A-Z Index

News Release

Jan. 10, 2019

Faculty, staff, teams honored with second annual Excellence Awards

Northwest Missouri State University, for the second consecutive year, recognized high-performing faculty and staff Wednesday during its annual Spring All-Employee Meeting as the institution prepared to begin its spring trimester.

The Northwest Leadership Team (NLT) recognized six individuals and three teams with Northwest Excellence Awards in three categories – Student Success and Recruiting Bearcats, Agility and Innovation, and Civility.

This year’s award winners were John Bell, Terra Feick, Dr. Everett Singleton, Lindsay Stapley, Dr. Tyler Tapps and BK Taylor as well as the School of Education’s graduate education coordinators team, the University’s institutional research team and the University’s student success and retention team.

The NLT initiated the Northwest Excellence Awards in the fall of 2017 and asked University leaders again last fall to nominate faculty and staff who have shown excellence in the three categories, which align with the University’s strategic objectives. NLT members reviewed the nominations and sought to select one staff member, a faculty member and a team in each category.

More information about the awards, the recipients and summaries of their nominations is provided below.


Student Success and Recruiting Bearcats

This award is given to an individual who shows commitment to student success, retention and recruitment of students; helps foster a student-focused atmosphere; aids the development of students’ knowledge, communication or critical thinking; and exemplifies the University’s “everyone’s a recruiter” philosophy and has had multiple successes in recruiting new Bearcats beyond the expectations of their position.

 Staff recipient: Lindsay Stapley, collections and billing coordinator

Stapely plays multiple roles at Northwest and gives her undivided attention to every student who walks in the bursar’s office. She thinks outside of the box and exceeds expectations to ensure she assists each student to the best of her ability, including walking them across campus to another office or comforting them in times of need. She helps students find the information and resources they need to be successful and follows up with them to ensure they stay on a path for success. She not only works as a recruiter but motivates teammates and students to recruit with her because of how satisfied they are with their experience.

In addition to her work in the bursar’s office she continues to be involved on the Northwest campus. She volunteers for profession-based opportunities such as Career Pathing, Be a Better Bearcat and most recently was elected chair-elect of Staff Council.

Lindsay Stapley

Faculty recipient: John Bell, artist-in-residence in the Department of Fine and Performing Art

Bell is a highly involved recruiter who creates significant professional opportunities for students in his ensembles to grow as musicians and future teachers. He frequently visits high schools to work with bands and directs students to Northwest. He annually brings high school bands to campus to share the stage with the Northwest Wind Symphony and Orchestra. He facilitates information gathering, tours and conversations between current and prospective students. He has taken the Wind Symphony to multiple high schools to perform and recruit for the University.

He co-coordinates the Four-State Honor Band, which brings more than 100 high school music students to the Northwest campus for a positive interaction with faculty and students. He co-created the first Northwest Concerto/Aria competition, providing Northwest students with an opportunity to audition for a solo performance with the Northwest Orchestra or Wind Symphony. He has submitted recordings of the Northwest Wind Symphony to both the Nebraska and Missouri Music Educators Association conferences, resulting in performances at those conferences in 2016 and 2017. This prestigious opportunity gives the ensemble access to high school all-state students as they attends the conferences.

Last year, Bell initiated the Wind Symphony’s performance at the Kauffmann Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City with two high-quality Kansas City-area high school bands. The experience provided students with the opportunity to play in a world-class facility and allowed the Wind Symphony to leave lasting, positive impressions on the high school students, their parents, Northwest alumni and other University representatives in attendance.

John Bell

Team recipient: The University’s institutional research staff

(Melissa Cook, Alex Cruz, Egon Heidendal, Beth Mason, Dr. Mike McBride, and Anna Summa)

Heidendal, the director of institutional research, has led a significant culture change regarding the availability and use of information at Northwest that reflects a new level of customer service. The IR office quickly produces reports or provides information upon request, or develops and shares resources that were previously unavailable to them. University employees have noted the contributions of the office, their customer-friendly approach and their ability to respond in a short time to requests for information or assistance.


Agility and Innovation

This award recognizes an individual who uses creativity appropriately to develop new or improve processes, methods, systems, products or services and encourages others to do the same. This award is given to an individual who makes innovation a priority among team members and encourages reasonable and calculated risk-taking and, as a result, improves the University and makes Northwest a better place to live and work.


Staff recipient: BK Taylor, assistant director of wellness services for prevention, outreach and education

Taylor demonstrates the attributes of agility and innovation at a high level every day, over a broad range of roles and responsibilities. He has played a central and critical role in the development and implementation of a range of initiatives related to general physical and mental health promotion and violence prevention. He plays a key role in efforts to improve recruiting, selection and hiring practices for the University. In his short tenure at Northwest, he has demonstrated and lived the criteria for this award at an extraordinary level and, as a result, is highly regarded among peers across the state and region as someone that others look to for help in working through challenging issues. He is president of the Central College Health Association and is considered a rapidly rising star in the field of college health and wellness.

