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Nov. 18, 2011
Dr. Shirley Steffens, associate professor of curriculum and instruction at Northwest Missouri State University, was awarded the 2011 Nasim Dil Award for Outstanding Service to Teacher Education at the annual Teacher Education Division (TED) conference in Austin, Texas.
The Nasim Dil Award is annually given to an individual who demonstrates exemplary service to the development and advancement of quality teacher education in special education.
Steffens, who has taught special education courses at Northwest since joining the University faculty in 1995, received the award during the Small Special Education Programs Caucus (SSEPC) reception Friday, Nov. 11.
“I’m very honored to receive the award,” Steffens said. “It’s great to be recognized for what I’ve done, but I feel very humbled. The past recipients have also done so much.”
Steffens was nominated for her leadership service to the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and the Teacher Education Division for Exceptional Children Programs Caucus. She has served as secretary, associate chair, chair and past-chair of the caucus.
Steffens also is a faculty advisor for the CEC student organization at Northwest and has made significant contributions to teacher education by leading student and state CEC conferences. She is a valued member of SSEPC and the CEC at large, providing on-going service for teacher educators and special education teacher candidates.
One of three colleagues to nominate Steffens for the honor wrote, “She is a warm and welcoming colleague who supports and encourages new and veteran SSEPC members on a professional and personal level. Her contributions and hard work in the field of education has inspired, supported and informed teacher educators in special education nationally.”
Steffens, who has a cousin with a disability, said she always wanted to become a special education teacher. Prior to arriving at Northwest, she taught eight years in Nebraska City, Neb., public schools and eight years at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
Steffens said she is most proud of her work with Northwest students and the opportunity to watch them grow and succeed.
“We prepare them to be good teachers and help them be the best they can be,” Steffens said. “Special ed is not an easy field. It’s more than just teaching students, so we want them to be sure they are passionate about what they’re doing.”
Steffens also expressed thanks to her the Department of Curriculum and Instruction for its support.
“Dr. Steffens’ colleagues in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction are proud of her accomplishment,” said Dr. Barbara Crossland, who is chair of the department. “It’s good to know that the work she is doing at Northwest has not gone unnoticed in the professional arena.”
The CEC is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving the educational success of individuals with disabilities, gifts and talents. TED works on behalf of special education teacher educators and is one of 17 special interest groups of the CEC. The Nasim Dil Award is named for the founder of the caucus.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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