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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Dr. Carol Spradling, associate professor of computer science and information systems, is Northwest's recipient of the 2012 Governor's Award for Excellence in Education. Students regard her highly for her patience, care and the extra instruction she provides outside of her classroom.

Dr. Carol Spradling, associate professor of computer science and information systems, is Northwest's recipient of the 2012 Governor's Award for Excellence in Education. Students regard her highly for her patience, care and the extra instruction she provides outside of her classroom. (Photo by Darren Whitley/University Relations)

Oct. 6, 2011

Dr. Carol Spradling named recipient of 2012 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education

Dr. Carol Spradling

Dr. Carol Spradling

2011 Dean's Faculty Award recipients

Governor's Award for Excellence in Education recipients from Northwest

1992: Betty Bush
1993: Ben Collier
1994: Peggy Miller
1995: Pat Lucido                
1996: Laura Widmer         
1997: Cheryl Malm            
1998: Ernest Woodruff     
1999: Pat McLaughlin       
2000: Terry Robertson      
2001: Jim Eiswert               
2002: Jody Strauch            
2003: Suzanne Frucht        
2004: Carla Edwards         
2005: Steve Shively             
2006: No award given
2007: Jason White              
2008: Terry Coalter                       
2009: Margaret Drew
2010: Amanda Petefish-Schrag
2011: April Haberyan
2012: Carol Spradling

Dr. Carol Spradling, associate professor of computer science and information systems, is Northwest Missouri State University's recipient of the 2012 Governor's Award for Excellence in Education, the University announced Thursday, Oct. 6, during a ceremony recognizing this year's nominees for the award.

The Governor's Award is presented annually to an outstanding faculty member from each of Missouri's four-year higher education institutions. The recipient is selected by the Northwest Dean's Council from individuals who received Dean's Faculty Awards for teaching from the University's colleges during the previous academic year.

Spradling received the Dean's Faculty Award for Exemplary Teaching in the Melvin D. and Valorie G. Booth College of Business and Professional Studies. She will receive the Governor's Award during a ceremony in Jefferson City next spring.

"I've learned so much from the faculty here, so it's an award not only for me but a recognition for other people I've worked with," Spradling said.

Spradling's teaching evaluations consistently receive high marks, and written comments by students describe her as a competent and caring instructor. In addition, Spradling is known to be endlessly patient with students, spending many hours helping those who need additional instruction outside the classroom. Her strong evaluations are earned in spite of her heavy teaching loads, Northwest Provost Dr. Doug Dunham said.

"Awards such as the Governor's Award for Excellence in Education and our Dean's Awards provide us with the opportunity to celebrate academic excellence as a Northwest family," Dunham said. "Dr. Spradling is selected because of her outstanding performance in the classroom, her constant efforts to improve existing courses and her development of new courses."

In addition to helping to develop a number of new courses, Spradling serves as one of six faculty advisors working with Knacktive, Northwest's student-led, interdisciplinary, strategic communications agency. Piloted at Northwest during the spring 2011 trimester, Knacktive is a three-credit capstone course that teams students with a professional client to create practical solutions for their marketplace challenge. The 2011 class designed a comprehensive marketing campaign for Cincinnati-based LasikPlus Vision, which launched a national campaign during the Memorial Day weekend that was based on the students' proposals.

"The Knacktive project was a team project, so it's unfortunate there can't be a team award," Spradling said. "When you work with a team of people, you can look pretty good. A big difference about doing interdisciplinary work is that you have the back of all these other people that you get to work with, too."

Spradling also teaches courses in java programming, script programming and database systems, along with a special course in professional development. During a colleague's spring 2011 sabbatical, Spradling also taught Northwest's graduate-level human-computer interaction course.

Spradling joined the Northwest faculty in 1988. After earning a bachelor of science in accounting and economics from Buena Vista University, she completed her masters of science in school computer studies at Northwest. She holds a doctorate in philosophy in instructional technology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Spradling credited colleagues and mentors who have helped her understand the variety of ways students learn and motivated her to try new approaches to teaching throughout her career.  

"They allowed me to start rethinking the way I was teaching, and I realized that, in some cases, the way I was teaching was not really allowing students to be successful," Spradling said. "So it changed the methods that I used and the techniques I used. You really have to vary the kinds of materials and experiences that you provide for students. There's so many people on campus who are good at doing that, and I really think that makes a big difference with how successful students are in the classroom."

Spradling also is a member of the Association of Computer Machinery Education Council. Her professional and research interests are in computer ethics, programming, databases and multimedia.

This weekend, she is co-chair of the first Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas Women in Computing (MINKWIC) conference, taking place Friday and Saturday, in Kansas City, Mo. The conference is bringing together student, faculty and technology leaders from throughout the four states to discuss the role of women in today's computing and technology fields and share their experiences.

Spradling also received the 2010 Dean's Award for Research from the Booth College. During the 2009-10 academic year, Spradling capitalized on research related to her doctoral thesis on ethics in computer science. Her work resulted in an article in the Computer Science Education Journal and a related tutorial presentation at a regional computer science conference. Her research also is influencing computer science educators on incorporating ethics training as part of new curriculum.

Recognitions such as the Governor's Award and the University's Dean's Awards are important, Dunham said, because they are illustrative of Northwest faculty's commitment to quality and academic excellence.

"Northwest is deeply committed to academic excellence and all that it means in teaching, scholarship, service and student support, and the exemplary work of those colleagues we're honoring moves the benchmark for excellence just a little higher," Dunham said. "When we as individuals make student success a number one priority, we as an institution benefit."

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468