Endowed Faculty Chairs

A Note from Our President:

I am amazed by the work being done by the Kirkwood faculty on a daily basis. Their passion for supporting student success is truly inspiring. It’s that high level of commitment to those we serve that has helped make this college one of the premier two-year institutions in the country.

The Endowed Faculty Chair awards support our faculty so they can continue to grow as educators to ensure our students receive the highest quality education possible. These awards are an investment in those who teach that will pay huge dividends in student success for years to come.

Dr. Kristie Fisher


What Are the Endowed Faculty Chair Awards?

The Endowed Faculty Chair awards were initiated to honor retiring President Dr. Norm Nielsen in December 2004. Endowed Faculty Chairs provide an opportunity for selected faculty to undertake professional development projects in their disciplines or in instructional pedagogy through writing, preparing, and presenting a special lecture, conducting research, or pursuing other opportunities.

The emphasis is on personal and professional growth and is separate from assigned duties, routine work, or service to the department.

The goals for the Endowed Faculty Chair program are to:

  • Encourage faculty to pursue educational challenges with creativity and innovation
  • Promote academic quality by supporting faculty commitment to educational and pedagogical excellence
  • Promote the college’s name in connection with educational excellence
  • Bring community leaders and faculty together in a commitment to excellence in education

The Endowed Faculty Chair program is a major effort by the Kirkwood Board of Trustees and the Kirkwood Foundation Board to demonstrate their commitment to quality instruction by recognizing and fostering instructional excellence and lifelong learning.


2023 – ’24 Endowed Faculty Chair Award Winners

Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Endowed Chair

Joe Greathouse
Joe Greathouse

Incorporating Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality into Course Curriculum

Joe Greathouse, from the Department of Industrial Technologies, is researching ways to integrate Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) into the construction curriculum. The objective is to enhance the educational experience by making learning more engaging and supportive for students. This initiative will explore how AR and VR can elevate student engagement levels and assist educators in tailoring their instruction to accommodate individual students' diverse learning styles and needs.

The strategy involves integrating AR and VR technologies to enrich the learning environment. The process includes identifying the most effective AR and VR tools, implementing them in classroom settings for trial runs, and then integrating them into regular teaching practices. The effectiveness of this project will be evaluated by monitoring student academic performance and gathering their insights through surveys and interviews to gain a comprehensive understanding of the impact of these technologies on the learning process.

Kirkwood Endowed Faculty Chair

Dr. Arthur (Art) Khaw
Arthur (Art) Khaw

Retire or Refire: Pathways to Understanding Retirement Preparedness and Satisfaction

Today, retirement is a new stage in the life cycle of an increasing number of people. With the rapid increase in the retired population, there is a growing realization that people need to prepare for retirement. It can be a traumatic time in an individual’s life since permanent departure from a job is an event of personal and social significance. Retirement is a challenge that, as a process, influences the individual’s available resources, expectations, life patterns, role, and status.

The goal of this project is to identify the attitudes, behaviors, characteristics and traits of the “happiest” retirees (retirees who are satisfied with their retirement years). My research project will contribute to the life satisfaction discussion and pattern of explanations of such a prominent life cycle event; the entrance into retirement. Specifically, my research study will center on the following question: What are the keys to a successful retirement?

Kirkwood Endowed Faculty Chair

Christine Flavin
Christine Flavin

Mission Héliographique Redux: Retracing the visionary civic and artistic project of the first photographic practitioners

In 1851, the Commission des Monuments Historiques, an agency of the French government, selected five photographers to make photographic surveys of the nation's architectural patrimony. The photographers carried out their missions in the summer and fall of 1851, returning to Paris with portfolios of negatives. The Commission des Monuments Historiques “Congratulated them, received their 258 negatives and locked them in a drawer, neither authorizing nor even tolerating their publication.” Nearly 175 years later, the images remain in drawers and are rarely shown. The monuments and architecture remain standing throughout France but in starkly different surroundings. For the past ten years, I have been conducting research on the Héliographique project, traveling to France, and re-photographing the sites to demonstrate the stark differences resulting from social, cultural, and environmental evolution. The Endowed Faculty Chair award has given me the opportunity to continue the project.

Kirkwood Endowed Faculty Chair

Fred Kiser, Ph.D.
Fred Kiser

Using the Teaching Artist Model to Create a Vocal Jazz Based Educational Experience

Jazz, America's musical treasure, resonates throughout our culture. Yet, while high school students enjoy diverse artistic opportunities, elementary and middle school students often miss exposure to jazz's historical and cultural richness. To bridge this gap, I propose a dual-purpose program: immersing Kirkwood vocal jazz students in the cultural and historical study of jazz, and collaborating with a local elementary school for an educational experience teaching artistry and arts integration. An element of vocal jazz, "vocalese," involves composing new text to match the melody of an instrumental solo. In collaboration with an elementary grade class, we will craft original material addressing culturally relevant themes. By sharing the joy of singing, fostering cultural awareness, and inspiring future musicians, this initiative aims to create a lasting impact on students' musical education and appreciation.

2024 – ’25 Endowed Faculty Chair Recipient

Finn Kolsrud

“This Place is For Me”: Facilitating Student Driven Dialogue

Endowed Faculty Chairs are Supported by the following Donors:

The Allsop Family

Diamond V

The Mansfield Trust

The Rohde Family

Ruffalo Noel Levitz

Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie


UnityPoint Health - St. Luke’s Hospital

Kirkwood Foundation


We are grateful to the Endowed Faculty Chair donors and their dedication to supporting excellence in the classroom.

For more information about creating an Endowed Faculty Chair in honor or memory of someone special, contact Jody Pellerin at 319-398-5409 or jody.pellerin@kirkwood.edu.

Kirkwood Foundation
The Kirkwood Foundation exists to bridge the gap between the needs and resources of Kirkwood Community College and its students.