KSU Salina Honors Faculty, Staff

Kansas State University Salina is celebrating its faculty and staff members for their hard work and dedication during the 2023-2024 academic year. The campus has recognized five faculty and staff members with annual awards for their achievements, innovations and leadership.

“Our campus is recognizing and celebrating our hardworking faculty and staff for their efforts from this past year,” Alysia Starkey, K-State Salina CEO and dean, said. “All K-State Salina award recipients provide energy, enthusiasm and really make this campus a great place to work and more importantly, an excellent place to get an education. We are excited to celebrate not only the accomplishments of our award-winning campus family but also the collective success of our entire team.”

Michelle Brockelman, custodial specialist, is this year’s winner of the K-State Salina University Support Staff of the Year award. This distinction recognizes an employee’s contribution to the success of our campus through excellence in performance and service.

“In addition to being a consistent and quality custodial services professional, Michelle supports our campus culture through many volunteer opportunities,” her nominator said. “She has volunteered to help at Casino Night, the Chili Cook-Off and walked in a Salina community parade. These are well beyond her required duties. Her commitment to helping her colleagues and the students around her is such an important part of making K-State Salina a welcoming environment.”

Alyssa Wendel, director of student affairs, is the recipient of the inaugural K-State Salina Professional Staff of the Year award. Recipients of this award are acknowledged for their exemplary contributions to the mission and values of K-State Salina through their commitment to service, productivity, innovation, leadership and belonging.

“Alyssa’s compassion, drive and persistence truly make her a quality leader for her unit and our campus,” her nominator said. “She embodies professionalism, grit and hope in navigating the procedural and personal challenges that her role requires. She continually demonstrates the core values of our campus in her leadership.”

Julia Morse, associate professor in mechanical engineering technology, is the 2024 Delker Faculty Excellence Award winner. This award celebrates a K-State Salina faculty member who is developing innovative courses and curricula. Recipients demonstrate a passion for improving student learning opportunities and innovation in academics. This award encourages self-nominations from faculty that seek to bring new ideas into the classroom. Morse becomes the second faculty member to win the Delker Faculty Excellence Award.

According to Morse’s nomination, “Julia has a passion for innovating and improving student learning opportunities that would grow personally and with her colleagues to deliver flexible course modalities — hybrid and Hyflex — to accommodate our business internship students and multicampus students while maintaining our strengths as a solutions-based, engagement-oriented campus.”

Travis Balthazor, instructor in the uncrewed aircraft systems, or UAS, program and deputy director of the Applied Aviation Research Center, is the recipient of the Marchbanks Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence. This award celebrates a K-State Salina faculty member for their exemplary service to students, commitment in the classroom and overall excellence in teaching. Recipients promote excellence in education with a focus on developing students’ talents and abilities.

“Travis helped navigate two major curriculum changes to ensure the UAS program keeps pace with our rapidly advancing industry needs,” his nominator said. “His commitment to noncredit education and research is impressive. His leadership is critical in helping promote the UAS program on a national stage. He is a well-rounded, energetic member of the K-State Salina faculty.”

The Rex and Jean McArthur Family Faculty Award recipient is Michael Oetken, assistant professor and graduate faculty in computer systems technologyweb development technology and digital media technology. This award recognizes a distinguished faculty member who demonstrates teaching excellence in the classroom, a commitment to research and innovation, and honorable service to the college, university and community.

“One of the things I especially appreciate about Michael is his willingness to take on new projects and responsibilities,” his nominator said. “His research interests in immersive technologies are well aligned with the strategic direction of the campus. I’m confident he will continue to be a key player in transforming this campus’s offerings and research capabilities.”

Learn more about the history of K-State Salina’s campus-level awards and past recipients on the K-State Salina Awards and Recognition website.

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Michelle Brockelman, top left, recipient of the K-State Salina University Support Staff of the Year award; Alyssa Wendel, top middle, Professional Staff of the Year award recipient; Julia Morse, top right, is the Delker Faculty Excellence Award recipient; Michael Oetken, bottom left, Rex and Jean McArthur Family Faculty Award recipient; and Travis Balthazor, bottom right, recipient of the Marchbanks Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence.