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Jan. 5, 2012

Professional Excellence Award Winners Named at DWU

Aletha Erpenbach, far left, and Michelle Hellman, far right, were awarded the second quarter professional excellence awards at Dakota Wesleyan recently by DWU president Bob Duffett. Erpenbach, assistant professor of nursing, won for faculty, and Hellman, education support specialist, was the staff winner.

MITCHELL — Aletha Erpenbach and Michelle Hellman are the winners of the Professional Excellence Awards for the second quarter at Dakota Wesleyan University.

Michelle Hellman, Mitchell, is the staff winner. Hellman, education support specialist, joined the DWU education support staff in spring 2011 and assisted the faculty and staff in organizing materials for reaccreditation, oversees the work-study students, and many other office duties which she is cited for learning and accomplishing quickly.

“Michelle is trustworthy and guards the confidentiality of all information to which she has access,” states a nomination letter. “Michelle’s willingness to do ‘anything’ is admirable. She does each task with a positive attitude and has an eagerness to learn something new. She is able to problem solve and takes pride in what she does, greets students with a smile and a willingness to work with them, and she never makes them feel uncomfortable about any concern they have.”

In addition, Hellman’s respectful and friendly personality has made her a key asset to the education department.

“…Building relationships is one of the most critical aspects of working in a college,” the letter continues. “Michelle does that across campus, helping where she is needed. Her willingness to help the students will establish many long-term relationships.”

Aletha Erpenbach, Ethan, is the faculty winner. Erpenbach, assistant professor of nursing, has made many contributions since joining the DWU staff, including coming in on Sundays to work with students.

“She has demonstrated exceptional innovation and compassion in her role as clinical coordinator for the Sioux Falls nursing program,” states her nomination letter. “Aletha goes out of her way to introduce best practices into the clinical nursing curriculum at DWU. She has been a strong advocate of evidence-based practices and is highly respected among her colleagues for her work and commitment to improving the learning experiences of students. Currently, Aletha has been instrumental in developing best practices for use in nursing simulation and is exploring ways in which our current simulators may enhance learning with new and innovative software components.” 

“Aletha’s commitment to service is evident in her work with students, the service learning initiatives within nursing, and her continual efforts to improve what she does.”

The Professional Excellence Award is given three times a year to a faculty and staff member. The quarterly winners are then considered for the year-end awards for faculty and staff.

Winners are given campus recognition and a gift certificate. The award recognizes employees for “outstanding service, for exemplary commitment to the university and for making a difference in the lives of students.”

The DWU Employee Recognition Committee selects the quarterly winners from nominations submitted by faculty, staff members and students.

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Last updated: 1/5/12