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Columbus Campus Honors Outstanding Faculty, Employee
Nebraska Ag Connection - 05/18/2017

Central Community College-Columbus has named Gary Senff as Faculty Member of the Year and Marti Honke as the Employee of the Year.

The Faculty Member of the Year award is given annually to a Columbus Campus faculty member who displays excellence and innovation in teaching; rapport with students; and institutional, professional and community involvement.

This is the second time the Faculty Member of the Year Award has been given to Senff, who has been a welding instructor at CCC-Columbus since 1979. He received the award for the first time in 1998.

Nominators cited his high expectations for his students and his willingness to invest additional time working one-on-one with them. They also noted his emphasis on integrity, work ethic, quality and dependability.

"He has demonstrated excellence in teaching through classroom knowledge, skill development and practical application," one nominator said. "He's dedicated to his work and his students. He knows industrial needs and standards, so he constantly coaches his students to prepare them for success."

"He's hard on me, always telling me what I should be doing and how to better myself," said one student nominator. "He is more than a teacher to me. He is a friend and someone who cares about me and my future. He makes me want to try harder to make him proud of me."

"Students are the main objective," said yet another nominator. "He is always willing to assist, knowing that what he is doing will improve students. He's here to make lives better."

Senff himself is a former Central Community College student, He graduated in 1972 with an associate of applied science degree in welding technology from CCC's Hastings Campus.

He previously worked as a welder at Schwitz Dairy Equipment in Fullerton and Nebraska Public Power District's Cooper Nuclear Station in Brownville and as a welding lab assistant at CCC-Hastings. A position with Holbart Brothers, which is based in Troy, Ohio, took him all over the country as well as to Korea, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Venezuela and the Philippines.

He is a member and Certified Welding Inspector through the American Welding Society. In 1999, he was named the American Community College Association's Western Region Faculty Member of the Year, a prestigious national award.

The Employee of the Year award is presented annually to a Columbus Campus employee who demonstrates dedication, enthusiasm and innovation as well as a rapport with students and other staff members and a willingness to go the extra mile.

Marti Honke started working as a part-time administrative assistant in the CCC-Columbus extended learning services (ELS) office in 1989 and was promoted to full-time status in 1991.

Nominators cited her strong working relationship with her co-workers, attention to detail, and her ability to anticipate and address problems before they occur.

"Marti has demonstrated her dedication and loyalty to ELS and CCC during her many years of employment," one nominator said. "Marti's commitment to her job includes making sure that all the necessary tasks are completed to ensure the success of many classes and workshops."

Nominators also mentioned her other contributions to CCC-Columbus, including serving as a Campus Safety Committee member and CCC emergency building captain.

Since 2014, she has served as president of the campus support staff, a role in which "she has worked hard at making the meetings meaningful by lining up guest speakers and putting together an agenda with pertinent information for the support staff. She has led the efforts of fundraising for the support staff's student scholarship" said another nominator. "Marti is an outstanding employee and a positive representative of Central Community College"

Prior to joining the CCC staff, Honke was a stay-at-home mom who volunteered at St. Isidore's and Scotus Catholic Schools where her children were students. She also did some part-time work as an aide in one of the public elementary schools.

She graduated from North Loup-Scotia High School in 1968 and went on to earn a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

She is a member of St. Isidore's Catholic Church and is a 9 1/2-gallon blood donor for the American Red Cross.

She and her husband, Mike, have three children: Heather Schroder and Beth Babel, both of Columbus, and Matthew Honke of Roca. They also have four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

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