Michael Berndt Receives 2021 Paragon President Award

President Michael Berndt
President Michael Berndt

Phi Theta Kappa recognizes Inver Hills president for his outstanding support for student success

Michael Berndt, Inver Hills Community College president, has received the 2021 Paragon President Award from the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. The award recognizes new college presidents for their outstanding support for student success.

President Michael Berndt is a strong advocate for the Phi Theta Kappa Alpha Omicron Beta chapter at Inver Hills. Exceptionally active on campus, the college’s Phi Theta Kappa scholars also participate at PTK state and national events.

“I was surprised and deeply touched to receive this award,” President Berndt said. “Our PTK leaders are enthusiastic and want to do good work for the students and the college. It is an honor to work with them.”

Nicki Bottko Woods: PTK advisor perspective…

Our students wanted to nominate President Berndt because of the way that he seeks out their opinions and finds new and meaningful ways to work with them.

Sometimes, leadership will work to give the appearance that they care, and that is important, every person likes to ‘feel’ heard, but Michael demonstrates a real desire to seek meaning and meaningful change.

Each semester, his flexibility, curiosity, and willingness to try new ideas and ways of doing things allow our students the opportunity to explain what is important to them and create avenues for them to make the change they want to see on campus.

Nichelle Bottko Woods
Associate Director of Student Life
PTK Advisor

Inver Hills Community College

2021 Paragon President Award Hallmarks

Student nominator comments

Michael values developing deeper relationships with the student leaders of Phi Theta Kappa. He invites them to community and scholarship events when there are opportunities, and seeks out new ways to work with students.

When Michael is attending community events, he will ask Phi Theta Kappa advisors to recommend student leaders who can sit at his table, and has sought input from our student leaders for all planning and projects on campus.

PTK Fall 2018 Induction Ceremony

Lynn Tincher‐Ladner, PhD, Phi Theta Kappa president and CEO, wrote to President Berndt to offer her congratulations.

“We know the depth of each member’s experience has a lot to do with the value placed on Phi Theta Kappa by college leaders,” CEO Tincher-Ladner wrote. “Your nomination and selection for this award is recognition that your Phi Theta Kappa students have your support—thank you!”

CEO Tincher-Ladner reported that the award celebrates President Berndt’s work to mentor and develop student leaders in completely unfamiliar circumstances.

In her letter to the president, she wrote: “Racial and political unrest and a global pandemic made 2020 the most challenging year in recent history—one that you have worked exceptionally hard to overcome. Your PTK students are so grateful, and it’s not just them. Your nomination provided examples of how you support success for all students—even amid a global pandemic.”

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society members are looking forward to honoring President Berndt at the Society’s virtual convention—PTK Catalyst 2021, “Different Together,” April 8–20, 2021. Berndt will be recognized during the third general session Friday, April 9, 2021, at 5 p.m. CST.

More than 10,000 virtual attendees from around the country and the world are expected to take part in PTK Catalyst 2021. Heather McGowan, future-of-work-strategist, is serving as the third general session’s guest speaker.

Mary Sandeen: PTK student perspective…

I am so glad to hear that President Berndt won the Paragon Award! He has done an amazing job supporting our Inver Hills Phi Theta Kappa chapter despite everything that has been going on the past year.

Our chapter would not be where it is without his leadership and support. Anyone who knows President Berndt would recognize that he truly deserves this award.

We are honored and thankful for his continued support and involvement.

Mary Sandeen
Alpha Omicron Beta Chapter Co-President
Phi Theta Kappa
Inver Hills Community College

More about Phi Theta Kappa at Inver Hills…

Phi Theta Kappa Spring 2018 Induction Ceremony

Phi Theta Kappa Alpha Omicron Beta at Inver Hills is a chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society for two-year college students. Our PTK members compete on local and national levels, and many are eligible for scholarships at their transfer schools. You must meet GPA requirements to join PTK.


More about Michael Berndt…

Michael Berndt serves as president of Dakota County Technical College and Inver Hills Community College. Berndt was named interim president in July 2018 and permanent president in March 2020.

Previously, President Berndt served as vice president of academic affairs at Century College from 2014 to 2018 where his responsibilities included providing oversight for more than 60 liberal arts and career and technical programs, the library, and several academic support centers across six academic divisions.

He served Normandale Community College from 2008 to 2014 as a dean, associate vice president, and vice president of planning and institutional effectiveness. He was the assistant to the president for strategic initiatives from 2006 to 2008. He was a full-time English instructor at Normandale from 2000 to 2006, and chair of the English department from 2002 to 2004.

Berndt has a Master of Arts (M.A.) in English Language and Literature from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English and Philosophy from the University of Minnesota, Morris.

Learn more about Phi Theta Kappa at Inver Hills by contacting:

Nicki Bottko Woods
Associate Director of Student Life
PTK Staff Advisor

Jenni Yamada
Student Life Activities Coordinator
PTK Staff Advisor

Vicky Knickerbocker
Humanities and Human Services Faculty
PTK Faculty Advisor

Tanya Smutka
Biology Faculty
PTK Faculty Advisor

Phi Theta Kappa Fall 2018 Induction Ceremony

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