Justin Berry Named An Educator Of The Year By MnSCU Board of Trustees

The Minnesota State Colleges & Universities (MnSCU) Board of Trustees named Dr. Justin Berry, Instructor in the Physical Therapist Assistant program at Northland Community & Technical College (NCTC), an Educator of the Year today. Dr. Berry was presented the Award for Excellence in Teaching, which acknowledges and rewards exceptional professional accomplishments in teaching

Dr. Berry has been a faculty member in the Physical Therapist Assistant program at NCTC since 2005, and is an “exemplary faculty member, colleague, and community member.” Berry is a recognized expert and has earned multiple academic degrees in physical therapy including a Doctor of Physical Therapy; has published and presented many times on critical topics in the field; and continues to take workshops and courses to stay current in the field. In addition to the extensive education in physical therapy, he has earned a master’s degree in education and was honored by the American Physical Therapy Association as an Outstanding Physical Therapist Educator in 2014.

NCTC president Dr. Dennis Bona said, "We are very proud and very fortunate to have Justin as a faculty member at NCTC. He is truly an expert in his field and an outstanding teacher, but it's his dedication to students that really sets him apart and precisely why he has been recognized with this honor from the MNSCU Board of Trustees."

Dr. Berry was selected as the NCTC nomination for the MnSCU award in September 2015. As the NCTC nominee, Dr. Berry submitted his portfolio to highlight his professional accomplishments for review by the Board of Trustees. The Board then carefully evaluated each nominee’s portfolio and materials to make their decisions. Evaluation criteria include teaching strategies and materials; content expertise and professional growth; assessment of student learning and performance; and service to students, the profession, the institution, and the system.

Dean of Health, Nursing and Public Services Jodi Stassen added, “We are honored that Dr. Justin Berry was presented with the 2016 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Teaching. Dr. Berry truly embodies excellence in education; he is a tremendous educator and caring mentor of students here at Northland Community & Technical College.”

The Physical Therapist Assistant program at NCTC provides a practical, hands-on approach to making education happen. The 72-credit curriculum consists of: basic science coursework, technical coursework, including laboratory activities and practice, and clinical education experiences in a variety of healthcare settings.

I'm honored to be receiving this award. Helping students progress through the physical therapist assistant program, graduate, and find jobs is truly rewarding.

Dr. Berry provides a student-focused atmosphere in the program that produces highly talented graduates. Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs Carey Castle had this to say about Dr. Berry’s award, “This is truly a well-deserved award. He has a fundamental understanding of what teaching is all about and he maintains lasting academic relationships with students, past and present, as an instructor and mentor.”

PTA students and alumni had these things to say about him:

“I am extremely fortunate to have had (Justin) as an instructor, and now a mentor and friend.”

“He is one of my most influential resources and has had a positive influence on my success as a professional.”

“There is comfort in knowing that he would do anything to help us academically, especially if we were having difficulty with the fast-paced work. With his leadership, passion, and encouragement, his goal was to see us succeed to our highest potential.”

“He is a humble and approachable person who enjoys sharing his extensive knowledge with others.”

“(Justin) is an instructor from a broken mold. He has a way of touching each and every person in a way that stays with you far past graduation.”

Dr. Justin Berry said at the awards banquet, "I'm honored to be receiving this award. Helping students progress through the physical therapist assistant program, graduate, and find jobs is truly rewarding". He added, "I am proud to be part of Northland, as it is a great institution for both teaching and learning." Dr. Berry is a prime example of how NCTC is making education happen everyday.

Northland Community and Technical College is a comprehensive college with campuses in Thief River Falls, MN and East Grand Forks, MN. NCTC also has an aerospace site in Thief River Falls, MN and a satellite site in Roseau, MN. NCTC offers certificates, diplomas, transfer courses, two-year AAS degrees in more than 60 areas of study, workforce training and education programs. NCTC is a member of Minnesota State, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. NCTC is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer & educator. Visit NCTC online at