Novice Faculty Teaching Award Winners

The annual AACN Novice Faculty Teaching Awards recognize excellence and innovation in the teaching of nursing by novice faculty at AACN member schools. Two awards are presented each year: one for didactic teaching and the second for clinical teaching. Award winners are invited to attend one AACN conference during the academic year, with the registration fee waived. At that conference they will be presented with an engraved award commemorating their achievement.

2019 Call for Nominations will open in October 2018.


Congratulations to the 2018 Award Recipients!

Clinical Teaching Award
Paul Clark, PhD, RN
University of Louisville, Louisville, KY

ClarkDr. Paul Clark is currently a Assistant Professor and a graduate of an accelerated BSN program. Following graduation he worked as an RN both on a post-operative medical surgical unit and then in an adult Emergency Department. After completing graduate school, Clark joined the faculty at the University of Louisville School of Nursing where he teaches Pharmacology and Fundamentals of Nursing Practice while facilitating clinicals for nursing students. Working with students in the clinical and laboratory settings is of great interest, because these settings are among the first in which nursing students can apply their didactic knowledge to real-world patient care experiences with nursing staff and clinical instructor supervision. His research focus is on Health Service Research, in particular how the relationship between resilience and moral distress affects workplace engagement of Emergency Department nurses.

Didactic Teaching Award
Tiffany Nielsen, DNP, APRN
University of California, Irvine, CA

NielsenDr. Tiffany Nielsen is an Assistant Clinical Professor and has more than 10 years of nursing experience. She received her Baccalaureate degree in nursing from California State University, Long Beach in 2007 and her Master of Science in Nursing degree, as a Family Nurse Practitioner, from the University of California, Irvine in 2013. She followed to earn her Doctorate of Nursing Practice from Brandman University in 2017. Dr. Nielsen’s nursing career has been rooted in emergency medicine; 2 years ago she became an Assistant Clinical Professor at UCI’s Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing, her alma mater. As a novice faculty member at UCI, Dr. Nielsen has led many of the graduate level courses in the Family Nurse Practitioner Program, including Advanced Health and Physical Assessment, Primary Care, Health Promotion/Disease Prevention, Primary Care Pediatrics, and Procedures in Primary Care. Currently, Dr. Nielsen’s primary duty is the Simulation Coordinator for UCI’s School of Nursing, where she leads the forefront of innovative nursing education with simulated learning experiences.

 

2017 Recipients
Didactic Teaching Award
Sharon Forest, DNP, APRN, NNP-BC
University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX

Sharon Forest, DNP, APRN, NNP-BC, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Dr. Forest has over 23 years of experience in neonatal critical care nursing and has practiced as a NNP for over 17 years. Job responsibilities have included infant management in level II and III NICUs, the delivery room, and on transport. She developed an internship/orientation program for new NICU nurses and served as NNP manager. Her research and grant activities have focused on tobacco prevention and cessation, concentrating on youth tobacco prevention and smoking cessation during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Dr. Forest has presented at state, national, and international conferences. Her publications include journal articles, book chapters, and online training modules. She has lead various hospital quality and performance improvement projects, which include transitioning facilities to tobacco-free campuses and decreasing hospital acquired infections in the NICU.

2016 Recipients
Clinical Teaching Award
Colleen Walters, MSN, RN, CNE
Clayton State University, Morrow, GA

Colleen Walters, MSN, RN, CNE, obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in nursing with a minor in Spanish, and a Master’s in Nursing Education at Clayton State University. She is currently enrolled in a Doctor of Nursing program at Augusta University. Ms. Walters worked as a staff nurse on an adult Medical-Surgical unit and is currently a clinical instructor at Clayton State University, where she directs a study abroad program to Guadalajara, and teaches nursing fundamentals courses. Her research interests are on the impact of service learning study abroad programs, community education, and prenatal care for vulnerable populations. Ms. Walters is a volunteer at a local Pregnancy Resource Center and a member on the board of Atlanta Latin American Scholarship, a member of the Georgia Association of Nurse Educators, and the Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society.

