Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Service Area honors top instructors

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SOURCE: News release from Ivy Tech Community College’s Kokomo Service Area

KOKOMO, Ind. — Ivy Tech Community College’s Kokomo Service Area is honoring two instructors with the region’s top awards for excellence in instruction during the online commencement ceremony that premieres June 19.

Allison Toren of Kokomo, department chair of Liberal Arts and Sciences and program chair of Communication and Student Success, is being honored as Ivy Tech Kokomo Service Area’s 2019-20 President’s Award recipient and regional nominee for the Glenn W. Sample Award for Excellence in Instruction, the College’s highest honor for faculty. Sean Kinney, an adjunct instructor in the Criminal Justice program, is the recipient of the region’s 2019-20 Adjunct Faculty Award and regional nominee for the statewide Gerald I. Lamkin Award for Excellence in Instruction.

“These are the top awards presented to Ivy Tech instructors each year, recognizing the winners’ excellence in instruction and dedication to Ivy Tech’s mission of providing world-class educational opportunities in support of our communities,” said Chancellor Dean McCurdy.

“Both Allison and Sean bring to their classroom a commitment to their students that ensures those students have the support they need and the very best chance of success,” he continued. “We are proud to honor them as outstanding representatives of our full-time and adjunct faculty.”

Allison Toren

Allison Toren

Toren began her career at Ivy Tech as an adjunct instructor in 2005 and has been a member of the full-time faculty since January 2015, bringing her enthusiasm for higher education – and improving the world around her – to her students and coworkers. When she graduated from college, Toren said she knew she wanted a job where she could change lives and thus change the world. Her experiences have led her to believe that teaching allows her to do just that.

Toren earned a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from Malone University and a master’s degree in communication from Abilene Christian University, where she got her first taste of teaching public speaking.

“We all know public speaking and interpersonal communication can be nerve-wracking – and one of the course requirements students most often dread,” said Ethan Heicher, vice chancellor of Academic Affairs. “Allison’s bubbly personality and reassuring style has helped our students come out of their shells. Thanks to Allison, they’ve gained critical soft skills in communication that help them in their future classes and in their future careers.”

Toren is active in a number of college and community programs and organizations, including leadership in Ivy Tech’s annual Doing the Dream project, serving through First Evangelical Presbyterian, Church and volunteering as a tutor with Bridges Outreach.

In nominating Toren for the award, other faculty members noted she is an excellent role model for her students. Through both her work at the college and in the community, they wrote, Toren exemplifies passion, commitment, education, and service, and instills these values in her students.

Sean Kinney

Sean Kinney

Since at least 2002, Kinney has brought his interest in public service and social service to the halls of Ivy Tech as an instructor of Criminal Justice. He also brings to his classroom more than three decades of experience as a Kokomo Police officer and criminologist nationally known in the world of forensic science.

Kinney earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in criminology, both from Indiana State University, and continued with his education with numerous graduate school certificates and certification in everything from homeland security to forensics to crime scene examiner to medical investigator. His education and his professional experience prepared him to teach virtually every course in the Ivy Tech criminal justice curriculum.

As Professor Michael Holsapple, chair of the Criminal Justice program, wrote: “Sean became in no small measure a criminalist in demand from competing universities, organizations, and local, state, and federal agencies as an instructor, trainer, speaker and program initiator” … but “it was the students of Ivy Tech that Sean has devoted his interests and talents to.”

Kinney’s dedication to students in their pursuit of learning is unmatched, a quality that has inspired many criminal justice students over his nearly two decades at Ivy Tech, Holsapple wrote. Students describe him as memorable, not only for his teaching style and his personal stories but also for his consideration and support.

Winners of the statewide Glenn W. Sample and Gerald I. Lamkin awards for excellence in instruction will be announced later this year.