Faculty members recognized as leaders in Kansas higher education


The Kansas Independent College Association (KICA) proudly announced the selection of twenty Kansas college faculty members who have been identified as the future leaders of Kansas higher education. Two Hesston College faculty members, Amy Birdsell, aviation, and Heidi Hochstetler, ACESS director, are among those recognized.

Together the twenty recipients will comprise the second class of participants in KICA’s Aspiring Campus Leaders Academy. The Academy is the outgrowth of several years of conversation about the lack of high quality training opportunities targeted for those in academics, not administration, at smaller, private colleges like the member KICA institutions. The Academy will feature learning opportunities-focused tactical tools such as budgeting, governance, data trends, hiring, faculty evaluation tools and more.

Birdsell has been teaching at Hesston College since 2005. A graduate of Hesston’s aviation program, she has a master’s in aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach, Fla.) and an undergraduate degree from MidAmerica Nazarene University.

“I choose to teach at Hesston College because of the strong community of colleagues and the joy of helping student succeed in aviation,” said Birdsell.

Hochstetler has been director of Hesston’s ACCESS tutoring lab and teaches writing courses since 2013. A graduate of Hesston College, she earned an undergraduate degree in English and language arts with an education endorsement and a master’s degree in education with emphasis on curriculum and instruction and an English as a Second Language endorsement from Doane College (Crete, Neb.).

“I enjoy the connections I get to make with students as they increase their knowledge, hone new skills and wrestle with difficult ideas,” said Hochstetler. “It’s such a reward to see the small successes that lead to the big payoff at the end.”

“At Kansas’ independent colleges, we know that our most important job by far is to provide a vibrant, relevant, high-quality education to each and every student that enters our doors,” said Matt Lindsey, KICA president. “To invest in the future leadership of our member institutions is to invest in their students, and our communities as a whole.”

KICA develops and enhances the competitive standing of its 19 member independent, non-profit, regionally accredited, degree-granting colleges and universities and strives to assure opportunity and choice in higher education for all students.