Didactic Teaching Award
Kathrene Brendell, DNP, APRN
University of South Carolina, Columbia SC

Kathrene Carter Brendell, DNP, APRN, PMNHP-BC is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of South Carolina College of Nursing. Dr. Brendell Dr. Brendell currently teaches in CON’s Baccalaureate, Master’s and DNP Programs, demonstrating empathy and respect for students creating an atmosphere of positivity in the classroom that reduces anxiety and promotes learning. She incorporates technologies in classroom and online settings to engage student learning styles, emphasizing the applicability of theory and evidence to guide practice. A state of the art simulation program augments student’s education; and graduate students finish their programs having learned collaborative mental health provision through the use of team-based telehealth services. Dr. Brendell is working collaboratively with South Carolina Department of Mental Health to facilitate Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner delivery of MH services in schools and hopes her efforts will provide a three-fold benefit, addressing child/adolescent MH needs, training sites for PMHNP students and employment opportunities for PMHNP graduates.

2015 Recipients
Clinical Teaching Award
Melody Wilkinson, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC
Georgetown University, Washington, DC

Melody Wilkinson, DNP, FNP-C, APRN is an Assistant Professor teaching in the graduate nursing program in the School of Nursing & Health Studies (NHS) at Georgetown University. Dr. Wilkinson received her BSN from West Virginia University, MSN from Vanderbilt University, and DNP from Duke University. Dr. Wilkinson joined the NHS faculty in November of 2011 as Clinical Faculty Director with the launch of the online FNP program and was promoted to Assistant Program Director (APD) of the FNP program in 2012. During her tenure as APD, the FNP program underwent significant growth as the program enrolled over 550 students across the nation. She led the development of the clinical placement process that facilitates the clinical placement of geographically dispersed students enrolled in the online program. She led multiple initiatives, including a systematic orientation for on-boarding new clinical faculty, clinical placement approval process, guidelines for remote clinical conferencing and clinical faculty travel policies. Under her leadership, the FNP program developed a comprehensive clinical orientation for online students and an evidence-based preceptor handbook. She led the hiring of clinical faculty advisors across the country and mentored them in their new roles. Dr. Wilkinson’s professional commitment to educational scholarship is commendable with numerous invited professional presentations at numerous national meetings. She was awarded the Sigma Theta Tau International, Tau Chapter Award for Excellence in Education in May 2015. ecognizing the need for improvement in nurse practitioner clinical education, Dr. Wilkinson recently conducted a study entitled Online Clinical Education Training for Preceptors: A Pilot QI Project. The purpose of the project was to implement online education to improve preceptors’ knowledge, skill, and comfort related to clinical teaching. Online modules were developed, implemented, and evaluated. Dr. Wilkinson approaches teaching with passion while grounding her approach in the best evidence regarding teaching and learning. She creates a community of learning that focuses on active teaching and learning techniques. She routinely facilitates a “flipped classroom,” in which she focuses on problem based learning, case studies, and discussion – helping students to achieve a deeper understanding of material. She maintains an active clinical practice, providing comprehensive primary care to adult patients living with HIV. She has brings her passion for educational and clinical excellence to her teaching role – serving as a mentor to faculty and students.

Didactic Teaching Award
Jeanne Alhusen, PhD, CRNP, RN
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Jeanne L. Alhusen, PhD, FNP, RN is an Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (JHSON). She earned her BSN from Villanova University, her MSN/FNP from Duke University, and her PhD from Johns Hopkins University. In 2013, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship, jointly funded by the Morton and Jane Blaustein Fellowship in Mental Health and Psychiatric Nursing and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine as a KL2 Clinical Research Scholar. Dr. Alhusen currently teaches in JHSON’s Baccalaureate and Master’s Entry into Nursing Programs, and has taught Adult Health, the Research Process in Nursing, and Biostatistics. She also has experience teaching in the clinical setting. Dr. Alhusen was the 2015 recipient of the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award, an award determined by the student body at JHSON. Dr. Alhusen draws on her active practice as an FNP as well as her research expertise to best illuminate the critical linkages between theory and clinical courses. Her general approach in the classroom is to engage students to become collaborators at all levels of instruction. In the classroom, she uses innovative activities to help students engage with the material and learn critical thinking and communication skills. She is genuinely open to students’ informed opinions and eager to grow and learn along with them. Dr. Alhusen’s research is focused on maternal mental health and early childhood outcomes in vulnerable populations. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, Health Resources and Service Administration, and several foundations. She hopes that her research will contribute to greater program effects in early intervention programs and greater sustainability of gains over time.

