Sandburg Instructors Smolensky, Herath Receive NISOD Excellence Awards

  Aaron Frey
  Tuesday, May 28, 2019 1:15 PM
  Campus News

Galesburg, IL

Carl Sandburg College is proud to announce Marjorie Smolensky and Dr. Suvineetha Herath as recipients of the 2019 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Awards.

First presented in 1989, NISOD’s Excellence Awards annually recognize community and technical college faculty, administrators and staff who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment and contribution to their students and colleagues. Each Excellence Award recipient receives a specially cast, pewter medallion hung on a burnt-orange ribbon.

Smolensky has been as associate professor of biology at Sandburg since 2002, after first being an adjunct instructor for several years. Smolensky won a 2015 Innovation of the Year award from the League for Innovation in the Community College for her use of apps and smartboards to display 3D and 4D animations of the human anatomy for instruction, and earlier this month she was named Sandburg’s 2019 Faculty of the Year Award winner.

“To me, this award is indicative of a collaborative team effort designed to enhance the educational experience for our students,” Smolensky said. “It includes my departmental colleagues — including Dave Burns, Carla Presnell and Mike Crandell — whose support and recommendations continue to be invaluable. It includes the Technology Committee, whose members agreed to finance our experiments, and, of course, it includes the Faculty Teaching and Learning Center folks, especially Cindy Arthur and Gail Hannam, for help in implementing and troubleshooting the technology. It's all about helping our students succeed.”

An information and communications technology (ICT) instructor, Herath helped develop a cybersecurity specialist certificate program that will first be available for the 2019 fall semester.

“The ability to learn, understand and admire the differences around us with tolerance and compassion is the ultimate value of an education,” Herath said. “As an educator, my philosophy is to provide leadership to students in acquiring the knowledge, problem-solving abilities and tangible skillsets to make lasting, positive differences in society.”

“Recognizing those individuals who have contributed to student success and their colleges’ mission is something we look forward to doing each year,” said Dr. Edward J. Leach, NISOD’s executive director. “The extraordinary work of these men and women includes not only what they do for their students and colleagues, but what they do for the communities in which they live and work. We’re honored to be able to play a part in celebrating their achievements.”

NISOD is a membership organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning and leadership at community and technical colleges. For community and technical colleges that want to make the most of their professional development dollars, NISOD has provided budget-friendly, high-quality and faculty-focused programs and resources for more than 40 years. The American Association of Community Colleges named NISOD, “The country’s leading provider of professional development for community college faculty, staff and administrators.” For more information about NISOD, visit

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Aaron Frey