Vicki Rethmeier, an instructor in Southeast Community College’s Food Service/Hospitality program, is the recipient of the Nebraska Community College Association’s Faculty Member Award for 2014.
Rethmeier received the award Monday night during an awards ceremony at the Embassy Suites in downtown Lincoln. Dr. Tom Perkins, president of the NCCA.
“If it wouldn’t have been for all of the mentors guiding me and supporting me, I wouldn’t be here,” Rethmeier said. “I’d like to thank Southeast Community College for giving me the opportunity to succeed.”
Rethmeier has been a Food Service/Hospitality program faculty member since October 2008. Jo Taylor, chair of the program, praised Rethmeier for the work she has done for students and the program.
“She is a loyal, devoted employee of the College, but even more devoted to our students,” Taylor said. “What sets her apart as a faculty member is her ability to get students excited about the topic at hand with her contagious smile and endless enthusiasm. She is friendly, understanding and sympathetic. However, she always makes her students accountable, many times without them even knowing it.”
Rethmeier is involved in numerous projects at SCC, including the Engaged Learning Experience team. As a result of her work with ELE, Rethmeier uses many engaged learning tools and activities in all of her classes, as well as assisted the rest of the faculty on ideas for engaged learning for all Food Service/Hospitality program classes.
Rethmeier has been involved in the remodeling of the program’s laboratory teaching areas. She has a work background in designing a kitchen and teaches the Layout and Design class.
“She cares enough about the program and the students to work at getting the best possible lab spaces, even though she personally does not teach a lab class,” Taylor said. “She then involves her Layout and Design students in the actual remodeling project.”
Taylor said the program developed a proficiency exam for its students to take before they can graduate.
“Vicki has been very involved in helping with changes which need to be made, both in the exam itself and also in using the exam as an assessment tool to help faculty see the weaknesses and then change and develop curriculum to strengthen teaching in these areas,” Taylor said.
Taylor also cited Rethmeier’s assistance in the program’s self-study reports required for accreditation and her help in preparing for the site visits.
“She is a great asset to all of the faculty for brainstorming ideas as to how we can be better as faculty and as a program,” Taylor said. “She understands that Food Service/Hospitality students are customers, as do all of the faculty, and she treats the students accordingly.”
Earlier this year Rethmeier was chosen as the recipient of the Wekesser Outstanding Teacher Award on SCC’s Lincoln Campus.
“I am very proud to have Vicki as a faculty member in our program,” Taylor said. “I’m proud of the way she conducts herself in and out of the classroom, and I’m proud of the way she positively impacts our students.”
Rethmeier and husband Bill have three children: Hannah and Sean Rethmeier and David Zillig. Vicki’s parents are Robert and Carolyn Ohnoutka. All were in attendance Monday night.