2021 Faculty Excellence winners named

TRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College has announced the winners of its annual Faculty Excellence awards, chosen by a student selection committee.

Lisa BalbachLisa Balbach (download a high-resolution photo)Computer Information Technology instructor Lisa Balbach was named the Imogene Wise Faculty Excellence Award winner. Adjunct English instructor Diane Bolton is the winner of the Adjunct Faculty Excellence Award. Criteria for both awards include teaching excellence, rapport with students, innovation in the classroom and a sense of dedication. Of Balbach, who started teaching at NMC in 2016, students said:

“Professor Balbach provides timely, detailed feedback on assignments and always provides an opportunity to redo/update weekly assignments for resubmission, allowing us to learn from our mistakes.”

“She is incredibly thorough in explaining concepts and provides examples of real-world practical application. Projects are designed to give students practice with concepts, but also allow a great deal of latitude to connect with students' interests.”

“I feel like she will go to the ends of the earth for her students. She'll spend endless time with her students to make sure that each and every one succeeds.”

Diane BoltonAbout Bolton, who first worked at NMC in 2009, students said:

Diane Bolton (download a high-resolution photo)“Instructor Bolton helps the students understand the material by teaching us in a way that we can relate and build from. Ms. Bolton applies what we learn in class to realistic and helpful ways that make our learning and understanding of the material significantly easier.”

“Professor Bolton also maintains an outstanding rapport with students through her communication skills. She encourages everyone to speak and express their thoughts within the class.”

“Diane Bolton schedules an individual conference with each of her students and dedicates 30 minutes purely to their own learning and progress within the class. If that isn't dedication to student learning, then I don't know what is.”

The Faculty Excellence award was initiated by a contribution from longtime NMC benefactors Harold and Imogene Wise in 1970 and first awarded to a full-time faculty member in 1971. The Adjunct Faculty Excellence Award was created in 1999 as a companion.

Release Date: May 7, 2021

For more information:

Diana Fairbanks
Executive Director of Public Relations, Marketing and Communications
(231) 995-1019


Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. nmc.edu/non-discrimination