Highland Faculty and Staff Receive Excellence Awards

Joani Bardell (top left), Patti Potter (top right), Connie Visel (bottom left), and Alan Wenzel (bottom right).

Joani Bardell (top left), Patti Potter (top right), Connie Visel (bottom left), and Alan Wenzel (bottom right).

FREEPORT (WIFR) — Highland Community College employees joined fellow colleagues on January 10 to honor individuals with this year’s Excellence Awards. The awards recognize employees for quality work, creativity, honesty, integrity, self-development and excellence in their professional relationships.

A committee, made up of Excellence Award recipients from the previous two years, selected the winners in the following categories: support staff, full-time faculty and administrator. This year’s recipients were Joani Bardell, Alan Wenzel and Patti Potter. The annual Opel Award was presented to Connie Visel.

Joani Bardell is an administrative assistant in the science department who independently and efficiently finishes her workload no matter the volume of tasks. She has shared her systems and processes with fellow co-workers, allowing the department to run smoothly and seamlessly integrate with other departments. Never afraid to ask a question or turn down a new challenge, Joani has earned the distinction of a team player and problem solver.

Alan Wenzel is a speech instructor and director of the Highland Leadership Institute. As an instructor, he has regularly been nominated in The Journal-Standard’s “Best of the Region” awards and has directed leadership programming for over 20 years, bolstering the leadership qualities of over 500 participants through the Stephenson County Leadership Institute and Jo Daviess County Leadership Forum. He has partnered with the Stephenson County Historical Society to offer the “Classic Films Series” at the Lindo Theater. Wenzel was also a recipient of this award in 1988 and 1997.

Patti Potter is a data administrator that possesses endless patience and the ability to work cooperatively with her colleagues. She solves problems the first time, eagerly researching any answer she may not readily know. Patti consistently impresses her colleagues with her ability work cooperatively no matter the issue at hand. Her patience and knowledge are invaluable on large projects, and co-workers know she will never abandon them on a project before it is done correctly.

The Highland Community College Foundation also annually recognizes one employee with the Opel Award named for one of Highland’s founders, Don Opel. The award recognizes employees who go “above and beyond” in serving or promoting the College. This year the Foundation presented the award to Connie Visel. Visel holds a Master of Education with reading and literacy education as her emphasis. As an instructor for transitional reading courses, she has continued to find new avenues to reach her students, including the implementation of new software to adapt to student learning styles. Her flexible approach with students, as well as a desire for them to succeed inside and outside the classroom, is evident in her teaching. Visel was also instrumental in the redesign of the reading program, and has received praise for her efforts to support fellow staff members during this complex transition.


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