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Six BSC employees receive excellence awards

Posted on 5/6/2013

Bismarck State College honored six employees with the Award for Excellence at the spring recognition event. The award recognizes significant or meritorious performance in professional roles.

Faculty recipients were Mike Holman, associate professor of electronics/telecommunications, and Barbara Jirges, visual arts lecturer.

Holman's student nominator praised the effort and care he puts into teaching and his dedication to create teaching aids on his own time. The entire class benefits, the student said, "But he turned me from being a C and D student to having a 3.5 GPA. He has been the best teacher I have ever had in any learning experience. He is even better than all the experts I had teaching me in the military."

Jirges has demonstrated how partnerships and collaboration are the key to better learning experiences for students and the community. Her efforts to engage learners in positive artistic experiences are evident in initiating the interdisciplinary class Chemistry in Art, coordinating ArtsQuest each spring, identifying community enrichment classes, and coordinating and leading the first student trip to Rome, now an annual event. Her nominator wrote, "Barb Jirges doesn't just teach art. She provides learning experiences for life."

The Staff Award for Excellence went to Sarah Olson, advisor coordinator, and Tammy Heupel, Bachelor of Science coordinator at the National Energy Center of Excellence.

Olson has shown exceptional leadership and influence working with faculty, students and parents. Considered the "go-to" person for everything about advising, she works on many committees related to student success and faculty advising, including the First Year Experience project. Among her many successes is the innovative approach she took to transfer education by setting up information sessions between BSC's collaborative colleges, BSC faculty and liberal arts students to educate everyone about transfer options after graduation.

Heupel was cited by a former student for her dedication and effort with energy students to help them enter BSC's only baccalaureate program. Her excellent communication skills and expertise in handling student issues have helped grow enrollment to more than 240 students in five years. Her nominator wrote, "She is the only advisor. Without her hard work, this program would not be what it is today. The National Energy Center of Excellence is a better place because of her excellence."

Part-time staff awards of excellence were presented to Jean Hauser, allied health assistant, and Pam Ogaard, adjunct mathematics and computer science instructor in distance education. Ogaard's student nominator praised her teaching expertise in math and willingness to listen to student needs. "She is the reason that I stayed with Bismarck State," the student wrote. "I would love her as a teacher for every subject."

Hauser received a department nomination for the transformation she has brought to operations in four medical arts and emergency services locations and her proactive role in improving communication and team dynamics. Faculty cited her organizational skills, work ethic, dependability, willingness to adapt to change, and enjoyment in finding ways to solve problems and/or increase efficiency.

The BSC Foundation programs manager coordinates the nomination and selection process. A committee composed of BSC staff, faculty, students, and off-campus representatives selected award recipients. Full-time employees received a $1,000 cash gift from the BSC Foundation. Part-time employees received a $250 cash gift.

About Bismarck State College
Bismarck State College, an innovative community college in Bismarck, N.D., offers high quality education, workforce training, and enrichment programs reaching local and global communities. For more information, visit

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