Oakton administrator, faculty and staff recognized for excellence in professional development

Each Excellence Award recipient receives a unique silver medallion engraved with The University of Texas and NISOD insignias and adorned with a burnt orange ribbon. Pictured from left to right are: Nelson Wainwright, Khursheed Ichhaporia, Marianne Millman and Ruth Whitney.

Des Plaines, Ill. (May 31, 2023) - Ten members of Oakton College’s administration, faculty and staff were recognized by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) with Excellence Awards at the International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence in Austin, Texas, May 27-30. A national member organization, NISOD is committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning and leadership at community and technical colleges.

The Excellence Awards allow NISOD member colleges to celebrate individuals doing extraordinary work on their campuses. At Oakton, nominations were made by the Center for Teaching Innovation based on dedication and service to faculty professional development.

"Oakton staff and faculty care deeply about their students. This year, recognized individuals distinguished themselves by not only developing their own classroom practice but also by supporting others in advancing their teaching," said Mary Johannesen-Schmidt, coordinator of Oakton’s Center for Teaching Innovation.

The 2023 NISOD Excellence Awards were awarded to the following Oakton employees:


  • Rick Daniels, director of Student Life and Campus Inclusion
  • Mindy Finnigan, senior manager, Center for Professional Development
Full-time faculty
  • Khursheed Ichhaporia, associate professor of biology
  • Tracy Fulce, chair and distinguished professor of business
  • Leslie Van Wolvelear, chair and distinguished professor of accounting
  • Valeria Benson Lira, assistant professor of earth science & geography
Part-time faculty
  • Margaret Knapp, lecturer in the Division of Liberal Arts
  • Marianne Millman, lecturer in the Division of STEM
  • Nelson Wainwright, lecturer in the Division of Liberal Arts
  • Ruth Whitney, lecturer in Library Services
At Oakton College, the future is yours to create. Whatever your goal, we’ll help you achieve it. From continuing education classes to transfer-friendly associate degrees, we offer hundreds of programs that will propel you to the next level. Our signature combination of real-world learning and a focus on your specific needs provides the platform for you to take your next steps confidently. Registration is open for the summer and fall 2023 semesters. To learn more about Oakton and to register, please visit www.oakton.edu.