Wayne State College
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Three Faculty Retire from WSC After 2014-15 School Year

Published Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Retiring faculty included Dr. Keith Willis, Dr. Frank Adams and Dr. Pearl Hansen.

Dr. Keith Willis, Professor of Counseling

Dr. Keith Willis began teaching at Wayne State in 1999, after working as a psychologist for 23 years, a career that included three years with Willmar State Hospital in Minnesota, a year with the Lincoln Regional Center, and 19 years with Valley Hope Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center in O'Neill, Neb.

He earned his bachelor of arts degree in mathematics in 1969, a master’s degree in psychology in 1974, and a Ph.D. in social-personality psychology in 1976, from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

During his time at Wayne State, he has taught multiple courses on a range of topics in counseling, alcohol/drug assessment, substance-related and addictive disorders, case planning and management, career development and life planning, multicultural counseling, psychopathology and client strengths, and individual and group assessment

He has served as chair of the Department of Counseling, advisor for Tau Upsilon Alpha, and co-chair of President's Council for Diversity. He has been awarded several grants for technology and instructional improvements and was honored for his contributions to service-learning. 

“It's been great to see undergraduate and graduate students complete their education and then meet them in professional positions at regional agencies when I coordinate the service-learning and internship experiences of other students,” Willis said.

He said he plans to continue serving as a counseling consultant with Valley Hope, working on home remodeling projects, visiting and helping care for 16 grandchildren, and gardening.

Dr. Frank Adams, Professor of Education

Dr. Frank Adams taught in the public schools of North Carolina from 1968 to 1988, which he characterized as a most valuable time spent teaching English and serving as an administrator in the schools of western North Carolina while earning bachelors, masters and education specialist degrees from Appalachian State University and Western Carolina University. 

Upon completion of his masters of special education and working with the North Carolina Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, he was instrumental in developing a sheltered activity center and ultimately a sheltered workshop for adults with a verified handicap condition. Earning a doctorate from the University of North Carolina prepared Adams for being appointed as a professor at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. Adams served as the Director of Graduate Studies at Benedictine College from 1988 to 1993. While at Benedictine College, he was instrumental in developing a graduate program and ultimately leading to accreditation for the program.

Adams has been at Wayne State since 1993. He has served on many committees during his tenure at Wayne State College: Academic Policies; Faculty Senate; General Studies; WSC Beautification Committee; Assessment Committee; Graduate Studies; and several NCATE Teams. Travels have included trips to Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia; University of Volos, Volos, Greece; International Behavioral Studies, Paris, France; and several trips to Volos, Greece and Toulon, France. 

Working with the Higher Learning Commission, he has served on 25 various AQIP Systems Review Teams from 1998 to 2013; he has served on several committees associated with the Higher Learning Commission.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Wayne State,” Adams said. “There have been so many challenging events providing multiple opportunities to reflect upon both the challenge as well as the resolution.  With so many talented students and faculty encountered, it is difficult to single out one individual who had a greater influence.  Wayne State College does a tremendous job of educating the talented students from across Nebraska.”

Dr. Pearl Hansen, Professor of Art

Dr. Pearl Hansen began her journey in higher education with a bachelor of fine arts education degree from Wayne State College. She earned her master’s degree in sculpture from Kansas State University and her Ph.D. in administration, curriculum and instruction from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

She began her teaching career as an art instructor at Brisbane, Queensland, Australia in 1971-72. She then served as graduate teaching assistant in sculpture at Kansas State from 1972 to 1974, an art instructor at Ralston Public Schools in Ralston, Neb., from 1974 to 1976 and a pottery instructor at Metro Tech Community College in Omaha, before joining the Wayne State faculty in 1976.

During her time at Wayne State, she taught courses in art appreciation, studio and art education, graduate courses in art, and advanced educational psychology. She served as division head for Fine Arts, chair of the Department of Art and Design, and has overseen the preservation and installation of the Campus Art Collection located in public spaces throughout campus buildings.

Hansen received the National Art Education Award from the National Art Education Association, Nebraska Art Educator of the Year Award from the Nebraska Art Teachers Association, and Nebraska Higher Education Art Educator of the Year Award from the Nebraska Art Teachers Association. Her artwork has been exhibited on campus and in galleries across the United States.

“I look back with appreciation at the brilliant colleagues and teachers in my teaching career and with special gratitude to all the students who touched my human feelings,” Hansen said. “People who know me know I like to get things done. So I’m not retiring. I don't see myself changing; I’m just changing my environment to my farm, my time in the studio, sunrises and sunsets, and cranking up the music!”