, Chair of the Department of Physical Sciences, and Cameron student Jeffrey Dorrell. In his nomination, Dorrell wrote, “I personally feel it was Dr. Koll’s guidance that led me to become a chemistry major at Cameron University.”
McGuire praised Koll’s caring attitude, encouragement of his students and tremendous work ethic. “To keep long hours preparing for classes and laboratories to include demonstrations, willing to regularly help students with very challenging problems, committing the time and energy to be the faculty adviser for student organizations, take students on field trips, and to help area schools with their Science Fair programs are part of an average year for Dr. Koll,” McGuire says. “When a student has had Dr. Koll as an instructor, I am confident that the student has had a very positive experience and a great education.”
Keller is a Cameron University alumnus, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English/Professional Writing and a Master of Arts in Teaching. He earned a Ph.D. in Instructional Psychology and Technology from the University of Oklahoma. He worked for two years as an English teacher, yearbook adviser and technology adviser at Elgin High School before he was hired as an instructor in Cameron's Department of Education in 2000. After one year as an Instructional Designer for the U.S. Army Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, he returned to Cameron in 2002. In addition to teaching journalism classes, he serves as adviser to The Cameron Collegian and AggieCentral, a student-run convergence media website. The publication has received the Oklahoma Collegiate Press Association's Award of Excellence and the Oklahoma Interscholastic Press Association's All-Oklahoman Newspaper award under his leadership. Keller was the first Cameron graduate honored as Outstanding Young Alumni by the Cameron University Alumni Association in 2006. Earlier this year, he receive the Faculty Award for Excellence and Innovation in Instructional Technology Integration
Koll has a B.S. in Botany and Zoology from Iowa State University, a Master of Education in Biology from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, and a Ph.D. in Engineering (Environmental Engineering and Environmental Science) from the University of Oklahoma. He has been a member of the Cameron faculty since 1974. He was listed in “Who's Who Among America's Teachers'' in 1994. He is one of the co-directors of Cameron’s highly successful Kids Investigating and Discovering Science (K.I.D.S.) summer camp and also coordinates the Young Learners Science, Math, Geography and Technology Exposition.
Koll serves as faculty adviser for three Cameron student organizations: CU Environmental Club, CU Conservatives Foundation and the Latin Alliance Association. In May 2010, he was named one of only five 2010 National Outstanding Educators by Project Learning Tree. He has also been recognized for outstanding contributions to Oklahoma Project WILD (Wildlife in Learning Design).
Recipients of the Harold and Elizabeth Hackler Teaching Excellence Award are selected based on nominations from faculty and students. All faculty who have been regular full-time members of the CU faculty for at least three years and hold an appointment as an assistant professor or higher are eligible. The candidate’s principle assignment must be teaching.
November 16, 2010