2014 Recipients
Clinical Teaching Award
Kathleen Griffith, MSN, RN
California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA

Kathleen J. Griffith, MSN, RN received an Associate of Science in Nursing degree from Long Beach City College, and a BSN and MSN from California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), where she currently is a full-time lecturer in the undergraduate (nursing leadership) and graduate (healthcare informatics) programs. Kathleen began her career in critical care nursing and gained additional clinical experiences in the emergency department and cardiac catheterization lab/interventional radiology. As her clinical career advanced, Kathleen entered into nursing leadership for the inpatient critical care/telemetry nursing units and cardiac catheterization/interventional procedure departments. In her role as nurse manager, she became impassioned about patient safety, quality management, and performance improvement. Kathleen recognized the need for continuing her formal education and returned to the bedside to complete her BSN and MSN during which time she was invited to participate in a health system care redesign project associated with the implementation of an electronic health record (EHR). Following completion of the implementation of the EHR, she transferred to quality management where she led hospital-wide efforts for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid and The Joint Commission quality metrics. She later became a system-wide director for clinical excellence and clinical informatics. Kathleen began as a faculty at CSUF in 2010 in the undergraduate nursing program. She draws upon her clinical, leadership, and quality management/performance improvement experience to employ innovative, high-impact learning strategies as she guides pre-licensure senior nursing students in actual performance improvement projects for a long-term care facility. This “makes it real” for the students and they are contributing in a meaningful way while learning. Ms. Griffith is Green Belt certified in Toyota Production System (Lean) Methodology, a member of Upsilon Beta chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International and the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

Didactic Teaching Award
Amber McCall. PhD, RN
Georgia Regents University, Augusta, GA

Amber McCall, PhD, FNP-BC, RN, is an assistant professor at Georgia Regents University (GRU) in the Department of Physiological and Technological Nursing. She earned her BSN from the Medical College of Georgia, her PhD from Georgia Health Sciences University, and her FNP certification from Georgia Regents University. Prior to entering academia, Dr. McCall worked in the intensive care unit, medical- surgical unit, and hospice/palliative care. Dr. McCall currently teaches in GRU’s master’s-level Clinical Nurse Leader Program and Nurse Practitioner Programs. She has experience in clinical, simulation, lab, and classroom lecture. She was the recipient of the Student Government Association Nursing Faculty Leadership Award for 2013 and was nominated by five students for the Caught in the Act of Great Teaching Award for 2013. She believes that a true educator sows the gift of self in hopes of reaping the joy of seeing another obtain self-empowerment through learning. Dr. McCall uses innovative teaching strategies for student engagement, including new- edge technology, interactive lectures and ties nursing content with current local, national and world-wide news events. Dr. McCall has recently organized a Clinical Nurse Leader Critical Thinking Lab with eight sessions for each student in November 2013 to help encourage current first-year students to understand critical thinking, professionalism and on-going development to foster their own person nursing growth, as well as advancement of the profession of nursing. Dr. McCall’s research interests include faith-based health initiatives/interventions and understanding health decision-making. Additionally, she helped develop reference materials in the study, Fit, Body and Soul, by adding spirituality-themed content to the Diabetes Prevention Program for use in African-American churches in the local Central Savannah River Area. Other areas of interest include post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer prevention and coping

2013 Recipients
Clinical Teaching Award
Jacqueline Riley-Baker, MSN, RN
University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio

Jacqueline K Riley-Baker, MSN, RN, followed her mother’s footsteps in pursuing nursing. She began her nursing career in the United States Army as a field medic in 1982. The military offered many opportunities and training for Jackie to be “All that she could be”. She completed her Licensed Practical (Vocational) Nurse Board in 1988. She held positions as an Amosist, Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of the Pediatric and Well Baby Clinic, staff nurse on Postpartum, Labor and Delivery and Newborn unit and taught at the Academia Health Services at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. After leaving the military in 1992, she became a staff nurse in the Maternal Childcare Pool at Methodist HealthCare in San Antonio while she pursued her Associate in Nurse. In 1993 she graduated and continued to work for the same facility as a staff nurse on the Antepartum and Labor and Delivery unit. Supporting her husband in his military career, the family was transferred to Illinois where she continued to work as a staff nurse on Labor and Delivery and quickly took on other roles as a preceptor, and childbirth educator. After returning to San Antonio, she completed her Bachelor Degree in 2000 and Master Degree in 2006 from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA). Over the past 20 years, she has held positions as a staff nurse, preceptor, perinatal educator, and Director of Education. She is an American Heart Association Healthcare Provider Training Center Faculty, Neonatal Resuscitation Regional Trainer and an Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) Instructor Trainer. In June 2010, she decided to pursue her calling in the academia world of healthcare. Since August 2010, she has been a clinical instructor at UTHSCSA were her primary role is clinical faculty for the Traditional and Accelerated Childbearing Families course. She also lectures in Childbearing Families and has been asked as guest lecture in the Accelerated Families course. Her other additional duties consist of Assessment Technology Institute coordinator, and is an active member of the Faculty and Student Matters Committee, Traditional and Accelerated Curriculum working group. She has also just recently been asked to be the Co-Chair of the San Antonio AWHONN chapter. Mrs. Riley-Baker is a highly dedicated professional who knows how to motivate her students to strive for excellence. She has a wonderful ability to connect with her students. She creates a learning environment that is full of energy, making learning enjoyable for students both didactically and clinically. She is a dynamic and powerful communicator who possesses the gift of being able to make complex subjects understandable. She advocates, nurtures and sustains a culture conducive to student learning and professional growth.

