Nehls Named TEA Recipient

2024 TEA Recipient Kathi Nehls

LINCOLN – The Nebraska State Colleges Board of Trustees has selected Dr. Kathi Nehls as the 2024 Teaching Excellence Award recipient for the Nebraska State College System. Dr. Nehls was selected during the Board of Trustees meeting on April 18, 2024 and will be celebrated during the spring commencement ceremony at Peru State College.

"Congratulations to Dr. Kathi Nehls, the recipient of the 2024 Teaching Excellence Award from the Nebraska State College System. Dr. Nehls's unwavering dedication to her students, her innovative teaching methods, and her tireless efforts to create inclusive learning environments have truly set her apart,” said Chancellor Paul Turman of the Nebraska State College System (NSCS). “Her impact extends far beyond the classroom, shaping not only the lives of her students but also enriching the academic landscape of Peru State College and its broader community. Dr. Nehls embodies the essence of teaching excellence, inspiring a new generation of engaged learners and empowered citizens. Her recognition is deserved, and her influence will continue to resonate for years to come."

Each year, the NSCS recognizes a faculty member from one of the three State Colleges with the Teaching Excellence Award. After being selected as the college-level Teaching Excellence Award recipient, a nominee from each College is submitted for consideration. The award recognizes superior teaching and advising, innovative instructional practices, high educational standards, and engaging learning environments that inspire and motivate students.

Nehls’s nomination included several letters of support, including these highlighted quotes:  

“Dr. Kathi Nehls has spent the last six years creating meaningful educational opportunities for Peru State College students. A member of our social science faculty, she brings history, society, and government to life in her classes,” said Dr. Michael Evans, President of Peru State College. “Dr. Nehls maintains a steady, positive presence on campus. She maintains high standards for her students, supports them vigorously as they work to meet her expectations, and contributes to the success of the College in myriad ways.”

“Kathi has grown as an educator, using feedback to inform course revisions and reflective practices to ensure she is continuously improving. She employs high-impact practices throughout her courses, has encouraged undergraduate research, and designed her courses to be writing intensive. Further, she is consistently available to her students, engages with them outside of the classroom, and has worked hard to create a welcoming and inclusive learning environment that prioritizes student success,” said Dr. Wendy Waugh, Vice President of Academic Affairs. “Dr. Kathi Nehls is a kind and engaging member of the Peru State College family. A mentor and role model to students and her colleagues, she truly exemplifies “teaching excellence” and is very deserving of this recognition.”

“Dr. Nehls has made significant contributions to the college and community through her service on various standing and ad hoc committees. Since her arrival at Peru Ste, Dr. Nehls has updated much of the history curricula and has added a certificate of public history to the college’s area of study. Her efforts have played a pivotal role in enhancing the quality of the history program,” said Dr. Paul Hinrichs, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. 

“Her dedication to her students and the College is unmatched and seamlessly exemplifies Peru State’s mission of providing students of all backgrounds access to engaging educational experiences, making Dr. Nehls a perfect fit for this award,” said Dr. Charles Hicks, Associate Professor of English at Peru State. 

“Dr. Nehls is one of those rare people that you encounter in your life, and you are forever changed for the better. The care she has for her students goes beyond the classroom and I am just one of many examples. She pushes you when you think you have nothing left to give and she believes in you when you do not believe in yourself. My life has been forever changed by Dr. Kathi Nehls,” said Peru State graduate and former student Brooklyn Franco ‘22.

“I am honored to be this year’s recipient of the NCSC Teaching Excellence Award. I am grateful for the support of my Dean, Paul Hinrichs, for nominating me, and my colleagues Drs. Phillips and Hicks, who wrote generous letters of support. I am especially, thankful to my former student, Brooklyn Franco, whose letter of support reminded me of why I do what I do and why I can’t imagine doing it anywhere but at Peru State College.,” said Dr. Kathi Nehls, Associate Professor of History in the School of Arts and Sciences. 

Nehls earned her PhD in history from the University of Georgia, and bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Central Oklahoma.

"I am a first-generation student, and it was a really hard decision for me to attend college or not. Then, I found Peru State College. With the scholarships and affordable living expenses here, Peru made the decision a lot less difficult."

Photo of Carlene Riley

Carlene Riley

Peru State College