A Herzing University Online instructor received national recognition for her work as an online teacher with the Menomonee Falls-based school.
Michelle Kosalka was named Teacher of the Year by the Association for Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU). Kosalka is the General Education Chair for English and Communications for the online university. In addition, Herzing University – New Orleans instructor Dr. Mary Green was named the runner-up Teacher of the Year with an Honorable Mention.
"I was thrilled and very excited. It was a moment when I had a chance to reflect back on the students that I had throughout the year and think about the changes that they’ve gone through as students. And also the things were doing to work toward an education," Kosalka said. "It was very rewarding and a great honor."
Kosalka received the award in Dallas earlier this summer and got a chance to speak in front of the convention about teaching while putting in a plug for her own school.
“I also got to talk about Herzing University which was wonderful,” Kosalka added.
Kosalka has been working at Herzing University since 2009, holding a position in the Curriculum Development Department. Last year, she was promoted to her current position. She holds a bachelor’s degree in both English and Psychology, a master’s degree in English Literature, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in English.
Herzing University has been serving thousands of students across the United States since 2003. Its programs are specifically designed to prepare students for careers in the fields of technology, business, healthcare, design and public safety. Herzing also has ground campus locations throughout the United States.
“We are a career college so we specialize in programs for students who want to go out into the career world,” said Kosalka. “We also have bachelor’s programs and a couple of master’s degree programs.”
As the world of higher education continues to evolve, more and more students are choosing the online option. But just because the educational experience takes place in cyberspace, doesn’t mean the students and teacher are totally detached.
“There are ways that you can build community in the online classroom,” Kosalka said. “We have a discussion board that we start in the first few days of the course where we call it the ‘Meet and Greet.’ Students can share a little bit of their background, why they’re in the class and what they are hoping to do with their degree. Instructors can go in it and we can all respond and hear each other’s stories and learn more about each other.”
Once the online rapport gets established, the students and the teacher have an easier time working through problems, as well as strengthening their lines of communication. What’s more, Kosalka says that Herzing’s online student community is growing.
“Over the past year or so, we’ve grown a lot,” Kosalka said. “We’ve added new students and new staff so it’s a very exciting time for the university.”