Wright State staff leaders, faculty member honored for excellence by SOCHE

Wright State University employees Kurt Holden, Josh Ricker and Amanda Spencer were honored by the Strategic Ohio Council for Higher Education (SOCHE) with its 2023-2024 Excellence Awards.

They were among the 48 award recipients from SOCHE’s 18 member institutions for the 2023–24 academic year. Each member institution was invited to select a recipient for the SOCHE Excellence Awards.

About Wright State’s recipients:

Kurt Holden, chief of police and director of public safety

Kurt Holden, chief of police and director of public safety, received the Campus Impact Award for having a positive impact on Wright State as a whole.

Holden’s unwavering commitment to safety, community engagement and problem-solving has impacted the Wright State community and beyond. A two-time Wright State graduate and a 15-year veteran of the university’s Police Department, Holden approaches police work to make a positive impact.

“He believes that a helping hand can achieve more than handcuffs ever could,” SOCHE said in its award announcement. “It is this empathy — fostered by his own experiences in foster care and encouraged in the officers and staff he supervises — that sets him apart.”

Holden’s vision for community policing and special events aligns with Wright State’s values, helping to create a safe and inclusive environment for all.

“Kurt embodies the spirit of leadership, empathy and service, and he exemplifies the qualities of a true servant leader that every police department seeks in a chief of police,” SOCHE said.

Josh Ricker, instructor of psychology

Josh Ricker, Ph.D., instructor of psychology at the Lake Campus, received the Faculty Excellence Award for demonstrating excellence in teaching, service and scholarship.

Ricker has earned a reputation as a student-success-oriented professor. Students appreciate his guidance and dedication in and out of the classroom and look forward to his classes.

Not content simply to deliver excellent and engaging lessons, Ricker encourages students to become more involved at the Lake Campus and in the community.

“His passion is teaching and his students’ growth is his priority,” SOCHE said.

Amanda Spencer, director of university academic advising

Amanda Spencer, director of university academic advising, received the Staff Excellence Award in honor of her demonstrated excellence in student success, service and assessment.

As the first director of university academic advising at Wright State, Spencer pioneered a university-wide program fostering persistence, retention and academic progress. She unified academic advisors while addressing individual unit needs, leading to streamlined university-wide processes and exceptional service.

Spencer’s leadership extends beyond her team in the Division of Student Success. An effective and generous collaborator, she was elected president of the Wright State Staff Senate for 2023–24 by her peers.

“With an unwavering commitment to the student success and her trademark smile, Amanda leads with diligence and grace,” SOCHE said.

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