MCC-Longview’s Keet Kopecky honored for Excellence in Teaching

Biology instructor Keet Kopecky has been named MCC-Longview’s recipient of the 2017 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Keet Kopecky

The annual accolade goes to instructors from each community college campus in Missouri.

“I am very humbled to have received this recognition, because it represents the consensus of my fellow faculty members, all of whom are truly amazing educators,” says Kopecky. “I am most grateful for their kindness in honoring me with this award.”

Kopecky has served MCC, its students and the community since 1977, when he started as an adjunct biology instructor on the MCC-Penn Valley campus. His full-time role at MCC-Longview began in 1988.

“He is continuing to provide a wonderful environment to our students,” says Kirk Nooks, Ed.D., MCC-Longview president. “I can’t thank him enough for his dedication.”

Kopecky’s leadership at MCC is extraordinary in its scope and impact. To name a few of his contributions: honors program director, MCC dual-credit faculty exchange pioneer, MCC distance education pioneer, international studies curriculum pioneer (more than 30 trips abroad), Student Government Association adviser and Phi Theta Kappa adviser.

His contributions outside the classroom include a relationship he started in 1988 by involving students in service learning with community partner Lakeside Nature Center and its annual Project Blue River Rescue.  Kopecky’s classes are now the longest continuously volunteering organization involved in the project. The students will serve again this year at the cleanup on Saturday, April 1.

Kopecky’s MCC-Longview students created seven tire chains at Blue Valley Park in 2011, removing more than 600 tires.

MCC-Longview alum Andrea Johnson credits Kopecky for doing a great job getting students outside to study science.

“Being outside is where you are the closest to nature, and that’s where science lives. Keet Kopecky did a wonderful job nurturing my interests as well as so many other students,” Johnson said in 2014.

Johnson, now a park naturalist at the Ernie Miller Nature Center in Olathe, participated in Kopecky’s international field biology class and traveled to Belize and Guatemala. For more of Johnson’s student success story, click here.

This will be the second time Kopecky has been honored with the Excellence in Teaching award. The first time was 20 years ago, in 1997. This latest award will be handed out at a ceremony on April 12.

Kopecky has two master’s degrees from the University of Missouri-Kansas City: one in botany and ecology, and one in higher education curriculum and instruction.