Excellence in Innovative Service by Professional Employees: Colleen Kaiser, Founders Day Staff Awards, Academic Year 2022-23. Portrait of Colleen Kaiser.

Coleen Kaiser

Coleen Kaiser, Director of the Montana Dietetic Internship (MDI) program in the Department of Health and Human Development, is the recipient of this year’s Excellence in Innovative Service award. The award honors a staff member who demonstrates tangible innovation, positive and broad impact on the student experience and/or leadership distinguished by role modeling in a professional capacity

Coleen’s vision and innovative implementation of the Montana Dietetic Internship (MDI) program is exemplary, impacting students’ growth and learning and sustaining the program. She leads the program with innovative planning and execution. During the pandemic, she adapted the internship curriculum to meet the new learning needs of the students. Coleen implemented a simulation program to ensure interns met their required hours while also allowing students to experience patient interactions safely by reducing direct patient contact.

Additionally, Coleen developed and managed tailored contracts with internship sites and supported the professional development opportunities of the interns (e.g., support for potential dietitians attending conferences). Coleen’s dedication to the program and to its students is demonstrated by her travel across the state of Montana to interact directly with the interns at their assigned internship sites.. The nominator, Sunny Kim, said “It was interesting to hear how students evaluated her leadership and how she changed their opinions by showing a new approach to dietetics. Furthermore, I observed how she interacted with the students in the classroom, which demonstrated how excellent teaching can be accomplished.”