Peru State College
font size: - | +
print print
News Release

Dr. Kyle Ryan named 2014 Teacher Excellence Award winner


Dr. Kyle Ryan

(Peru, Neb.) Peru State College Associate Professor of Exercise Science Dr. Kyle Ryan has been named the institution’s 2014 Teacher Excellence Award Winner. Ryan will be honored during the college’s graduation ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 10 in the Al Wheeler Activity Center.

President Dan Hanson said, “Among Dr. Ryan's many strengths is his creative approach to enhancing the learning environment for our students through the development of creative programming and partnerships that are often supported by his successful work with grants. Consequently, he creates opportunities for our students to apply what they learn and really make an impact by engaging with our surrounding communities. The community benefits and our students are better prepared for their professions. I congratulate him on this well-deserved honor.”

Ryan said, “It truly is an honor to be mentioned in the same breath as the previous recipients of this award. On those days when the career I value so much threatens to become ‘just another job,’ I look at those award winners still serving in the classroom and realize how fortunate I am to be counted among them. While I am thankful for the opportunities afforded me and appreciative of the support of my peers, my true gratitude extends to those students who willingly rise to the occasion and meet the bar, no matter how high I have set it.”

The Teacher Excellence Award is given annually to one outstanding full-time faculty member at each of the three state colleges, Peru, Wayne and Chadron. To be considered, a faculty member must have a minimum of four years consecutive employment at the college, have taught a minimum of 15 credit hours during the previous academic year, and have an active and positive record of service to students as an academic, professional or personal advisor. Candidates must also have demonstrated involvement in faculty development programs, a superior level of teaching effectiveness and a record of public service.

Recipients of the campus award from each of the colleges are finalists for the Nebraska State College System’s George Rebensdorf Teaching Excellence Award.

Ryan, who joined the Peru State faculty in 2009, serves as the college’s coordinator for the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s (UNMC) Public Health Early Admissions Student Track (PHEAST) program and co-director of the Children’s Health, Activity & Nutrition Community Engagement (CHANCE) Initiative with Associate Professor of Business Dr. Sheri Grotrian-Ryan.

PHEAST is a cooperative program between the Nebraska State College System, UNMC’s College of Public Health and the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Its purpose is to create a pipeline and cadre of public health professionals who will practice in Nebraska. Once admitted, PHEAST students can select one of 10 concentrations, including biostatistics, community oriented primary care, environmental and occupational health, epidemiology or public health administration.

The CHANCE Initiative is a grant-funded partnership between Peru State faculty, Auburn Public Schools, Johnson-Brock Public Schools, the Auburn Chamber of Commerce and Auburn Family Health Center, P.C. The longitudinal service learning study seeks to provide nutrition education and extracurricular activities for elementary-aged children in an effort to address pediatric rural obesity. The goal is to encourage healthier lifestyles among area children and their families by creating awareness and educating them about better choices.

The CHANCE Initiative has been funded by Youth Serve America, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Nebraska, Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, and the Rural Futures Institute to further solidify the pre-existing partnerships between the campus and community. Most recently, the Initiative was honored by Nebraska Campus Compact with the organization’s Outstanding Community and Campus Collaboration Award and by the Auburn Chamber of Commerce with its 2013 Youth Development Award.

Ryan is lead faculty for the sport and exercise science curriculum at Peru State and was awarded the 2012-13 Health Educator of the Year Award for the State of Nebraska by the Nebraska Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. He serves as chair of the advisory committee for Nebraska Campus Compact, an entity committed to providing meaningful experience for students to become active, engaged leaders in their communities, furthering the civic and public purpose of higher education and strengthening communities. Ryan also serves on the advisory group for Partners N’ Health, a group tasked with formalizing stakeholder involvement, communication, and shared planning to develop, implement, and evaluate the Nebraska Physical Activity and Nutrition State Plan. He was named a Great Plains Public Health Leadership Institute Scholar for 2013-14.

Ryan is a veteran of Navy and Marine Corps combat units and has served his country on four separate continents. He is a graduate of Humboldt State University (HSU), where he earned a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and a master’s degree in kinesiology. He earned a Ph.D. in sport and exercise science with a minor in statistical research methods from the University of Northern Colorado.

Certified as a strength and conditioning specialist, Ryan served as assistant strength coach at HSU while completing his master’s degree and was named the University of Northern Colorado’s first strength and conditioning coach while pursuing his Ph.D. He was also the first strength and conditioning coach at Peru State. 

Ryan coached the University of Northern Colorado to the Rugby National Championship in 2003 and served as strength and conditioning consultant for USA Rugby from 2000 to 2004. After earning his Ph.D., Ryan served as a faculty member in the Division of Kinesiology at the University of Michigan and in the College of Health at the University of Utah.

Ryan’s current research interests include neuromechanics, community-based participatory research with regard to obesity intervention and prevention, and the effectiveness of academic service learning.