Kathleen Fimple honored with Outstanding Service Award from Midwestern Higher Education Compact

Dr. Kathleen Fimple, CCPE, 2023 Outstanding Service Award recipientSaint Paul, MN — Kathleen Fimple, academic programs officer for the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education (CCPE), was acknowledged by the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) as a recipient of their Outstanding Service Award on November 14, during the commission’s Annual Commission Meeting, held in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Fimple was nominated for her leadership on MHEC’s Regional Steering Committee for the Midwestern State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (M-SARA) since 2014. SARA provides a voluntary approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education. Nebraska has 29 postsecondary institutions that participate in SARA with an estimated 36,400 students enrolled in exclusively distance education coursework.

“Dr. Fimple has demonstrated her expertise and forward-thinking approach and has been instrumental in formulating policies that resonate with the evolving landscape of distance education,” said Susan Heegaard, MHEC president. “Her contributions have been instrumental in policy changes that impact and protect students not only in the Midwest but nationally.”

She also serves on Nebraska’s Open Educational Resources (OER) Action Team. OER are high-quality teaching and learning materials that are free for educators and students to use, customize, and share. Fimple also was involved in multiple committees related MHEC’s initiative the Multi-State Collaborative on Military Credit which eased the transition of military-connected students to postsecondary education with emphasis given to translating competencies acquired through military training and experiences into meaningful credits toward various pathways leading to a college degree, earning a certificate, industry recognized credential or license.

“I've found the staff and committees at MHEC to be an invaluable resource, providing information and assistance that would not have been readily available otherwise,” said Fimple. “The MCMC group was supportive when we struggled to create a program in Nebraska. All the state representatives in SARA have also been a source of knowledge and useful suggestions for more than 10 years, helping me be much more effective in service to the students and institutions of Nebraska.”

MHEC volunteers play a significant role in guiding the committee work of MHEC programs and services.

CCPE Executive Director Mike Baumgartner said, “I can’t think of a more deserving recipient than Dr. Fimple.  Not only has she served Nebraska students, postsecondary institutions, and taxpayers with her work she has served them across the Midwest. Our organization is honored and proud of her contributions to MHEC and I am pleased to see her recognized with this award.”

Fimple has been with the CCPE since 1993.


About MHEC

MHEC brings together midwestern states to develop and support best practices, collaborative efforts, and cost-sharing opportunities. Through these efforts it works to ensure strong, equitable postsecondary educational opportunities and outcomes for all. Member states are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. www.mhec.org

Pictured (L to R): MHEC President Susan Heegaard, Fimple, CCPE Executive Director Mike Baumgartner and M-SARA Director Sara Appel.