Kim Holder, director of the Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy (CEEFL) at the University of West Georgia, has a habit of making strides in everything she does. Frequently recognized for her efforts, Holder has recently been awarded a plethora of accolades, proving that hard work, consistency and determination pay off.
Under Holder’s direction, the CEEFL – a long-standing collaborative effort between the Richards College of Business (where it is housed) and the College of Education – helps teachers, students and the community master personal finance and an economic way of thinking by creating resources and curriculum for teachers. The UWG CEEFL serves an eight-county region that includes Carroll, Coweta, Douglas, Haralson, Heard, Meriwether, Polk and Troup.
The center leads a series of nationwide teacher training sessions and conducts workshops internationally for teachers around the world. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Holder said she has been able to reach more teachers than normal since moving to a virtual environment.
“Since we had no more face-to-face workshops once COVID-19 hit, we shifted gears, and the Georgia Council on Economic Education (GCEE) offered a slate of virtual workshops we heavily promoted to our teachers instead of in-person options,” Holder said. “Suddenly, teachers were at home and were hungry for new material as they were looking for support to connect with other teachers and to connect with resources. In the shift to virtual, more than 1,000 teachers across the state attended workshops – predominantly in the months of April and May.”
Through her exemplary work, Holder has caught the attention of her peers, her dean and numerous prestigious organizations. In the last few months alone, she has received five distinguished honors.
First, Holder was named the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Alliance 2019 Woman of the Year, a Women’s Business Association (WBA) award created to honor a well-rounded woman who excels in her professional life and gives back to her community.
More unexpected recognition was bestowed upon Holder this year when she was awarded the Abbejean Kehler Technology Award by the National Association of Economic Educators (NAEE). The award recognizes a NAEE member instrumental in promoting the use of technology to improve the delivery of programs in economic education. Holder is a former chair of the technology committee for the organization.
“This one means a lot because it’s my peer group at a national level,” she said. “It means that other centers and councils around the country are seeing the impact of what we’re doing in west Georgia. That, to me, is important. That’s what technology does: it amplifies the small voices and gives them a big platform.”
Her third and fourth awards of the year were presented internally, and Holder said she is thrilled to have received both.
In May, Holder received the Richards College of Business Faculty Teaching Award for Service Learning and Community Engagement, which is awarded to a faculty member who demonstrates a successful teaching/learning strategy or project within a course that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility or address community priorities.
She also received the Richards College of Business Research Award for Student Co-Authored Research. This accolade is presented to a faculty member who published one or more articles and/or publicly presented presentations of original student work that demonstrates substantive research mentoring by the faculty member.
Following those honors, Holder received the Director of the Year Award from the GCEE center. There are 12 centers in the state of Georgia that fall under the GCEE and have national affiliation status with the Council on Economic Education (CEE) in New York.
Holder attributes her success to the amount and quality of work she and her colleagues have achieved through the center.
“The body of work we’re doing, to me, is really impressive, and I think that’s why we’ve been able to get some of these awards,” Holder said. “We’re able to do a lot with a little, and that’s important right now.”