Dr. Stephanie Welter, chair of the Department of Biology, was recently named the KWU Exemplary Teacher for the 2020-21 school year.
While Welter is a much-respected teacher on campus, her influence reaches throughout the community of Salina. She is a critical part of organizations such as the Smoky Hill Audubon Society and Friends of the River, helping establish relationships that have benefited both KWU students and the community at large. Welter’s efforts helped begin monthly Audubon society speakers at KWU – an occurrence that lasted until the first surge of COVID-19. The relationship with the society also enables KWU students to do research or take field trips to the Smoky Hill Audubon Sanctuary. Volunteers from the KWU campus also worked at the sanctuary in the past.
Prior to COVID-19 limitations, Welter was the primary liaison between KWU and Friends of the River’s scientific work, helping coordinate the efforts of students from the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division’s efforts. Those projects included research in water testing and microbial sampling, mammal and bird camera trapping and invertebrate sampling. She also aided with the Smoky Hill River Research and Education Symposium, an annual event that afforded various students and educators the opportunity to formally present their research.
On campus, Welter was a part of KWU earning Tree Campus USA distinction, which the university earned for the third consecutive year in 2020-21.
“Dr. Welter’s efforts at KWU are outstanding,” said Dr. Damon Kraft, KWU provost. “In addition, her work in the Salina area further sets her apart. Her efforts with both of these organizations – Friends of the River and the Smoky Hill Audubon Society – have helped improve the scientific community in Salina, and they have done so while providing excellent opportunities for our students. We are thankful that she is a part of the KWU family, and are honored to recognize her with this award.”