Endowed Faculty Chairs

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A Note From our President

“The great work and devotion shown to our students by our faculty is truly inspiring. The faculty exhibit a dedication to learning that is unparalleled in terms of passion and enthusiasm both inside as well as outside the classroom.

The Endowed Faculty Chair awards are an important part of how we continue to strive to make this college the greatest institution it can be. By supporting our faculty, this incredible program will help drive teaching, learning, and, ultimately, innovation at Kirkwood well into the future.”

~ Dr. Lori Sundberg, President


What are the Endowed Faculty Chair Awards?

The Endowed Faculty Chair awards were initiated to honor retiring President Dr. Norm Nielsen in December 2004. Endowed Faculty Chairs provide an opportunity for selected faculty to undertake professional development projects in their disciplines or in instructional pedagogy through writing, preparing, and presenting a special lecture, conducting research, or pursuing other opportunities.

The emphasis is on personal and professional growth and is separate from assigned duties, routine work, or service to the department.

The goals for the Endowed Faculty Chair program are to:

  • Encourage faculty to pursue educational challenges with creativity and innovation
  • Promote academic quality by supporting faculty commitment to educational and pedagogical excellence
  • Promote the college’s name in connection with educational excellence
  • Bring community leaders and faculty together in a commitment to excellence in education

The Endowed Faculty Chair program is a major effort by the Kirkwood Board of Trustees and the Kirkwood Foundation Board to demonstrate their commitment to quality instruction by recognizing and fostering instructional excellence and lifelong learning.


2020-21 Endowed Faculty Chair Award Winners

Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Endowed Chair

Debra Forbes

“Attrition and Successful Retention of Nursing Students at the Community College”

Head shot of Debra Forbes

Dynamic changes in our healthcare system, an aging population, increasing issues with access to care, and the impending nursing shortage require an increase of qualified nurses entering the workforce. As Kirkwood prepares students for the challenges of the nursing profession, our focus needs to on effective retention strategies in order to meet this need. The goal of the project is to evaluate how we are currently meeting student needs and begin development of proactive evidence based strategies to improve retention and prepare nurses for the future. This project will begin with analysis of quantitative cohort and program data to allow evaluation of the timeline of student success interventions, determine successes and opportunities for improvement, develop recommendations, and implement innovative and effective interventions. This will identify factors that either restrict or support retention (academic, social, financial, etc.) and develop strategies that will support Kirkwood’s diverse nursing student population.

Kirkwood Endowed Faculty Chair

Scott Samuelson

“Rome as a guide to the Good Life: A Philosophical Grand Tour”

Head shot of Scott Samuelson

Given all that’s been written about Rome, it’s astonishing there isn’t a philosophical guidebook to the city. My project — to complete chapters for an upcoming book Rome as a Guide to the Good Life — fills that gap by exploring how philosophers, artists, and travelers think about the Eternal City to envision what it means to live well. An eclectic guide to ethics, mixing theory and history, this book roots philosophy in the sites of Rome. What does it mean to see the Forum like Cicero or the Colosseum like Augustine? What does Raphael’s Loggia of Cupid and Psyche teach about love and the soul? What can be learned from the tombs of the Non-Catholic Cemetery about how to build a life? Rome as a Guide to the Good Life shows how sculptures, paintings, buildings, and piazzas can be occasions not only for history and beauty, but also for self-knowledge and happiness.

Kirkwood Endowed Faculty Chair

Jennifer Storer

“U.S. Maternal Mortality in the 21st Century: A crisis in health”

Head shot of Jennifer Storer

The United States currently has one of the highest maternal mortality rates of any developed country, with the majority of these deaths being preventable. With this project, I seek to develop a greater understanding of causes of maternal mortality, along with actions the nurse can take to improve women’s outcomes. Is the rise in maternal deaths solely due to a rise in risk factors, such as obesity and hypertension? Is it due to differences in data collection? Is it from differences in healthcare systems? Race/ethnicity disparities? Lack of access to care? Poor quality of care? The use of obstetricians versus nurse midwives? The condition of the woman’s health and the healthcare they received (or did not receive) prior to pregnancy? An analysis of these various factors will be done in order to identify trends that could positively impact the education of future nurses and to further promote initiatives that are currently in place to improve maternal health outcomes.

Kirkwood Endowed Faculty Chair

Heidi Pierce

“The intersection of race, mental health, and involvement with the criminal legal system”

Head shot of Heidi Pierce

Throughout childhood, adolescence and adulthood, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), especially those who are neurodiverse or have mental disorders, are disproportionately impacted by involvement with the criminal legal system in the United States. In my project, I review research which indicates ableism as well as institutionalized racism increase risk of restraint and seclusion at school and facilitate the school to prison pipeline. During incarceration, individuals experience social isolation and have inadequate access to mental health care. These conditions exacerbate symptoms of mental disorders and increase risk of recidivism. My project also includes a discussion of alternatives to current practices and a summary of my advocacy efforts to facilitate systemic change.

2021-22 Endowed Faculty Chair Recipients/Donors

Supported by the Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Endowed Chair

Dr. Alissa King

Associate Professor | Sociology, Social Science

Exhale: Exploring Trauma, Technology, and the Brain-Body Connection

Kirkwood Endowed Faculty Chair

Elizabeth Baertlein

Assistant Professor | ELA, Global Learning

Expanding Access: Developing an Open-Access Writing Textbook for Linguistically Diverse Immigrant Students at Community Colleges

Dr. Peter Jauhiainen

Professor | Religion, Arts and Humanities

White Christian Nationalism and the Future of American Democracy

Laurie Simmons

Professor | Nursing

Impact of Instructor-led Supplemental Instruction on Student Success and Retention at the Community College

Jim Trepka

Professor | Electronic Engineering, Industrial Technologies

Smart Grid OER Materials

Lisa Hebl

Professor | Dental Hygiene, Allied Health

Update Dental Hygiene Clinic Instrumentation Videos

Supported by the following Endowed Faculty Chair Donors

The Allsop Family

Diamond V

The Mansfield Trust

The Rohde Family

Ruffalo Noel Levitz

St. Luke’s Hospital/UnityPoint Health


Kirkwood Foundation

We are grateful to the Endowed Faculty Chair donors and their dedication to supporting excellence in the classroom.

For more information about creating an Endowed Faculty Chair in honor or memory of someone special, contact Jody Pellerin at 319-398-5409 or jody.pellerin@kirkwood.edu.

Kirkwood Foundation
The Kirkwood Foundation exists to bridge the gap between the needs and resources of Kirkwood Community College and its students.