Faculty Awards

Faculty Member Award

Dr. Lauren Gillespie

Biology instructor Dr. Lauren Gillespie received the Faculty Member Award from the Nebraska Community College Association at its conference in November. It marked the first time since 2011 that a CCC instructor received the award.

Based at CCC-Columbus, Gillespie is the co-project director of the National Science Foundation-funded scholarship program ‘Growing Pathways to STEM” (Project GPS), which uses a cohort model, undergraduate research experiences and industry relationships to further student success. She established a framework for the research program known as the Bluebird Project, where students helped establish nest-box trails both on campus and in the local community and collected data from the local bluebird population.

During a routine lab session, Gillespie discovered a population of barn swallows exhibiting partial albinism leading to several local and international research collaborations, elements of which she integrates into her classroom and laboratory activities so that students are experiencing real science in real time. She was published in a top journal, “Molecular Biology and Evolution,” as part of an international collaboration of researchers studying the mitochondrial genomes of all barn swallow subspecies. Also in 2022, Gillespie was awarded the American Association of Community Colleges Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty Award for service in teaching and leadership at CCC and with Project GPS. In 2020, she received the League Excellence Award by the League of Community Colleges for commitment to excellence in community college teaching and leadership.


Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty Award

Michael David

Michael David, a criminal justice at Central Community College-Grand Island, recieved the 2023 Dale P. Parnell Distibguished Faculty designation from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). The AACC established the designation in honor of its former president and CEO as a way to recognize individuals who are making a difference for students, both inside and outside of the classroom. The 41 recipients were honored during the AACC annual convention in Denver, Colorado.

Since David joined the CCC staff in 2018, enrollment and graduation numbers have increased in the criminal justice program, resulting in an expansion from one to three full-time instructors.  “We have a great team, providing a dynamic program to the students,” David said. Accomplishments include receiving two CCC mini-grants, signing a 2+2 agreement with the University of Nebraska-Kearney, starting the Criminal Justice Student Association and SkillsUSA Forensic Team, participating in the Metallica scholarship program and opening an on-campus Crime House.