Kircher earns NCCA Administrator’s Award
Sharon Kircher received the Administrator’s Award from the Nebraska Community College Association Sunday night during the NCCA’s annual conference in Scottsbluff.
As the Business and Community Education coordinator for Mid-Plains Community College, Kircher works with area businesses to create training courses and professional development opportunities.
“Sharon is a strong, self-motivated employee who is always looking for creative ways to ensure that MPCC continues to transform the lives of students and community members,” her nomination letter reads. “She frequently travels around MPCC’s 18-county service area, developing relationships with businesses, organizations and students to build awareness, increase support and share resources. Sharon believes in the college and can be heard on radio stations providing a positive endorsement of MPCC and its mission.”
Part of Kircher’s responsibilities are to promote student success and opportunities outside of the traditional classroom environment.
As part of that effort, Kircher has expanded the youth programming offered through MPCC by hosting after school and summer classes ranging from art, science, theater and safety to music, computer and STEM education.
She also assisted in the development and registration of the Nebraska Workforce Retraining Initiative and the creation of blended coursework formatting for students during the pandemic.
Through blended course offerings, students could take non-credit classes in a variety of formats such as Zoom, Canvas, in-person, distance learning and online.
As the MPCC GAP coordinator, Kircher takes care of financial aid for short-term training for high demand jobs. She meets with students to determine their qualification for the program and assists them in finding the right educational training, whether it be for-credit or non-credit courses.
Probably one of her greatest accomplishments, however, has been her collaboration with the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services Work Ethic Camp in McCook. That resulted in training courses to discourage recidivism and provide incarcerated individuals with opportunities to obtain vocational certifications that could aid them in finding employment after release.
Kircher’s department also works with Southwest Nebraska businesses to put on the Hormel Entrepreneurship Competition - offered every other year to contestants from seven communities to support economic growth.
Her advice and mentorship with that competition has led to similar contests in other MPCC communities, including Ogallala and Valentine.
“Sharon is known as the ‘Keeper of the Flame’,” her nomination letter reads. “Among many other things, she assures accurate representation of all non-credit registrations through MPCC and is responsible for report creation for area outreach and Business and Community Education departments, including accurate and diligent preparation of audits, the weight book and FTE/REU reporting.”
Kircher has served as an adjunct instructor, Student Senate advisor and Phi Theta Kappa, Eta Omicron chapter advisor supporting student growth and leadership.
She is a member of the college’s Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) Internal Customer Service team, the AQIP Enhancing Career Service Offerings team and the AQIP and Strategic Planning: Meeting Needs of Business and Industry Members team. All of the committees are tasked with assisting the college in obtaining accreditation, while holding to the institution’s high standards.
Kircher serves on various search committees within MPCC to find highly qualified employees to join the Mid-Plains Community College family. She has served as a member of the institution’s technology team, as an outreach team member and as a student orientation team member.
Among her many accomplishments, Kircher received the Phi Theta Kappa Hallmark Paragon Adviser Award in 2008, the McCook Rotary Club Rotarian of the Year Award in 2016 and the McCook Rotary Club Service Award in 2018.
Additionally, Sharon serves on the committee for the Buffalo Commons Storytelling and Music Festival and received the Buffalo Commons Storytelling and Music Festival Master Storyteller award in 2016.