Indiana University Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. — It's all about the students.

IU Kokomo Cougars vs. Wilberforce UniversityInterim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke and student body vice president Mary Olk present Joann Kaiser the Outstanding Educator Award.

That is Joann Kaiser's philosophy of teaching, one shared by her fellow faculty at Indiana University Kokomo.

Tuesday, February 5, the campus' student athletes hosted faculty and staff appreciation night, at the Cougar men's basketball game, to thank the professors, advisors, admissions counselors, maintenance workers, administrative assistants, and other faculty and staff who care about their success.

Kaiser, lecturer in communication arts, received a special honor — the Student Government Association's Outstanding Educator Award — which is chosen by a student committee, based on student nominations. Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke and Mary Olk, student body vice president, presented the award at halftime.

"I was honored to learn I had received this award," Kaiser said. "It was a great boost to me to know the students appreciate what I do. They're they reason I do what I do. I enjoy getting to know my students, and helping them develop a love of learning."

Kaiser leads a freshman learning community, and teaches communication and theater classes. She began her career at IU Kokomo as an adjunct faculty member in 1988, and has been a full-time lecturer for four years.

Olk said the award is given each semester to honor those "who go above and beyond the call of duty, and who exceed expectations."

While faculty may receive honors within their departments or IU, she said, "I think it means something different when it comes from the students. This is a way of giving back for all the work they do for us."

Kaiser was not the only faculty or staff member honored, though. Throughout the game, Dean Hockney, the Voice of the Cougars, read tributes to many of them, written by student athletes. They praised not only professors, but advisors, assistants, and physical plant workers, thanking them for helping with goal setting, being "encouraging and motivating," teaching "in a fun, relatable-to-life-type way," being "positive and understanding," making writing more enjoyable, and demonstrating work ethic.

Sarah Sarber, dean of students, said it was important for the athletic department to recognize those who help them achieve their goals, not only as athletes, but also as students.

"This night was a way to thank our faculty and staff for their support," she said.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.