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NDSU faculty receive Great Plains IDEA awards

Photo of Mari Borr

Mari Borr

Photo of Gary Goreham

Gary Goreham

Two NDSU faculty members have been recognized with 2019 Faculty Excellence Awards by the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance. Mari Borr, associate professor of teacher education, and Gary Goreham, professor of sociology, received the honors during the organization’s annual meeting April 1 in Kansas City, Missouri.

The honors include a $2,000 cash award.

Borr helped originate the family and consumer science education graduate degree program offered together online by six universities – NDSU, Central Washington University, Oklahoma State University, SDSU, Texas Tech University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She also advises students and co-leads the program by preparing annual reports and overseeing course and program assessment. 

Borr was instrumental in gaining a grant to provide distance students with cameras to video their student teaching sessions, allowing for more engagement and feedback from their instructors. 

“Integrating this type of technology has improved the FCS program's ability to interact with both students and their supervising teachers from a distance,” said Margaret Fitzgerald, NDSU dean of human development and education.

“In an effort to ensure that her teaching is consistently of the highest quality, Dr. Borr regularly participates in various forms of curriculum development, most notably including professional development that is aimed at better integrating technology into her courses,” said Chris Ray, head of the NDSU School of Education.

Goreham teaches in the alliance’s community development graduate program offered together online by five universities – NDSU, South Dakota State University, Iowa State University, Kansas State University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Students can earn a master’s degree or a graduate certificate in community development through the program.

Goreham helped form the online program in the early 2000s, and then continued as a teacher and adviser to students and mentor to faculty. “Many students comment on how much they learn from taking courses with Dr. Goreham. They know his course requires a great deal of work; they also tell us how much they learn from that experience, and many go on to use the results of their work in his class for grants, project development and promotions,” said Mary Emery, head of sociology and rural studies at SDSU, who also teaches in the collaborative program.

“Whether Gary was chairing the group, serving as the assessment coordinator or being a member, his optimism, willingness to do whatever was asked and his commitment to the success of the community development group have always been assets,” said Jill Thorngren, dean at SDSU, and chair of the Great Plains IDEA governing cabinet.

Through Great Plains IDEA, 17 accredited member institutions and two accredited affiliate institutions, in various combinations, offer online courses in 18 academic programs. Students can choose from 11 online degrees and 15 online certificates.

NDSU participates in seven human sciences programs and four agricultural programs through the consortium.

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