Salestrom Named SCC's Outstanding Faculty Member at NCCA
Nicholas Salestrom was named the 2023 Nebraska Community College Association Outstanding Faculty Member for Southeast Community College. He received the award on Sunday, Nov. 5, at the Annual Conference in North Platte, Nebraska.
“It’s deeply, deeply humbling to receive this award,” Salestrom said. “Every day I work with students who face more challenges than I could have ever imagined facing when I was in college, and yet, here they are, showing up and working hard. Every day I work with educators who teach courses and create programs to help students in ways I never would have thought of. I’m elated when I can point at our students and teachers and say, ‘Look at what they’re doing! Isn’t that amazing?’ I’m fortunate because I have reason to say that all the time.”
As an undergraduate, Salestrom studied fine art and has a Master of Arts degree in Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education as well as a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing and Media Arts. He began teaching at SCC as an adjunct instructor in 2013. In 2015, he applied for a full-time position on the Beatrice Campus and has been there ever since as an English instructor. He also serves as the program chair for the Beatrice English and Humanities programs.
“The best part about working at SCC is the students,” he explained. “I grew up in the same region of Nebraska that SCC serves, so I share common experiences with many students with whom I work. Every time I meet a student from a background different from my own, my perspective of my community is enriched immeasurably.”
Always wanting the best classroom experience for his students, Salestrom was working on enhanced digital learning spaces before the COVID-19 pandemic, which proved beneficial when the College went remote with certain classes in March 2020. He explored and piloted a number of courses taught via Zoom to facilitate collaboration opportunities between the Beatrice Campus and the six SCC Learning Centers. Through this process, he developed classroom etiquette norms for digital learning spaces which he presented to the SCC Board of Governors in 2018.
Salestrom believes he plays an important role in making the mission of SCC come to life. He empowers and transforms diverse learners and communities of southeast Nebraska by serving as a member of the Engaged Learning team, the Learning and Technology team and the Accreditation Steering Committee.
“A community college’s role is to serve its community,” Salestrom said. “When someone is there ready to further their education, we’re there, ready to help them along the path.”
Dr. Carolee Ritter, dean of SCC’s Arts & Sciences Division, praised Salestrom for his passion and commitment to excellence.
“I hired Nick as an adjunct English instructor nearly 10 years ago, and it became apparent very early on that he was someone I wanted to bring on board as a full-time permanent faculty member,” Ritter said. “His demonstrated excellence and innovation in the classroom, on top of his initiative and service to the College, make him stand out as an extraordinary faculty member.”
The NCCA is comprised of five member schools: Central, Mid-Plains, Northeast, Southeast, and Western Nebraska. Each year the NCCA holds its annual meeting at one of the member schools and awards Faculty, Governor, Administrator, and Friend of the year awards, along with a Distinguished Alumni Award.