Each year, the UM-Flint Staff Council's Staff Recognition Award is given to deserving candidates who have been nominated by supervisors or colleagues from around the university. The award criteria focus on leadership, teamwork, service, and dedication.
In 2016, nearly twenty deserving candidates were considered before two winners were selected. However, being nominated is an honor in and of itself. We would like to highlight those nominated and share their stories as submitted by their nominators.
Meet Brandon Blinkenberg
Brandon Blinkenberg has been with the University of Michigan-Flint since 2012. He works in the Office of Extended Learning (OEL) as a Senior Instructional Designer.
He was nominated by Beverly Jones of UM-Flint Nursing and the nomination was supported by Nick Gaspar, his supervisor in OEL; Hiba Wehbe-Alamah, associate professor of nursing; and Barbara Hollie, assistant professor of nursing.
Much of Blinkenberg's nomination centered around his creation of a comprehensive Course Redesign Program for online courses. This course continues today and Blinkenberg serves as its lead instructor. According to Jones, "Brandon's efforts have translated into better learning experiences and outcomes for students on our campus. More than 100 faculty have been through the program and many more course sections have been improved as a result."
Hollie noted, "His belief about and consistent commitment to student centeredness and teaching-learning excellence is verbally communicated as well as demonstrated repeatedly as he helps faculty become technologically skillful. He has helped me and others employ the computer to create community among students and connect more effectively with them in a variety of ways." Wehbe-Alamah added, "If Mr. Blinkenberg was working in Hollywood, he would be eligible for an Oscar."
Part of the UM-Flint Team
As part of the OEL Instruction Team, Blinkenberg works with UM-Flint faculty and staff as a mentor, collaborator, and content expert.
Each year he works with Dr. Tom Wrobel of the Department of Psychology on the New Student Convocation. He has worked with Dr. Jamie Creps of Physical Therapy to develop physical exam videos for the online PT program. And he did notable work with Communication's Dr. Charles Apple when converting the text-based Film Genre course into a multimedia/video-based course. He has been especially helpful to UM-Flint nursing faculty in creating introductions, assignments, and simulations for their online students.
Blinkenberg has served for four years on the Thompson Center for Learning and Teaching's Advisory Board. There, according to Jones, he "acts to represent and advocate for the needs of faculty who are teaching online and/or mixed mode."
Jones closed her nominating letter with some words about her nominee as a person, "Brandon Blinkenberg is well known for his quiet professional demeanor. Individuals who work with him praise his commitment to quality, respectful comradery, and honorableness. Brandon has a visible sense of sincerity that accompanies a wonderful sense of humor. He laughs easily and often. His performance and commitment are consistent. Both of which are executed with observable responsibleness. Brandon is reliable and can be counted on to do what he is asked, what he volunteers to do or what he thinks needs doing. Brandon is a staff person who represents the University of Michigan-Flint and all of us well."
Congratulations to Brandon on his nomination!