By Jeff Murphy, March 18, 2016
WARRENSBURG, MO – Praised by professional colleagues for his commitment to a strong pedagogy program and innovative approach to education , Ken Bias on Friday, March 18, was named the University of Central Missouri’s recipient of the Governor’s Excellence in Education Award. The announcement of the award selection was made during a meeting of the Board of Governors. Bias, an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Kinesiology whose focus is on physical education teacher education, will now be honored during an awards luncheon hosted by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon April 13 Jefferson City.
The annual awards program is made possible by the Missouri Council on Public Higher Education. Public colleges and universities select Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education recipients on the basis of criteria that include effective teaching at the undergraduate level, effective advising of undergraduate students, service to the college community, and commitment to high standards of excellence. Other qualities include success in nurturing student achievement and the impact nominees have had on the academic and personal lives of their students. Applications for the award were considered by a committee of tenured faculty members.
“It is an honor just to be nominated for the award, but to receive it is very humbling,” said Bias, who has been described as a “Master Teacher” because of his strong commitment to UCM students.
“I always say that the best day of the week is Monday because it gives me five days to teach,” Bias said.
A UCM alumnus, Bias earned a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education degree and Master of Science in Pedagogy degree from the university. He also earned a Master of Science in Education degree from William Woods University in Fulton, and a Doctor of Education in Teacher Leadership from North Central University in Prescott, Ariz.
He came to UCM in 2008 as an assistant professor of kinesiology, having spent about a decade teaching physical education courses to public elementary school students in the Raymore-Peculiar School District. Some of his former elementary students went on to study under Bias at UCM, joining other students who benefitted from his ability to share what he learned from his real-life experiences.
One of Bias’ former UCM educators, Scott Strohmeyer, professor in the Department of Nutrition and Kinesiology, praised his tireless work to not only maintain the department’s high expectations for future teachers, but to strengthen the reputation of an already strong pedagogy program through timely curriculum development and planning. He also commended Bias for helping students with special needs to succeed in their education at UCM.
“Dr. Bias has partnered in a big way with the THRIVE program here at UCM,” Strohmeyer noted. “He has not only welcomed the special needs students into our ranks, but used the opportunity to help our majors gain ‘real’ experience working with special needs folks in the Adapted Physical Education course required of all majors. This program is unique to UCM.”
Those who have worked with Bias also have described him as “a scholar and educator who personifies dedication to excellence in instruction.” He works to ensure that his students advance in their knowledge and skills through the acquisition of progressive equipment and technology that will help them stay up to date in their field. He also sets high expectations for his students, serves as an advisor and mentor, and involves his students in research projects to show them how theory can be applied in a real-world setting. His use of research and his technical skills have helped to make him an effective teacher in the classroom.
To demonstrate his commitment to excellence as an educator, and the inspiration he provides others, Bias was recently selected as a Wakonse Fellow by the College of Health, Science, and Technology. His peers also nominated him as an Outstanding Mentor of the Year for one of his profession’s leading associations.
Bias has a strong record of participation on committees at the departmental, college, and university levels covering areas related to the professional education faculty, curriculum, distance learning, faculty scholarship, student affairs, and much more. He has made presentations across the nation to groups such as the National Association for Kinesiology and Physical Education in Higher Education and the American Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, and to the association’s state organizations in Missouri and Florida.
His dedication to scholarship includes publishing a book Teaching Physical Education, and writing or co-writing numerous articles that have been published in physical education journals.