University News | awards | LTAGD

Psychology Professor, Student from Sedalia Receive Learning to a Greater Degree Awards

By Jeff Murphy, December 17, 2018

WARRENSBURG, MO – Setting an example to which others may aspire, longtime educator David Kreiner, Ph.D., and an undergraduate student Daniel Akin,  Sedalia, received Learning to a Greater Degree Awards for the fall 2018 semester at the University of Central Missouri. Separate awards recognizing Kreiner as the faculty-staff recipient, and Akin as the student recipient, were presented during the UCM Board of Governors meeting Dec. 7.

Award recipients were announced by Kelly Waldram Cramer, director of the Office of Integrated Marketing and Communications. She noted that the awards are given during the fall and spring semesters, and individuals selected for the awards are nominated by UCM faculty, staff and students.

Learning to a Greater Degree (LTAGD) conveys the essence of UCM as an institution which promises students the opportunity to experience engaged learning, future-focused academics, a worldly perspective and a culture of service. Members of the UCM community who are nominated for LTAGD awards support these reasons to believe and give life to these promises. Individuals recognized are honored publicly by the governing board and have their names added to a plaque displayed in the lobby of the Administration Building.


LTAGD Award - David Kreiner, Ph.D.

From left to right: University of Central Missouri Board President John A. Collier, Learning To a Greater Degree Award recipient David Kreiner, Ph.D., and UCM President Dr. Roger Best.

Kreiner is a professor and chair of the School of Nutrition, Kinesiology and Psychological Science who has served UCM 28 years. As the faculty award winner, he was nominated by a student who noted that he is a prime example of the first-class faculty members who serve UCM and its students. Kreiner has been a faithful servant to the university and his discipline, while staying committed to providing quality education and mentoring to his staff and students. Most importantly, he values a worldly perspective and continues to contribute to the body of psychological knowledge and teaching of psychology that will affect individuals in his discipline for years to come.

In addition to teaching, Kreiner has served in several leadership positions during his tenure.  He also has chaired a number of committees, is the Chapter Advisor for the UCM Psi Chi International Society, and was the originator of the Psychology Research Talks.

According to the nomination, Kreiner “challenges his students to pursue their own research and often advises and assists them in bringing those projects to fruition.” He is an “engaging professor who often employs teaching techniques that make even the non-psychology majors interested the material presented in the course.” He also pursues success in his own classrooms and produces research to help others be successful in teaching and learning.

Kreiner serves his discipline by volunteering as a research reviewer for 23 research journals. His own research is featured in 66 journal publications worldwide and he has reviewed a variety of books and authored essays, 36 of which have been published in research journals, magazines, and books.

The semester’s LTAGD faculty honoree also has received nine Outstanding Professor of Psychology awards at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In the Department of Psychological Science and two Advisor of the Year awards at UCM. His many professional accolades include receiving the Missouri Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Frank Costin Award for Excellence in the teaching of psychology, and the Byler Distinguished Faculty Award, the top honor given to a UCM faculty member.

LTAGD Award - Daniel Akin

From left to right: University of Central Missouri Board President John A. Collier, Learning To a Greater Degree Award recipient Daniel Akin, and UCM President Dr. Roger Best.


This semester’s LTAGD student honoree, Daniel Akin, is seeking a double major in biology and modern languages specializing in German language and culture. He was nominated for the LTAGD Award by a faculty member who stated that he “embodies everything we want to see in our students at UCM. He is intelligent, eager, curious, and methodical.”

His nominator praised Akin’s commitment to engaged learning, contributing to a culture of service and global perspective through his “unceasing curiosity of the natural world and overall thirst for knowledge.”

During his time at UCM, Akin has participated in multiple research opportunities. He has given presentations on his own research at local and national meetings, including the UCM Undergraduate Scholars’ Symposium, the Kappa Mu Epsilon Regional Convention, the Missouri Natural Resources Conference, and the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists in Rochester, N.Y. He presented a poster of a research project at the Missouri Natural Resources Conference, and is the lead investigator for UCM’s contracted survey work through the Missouri Department of Conservation regarding eastern cottontail rabbits at two conservation areas in the state.

Akin is the student representative on UCM’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, and is involved with several student organizations. He has served as president of the student chapter of the Wildlife Society, is currently the vice president of the student chapter of the American Fisheries Society and also has been a member of Kappa Mu Epsilon Mathematics Society. His involvement on campus includes serving as an Elliott Student Union building supervisor, math tutor, and college algebra teaching assistant. He put opportunity in action by spending two semesters as a study abroad student in Germany.

By their actions, both Kreiner and Akin truly contribute to a campus that is dedicated to creating a living and learning environment where students can experience learning to a greater degree and are worthy of recognition.


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