A-Z Index

News Release

Aug. 17, 2023

8 honored for excellence in academic affairs at Northwest

Northwest Missouri State University on Wednesday honored eight employees who exhibit a positive influence on its academic community through their dedication, collegiality and unassuming excellence.

The Academic Impact Awards, which the University presented for the second consecutive year, were announced during a meeting of staff and faculty who are involved with academic affairs units at Northwest.

“We started these awards to recognize people who provide a positive influence on the academic community, and this year’s recipients exemplify the true meaning of this award,” Provost Dr. Jamie Hooyman said. “They quietly go about doing exceptional work every day – not looking for recognition but because they put the students and University first. Everyone always asks why the culture at Northwest is so special, and the answer is simple – the people.”

Recipients of the awards and a summary of their nominations are provided below.

Jeff Bradley

Jeff Bradley, senior instructor of geology

Bradley, who joined the Northwest faculty in 1992, continues to serve as a model faculty member. In particular, his contributions to applied field experiences for students have had considerable positive impacts on countless students in geology. His exceptional collegiality and friendly and positive demeanor have benefitted his department, colleagues and students.

Christian Dixon

Christian Dixon, recruitment coordinator

Dixon is dedicated to recruiting future Bearcats and positively representing Northwest. He spends long days on the road and at recruiting events but never wavers in his enthusiasm and professionalism. His dedication prompted a senior recruiter from a competitor institution to share her observations of Dixon as someone who stays after college fairs to connect with families and answer questions.

Dr. Shantel Farnan

Dr. Shantel Farnan, associate professor of professional education

Farnan’s impact on her students matches her passion for the field of special education. Colleagues recognize her focus on students, and comments from student evaluations in her courses, including face-to-face, online and first-year courses at both the graduate and undergraduate level, typically include the adjective “wonderful” as well as the phrase “I loved this class.” Farnan also is the advisor for the Master of Science in Education in special education and a core faculty member in Northwest’s undergraduate program in the same field.

Terra Feick

Terra Feick, mental health outreach coordinator

A member of the B.D. Owens Library staff from 2013 until transferring to a new role this summer, Feick was assistant library director for access services and ensured success in the numerous technical aspects of the library operation. Her quiet and effective leadership guided continuous success in the unit. She has likewise served the campus as a highly active and strong advocate for inclusive practices that support a welcoming environment for everyone in the community.

Dr. Tamara Lynn

Dr. Tamara Lynn, assistant professor of professional education

Lynn is actively involved in diversity and inclusion initiatives, including as a member and contributor to the Bearcat Diversity Book Club. Her insight and thoughts have led to some critical conversations not only on campus but within the School of Education, and her involvement with teaching future special education teachers is a critical component for enhancing and fostering an inclusive environment for current and future teachers. She also helped the Office of Diversity and Inclusion as a consultant in creating content for the diversity and inclusion learning curriculum with the St. Joseph School District.

Kait Miller

Kait Miller, online transfer academic advisor

As the online professional advisor for an undergraduate segment that continues to grow, Miller has developed work strategies to manage students enrolling at the University and optimize efficiency that helps students have a personal experience. She also uses technology and web conferencing to connect with students who often are working professionals in different time zones.

Dixie Piel

Dixie Piel, associate registrar

Piel’s meticulous attention to detail and thorough knowledge of systems greatly influences daily academic operations at Northwest. She has demonstrated her deep knowledge of University systems and processes by helping lead a group through the implementation of new scheduling software to inform how Northwest schedules courses and have significant impact on student success.

Matt Tritten

Matt Tritten, underwriting sales associate with KXCV-KRNW

Tritten spearheaded a community-based partnership with the launch of the Spoofhound Radio Network. For the first time, Maryville High School is featured regionally on KXCV-KRNW, Northwest’s National Public Radio affiliate, with professional-level broadcasting of Spoofhound athletics, including coaches shows, interviews with staff and students, and classroom features, in addition to his work with the Bearcat Radio Network. Tritten also created and leads KXCV’s Run for Radio, a virtual 5k to support local public radio that draws runners from throughout the world to raise funding support for KXCV-KRNW.


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215