BK Taylor

Faculty recipient: Dr. Tyler Tapps, associate professor of recreation

Matched with his positive attitude and high level of motivation, Tapps has demonstrated the ability to move small and large initiatives forward in an expedient and effective manner. He is constantly thinking outside of the box and reflecting on solutions that aren’t constrained by tradition or apathy. He has helped expand the Northland CAPS dual credit program, complete national accreditation for the Bachelor of Science in recreation program, modify and improve oversight processes of graduate assistants in health sciences and the advisement of graduate students in the School of Health Science and Wellness, make significant contributions to profession-based learning processes and documentation, and contribute to multiple successful grants on campus including a grant to support a new playground for the Horace Mann Laboratory School, campus trails and the Wellness Center. He has had direct impacts on the recreation and applied health sciences curriculum and regularly scans for opportunities to be more innovative in his teaching.

Tyler Tapps

Team recipient: Student Success and Retention Team

(Leslie Abarr-Cuenca, Jill Baker, Jamie Campbell, Sam Cole, Dr. Joy Daggs, Kat Falke, Allison Hoffmann, Julie Johnson, Kenna Johnson, Brad Landhuis, Emily Peterson, Jennifer Pitts, Ashley Strickland and Brady Willis)

The Student Success Center accounts for areas such as student orientation, academic advisement and counseling, retention, support and recovery. While streamlining processes related to enrollment and retention during the last two years, its achievements include launching a combined advisor/coaching first-year model while working with departments and schools to tailor this model for their areas; retooling Northwest’s success-coaching program and incorporated TRIO and Student Support Services into the Student Success Center to remove duplicate student success efforts; developing an online orientation opportunity for transfer and returning students who found it difficult to attend campus orientation; refining weekly tutoring groups and providing online tutoring opportunities for online students; and training faculty on Northwest Success 360 features.

The team played a key role in helping the University achieve an all-time high in fall-to-spring retention of 92 percent and a record fall-to-fall retention of 77 percent. They addressed challenges and problems in an innovative manner by developing novel solutions within short time frames after seeking appropriate input from administrators, staff, faculty and students. Their solutions used existing resources but often found alternative ways to best use those resources.


Team recipient: School of Education graduate education coordinators team

(Dr. Johannah Baugher, Dr. Shantel Farnan, Dr. David Kiene and Dr. Sue Wood)

The School of Education’s graduate education coordinators developed an agile and innovative curricula that has reached more than 500 new students and 10,000 credit hours in just over a year since its inception. By developing and implementing programs in educational leadership, curriculum and instruction, special education and reading, this team provided a new path for faculty at Northwest to reach students.

The coordinators have been involved in every step of rethinking the School of Education offers graduate education coursework, revising and launching curriculum, developing courses, recruiting and advising students, and providing feedback and coaching through assignments and activities for the teachers and leaders in the courses. The programs assist students in continuing their graduate education and are synonymous with Northwest’s reputation for quality. Each member of the team has made unique and helpful contributions to new curriculum through new delivery models of the highest quality and impact. Students have flocked to these programs, and the results and satisfaction are remarkable and sustainable. Their hard work has transformed graduate education at Northwest and offered a path for other faculty to emulate their innovative approaches to reach students.



This award recognizes an individual who exemplifies inclusivity and care for others. This award is given to an individual who shares their needs and beliefs without degrading someone else in the process and seeks to understand different perspectives and cultures. The recipient models high standards of honesty and integrity and shows consistency between words and actions.


Staff recipient: Terra Feick, assistant library director for access services

Feick serves a key role by ensuring the resources and support available to students in the B.D. Owens Library are accessible to students. She leads a team that is on the frontline of engagement with student services at the library and ensures the library team maintains an open, welcome and participatory environment. She consistently articulates to her team and outwardly to the campus community a valuing of differences in the direct work of all aspects of her job.

She was an early participant in the Northwest Institute for Social Justice. She participated in the Allies in Action conference and joined the Northwest Allies Affinity Group. She continues to educate herself in matters related to civility, diversity and inclusion and applies these values to patron service, student hiring and training for employees who report to her in the library. She performs consistently in building trust among the people she works with both locally and across the state. Her continued commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is the prime model for the library staff as she values differences in all aspects of her role.

From the access services team to her representation of Northwest in the MOBIUS consortium, she always includes the appropriate stakeholders in collaborations to ensure the best possible outcome and processes. She is a mediator of decision-making in the library, using a collection of information with persistent and balanced communication to arrive at decisions. She is a model for civility in a role that provides service to hundreds of students every day at Northwest.

Terra Feick

Faculty recipient: Dr. Everett Singleton, assistant professor of professional education

Singleton is a remarkable teacher who engenders real conversations in each class he teaches. His students in Multiculturalism in Education consistently note that he cares, shows respect for different viewpoints and encourages courageous conversations with facts, evidence, compassion and an appreciation of multiple perspectives.

After nearly two decades as a teacher and principal for youth in Tennessee detention centers, he invokes real-life experiences with social justice and criminal justice into the conversations he leads about learning and teaching, racial and ethnic equity, and opportunity in American society. Students from every political viewpoint and life-experience background find great value in being stretched to consider new ways of thinking about individual and community resources. He spends significant time working with advisees and as a moderator of conversations in an online space, where he sets ground rules for civility in classes and assignments, ensuring all voices can be heard and growth can happen.

An innovative and gifted second-year professor, Singleton lives his craft. By infusing civility and equity with inclusivity, he connects students to peers who can provide them alternative ways to rethink what they thought they knew, and break away from stereotypes, misconceptions and biases as they learn to appreciate and promote diversity.

Everett Singleton


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215