April 28, 2017

Two students received State Fair Community College’s top academic awards April 28 at a recognition ceremony and reception in Yeater Center lobby on the Sedalia campus.

Vanessa Upton, Green Ridge, received the Distinguished Student award for students earning Associate of Arts degrees.

William May Jr., Otterville, received the Distinguished Student award for students earning Associate of Applied Science degrees.

Faculty nominated students for the awards from eligible graduating students, and a committee selected the recipients. There were three Associate of Arts nominations and 11 Associate of Applied Science nominations. Upton and May will lead the procession of graduates at commencement May 12 in the Mathewson Exhibition Center on the Missouri State Fairgrounds.

SFCC also honored the instructor, adjunct instructor and staff member for 2016-2017.
Kaley Hobbs, Developmental English, was named instructor of the year; Becky Arbisi, Office Management, was named adjunct instructor of the year; and Alexandr Bliskavka, Facilities Management custodian, was named staff member of the year.
Students submitted nominations for 65 instructors, 27 adjunct instructors and 54 staff members. The selection committee, comprised of student leaders, chose five finalists in each category. Committee members conducted classroom surveys for instructors and questionnaires for staff to select the winners.

Hobbs has taught at SFCC for eight years. Students say that she takes time with them and is interested in their success by going “above and beyond” to make sure they understand the material. She gives positive feedback on papers and explains ways to improve their writing.

One student said, “She does whatever she can to help students better themselves. Ms. Hobbs made English class enjoyable by providing a fun learning environment and making students feel comfortable to ask questions in class.”

“My approach to teaching is guided by four principles,” said Hobbs. “Students are not always ready to learn, but they could become ready at any moment; students must do the learning and demonstrate they have mastered the objective; it is my obligation to meet students where they are; and I never want to be a hindrance to their motivation.”

Arbisi has taught 36 years at the college, 30 years as a full-time instructor and six years as an adjunct teaching online. Students who nominated her said she is very attentive to their questions, answers in a timely manner and often follows up to see if they need additional assistance in completing assignments.
One student said, “Ms. Arbisi is an outstanding teacher because she takes the time to get to know her students.”

One peer commented that throughout Arbisi’s career she has implemented new technology to improve student-learning outcomes. She cares about her students, studies how adults learn, and uses that knowledge to improve her teaching.
“To me, teaching is an art that is developed as you work with students in many situations,” said Arbisi. “How we apply what we have learned is where the “art” comes in—and not only that but the “heart” of teaching as well.”

Bliskavka has worked at SFCC for 15 years and works in the Heckart Science and Allied Health Center. Students who nominated him said he does an awesome job, keeps the restrooms clean and makes the building look great.

One student said, “Alex is a hard worker, dedicated and kind. He cleans the science and nursing areas mostly by himself.” Another said, “He takes his job seriously and treats people kindly.”

His peer recommendation highlighted Bliskavka’s pride in his work and belief that the condition of the building and classrooms is a reflection of his professionalism. He pays attention to details that make the building sparkle, addresses safety issues and helps his coworkers with a smile and positive comments.

“I do not have high education, but I know three things that I can do to help student success,” said Bliskavka. “I can maintain a safe and friendly environment for them in my building and keep it clean. These will help keep students in a good mood, and this I can do for student success.”

Honorees received plaques and their photos will be displayed in the Yeater Learning Center lobby. They also will lead the procession of faculty and staff at commencement May 12.

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