Didactic Teaching Award
Larry Slater, PhD, RN-BC, CCRN
New York University

Larry Z. Slater, PhD, RN-BC, CCRN, is a Clinical Assistant Professor teaching in the undergraduate program at the New York University (NYU) College of Nursing. Dr. Slater received a BS in Chemical Engineering from Auburn University, and, as a second-degree student, a BSN and PhD in Nursing from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing; he also completed his post-doctoral training and received his Certificate of Teaching in Nursing at UAB. Dr. Slater’s areas of specialization include nursing education and research as well as research on HIV and aging, cognition and HIV, and religiosity/spirituality and HIV. He is board certified in critical care and gerontological nursing. He is an active member of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International, as well as several other professional nursing organizations, including the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, the American Nurses Association and ANA-New York, the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science, and the National League for Nursing. Over the past years, Dr. Slater has received numerous honors and awards, including the Teaching Excellence Award from the NYU Undergraduate Student Nurses Organization in 2013 and a Recognized Leader Award in 2010 from the UAB School of Nursing during their 60th Anniversary Leaders with a Vision Celebration. He also received the New Member Pillar of Leadership and New Member Pillar of Service awards from Sigma Theta Tau International at their biennial convention in 2009. At the NYU College of Nursing, Dr. Slater is the course coordinator for Pathophysiology and Health Assessment and Promotion, where he has strived to incorporate in-class simulation, interactive case studies, online projects/forums, video projects, and standardized-patient assessments into the curriculum to increase student attention and engagement and improve learning outcomes for more than 400 first sequence nursing students annually.

2012 Recipients
Clinical Teaching Award
Renee McLeod-Sordjan, DNP, RN, FNP-BC
Pace University

Renee McLeod-Sordjan, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, is a board certified family nurse practitioner. She is an alumnus of Pace University in New York graduating with a BS in Respiratory Therapy in 1986, BSN in 1994, a MSN as a Family Nurse Practitioner in 1996, and a DNP in 2011. She has devoted sixteen years in practice to providing primary and gynecological care to underinsured and underserved clients. Presently, she is Assistant Clinical Professor of the graduate department of the College of Health Professions, Leinhard School of Nursing at Pace University and credentialed as a DNP in the North Shore LIJ Health System. She is an active member of the American Academy of HIV Medicine, American Nurses Association, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, Institute of Health Improvement, and Sigma Theta Tau. Mentored by the esteemed faculty at the College of Health Professions, Dr. McLeodSordjan aspires to support ethnic diversity among students and faculty through scholarship, service, and culturally competent practice. As a doctoral student, her scholarship focused on assessing health literacy in Hispanic populations with chronic disease. She has published in the areas of health literacy and patient-centered practices in nursing texts as well as the Joanna Briggs Institute and the Journal of Nurse Practitioners. She is also a frequent reviewer of published scholarly nursing science. Since 2010, she has disseminated her research and passion for cultural diversity in nursing at several conferences sponsored by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, the New York State Nurse Practitioner Association, and the National Conference for Nurse Practitioners. Dr. McLeod-Sordjan continues to research innovative learning assessment strategies as a PhD in Nursing student at Adelphi University.

Didactic Teaching Award
Lori McElroy, MS, RN, CNE
University of Oklahoma

Lori McElroy, MS, RN, CNE, began her nursing career in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Children’s Hospital of Oklahoma in 1990 as a student nursing assistant. Upon graduation from nursing school in 1991, she moved to a staff nurse role on the same PICU at Children’s Hospital of Oklahoma. She quickly moved into the role of charge nurse until 1996 when she moved back home to Duncan, Okla. While in Duncan, Mrs. McElroy served many roles in nursing, including homecare RN case manager at Duncan Regional Hospital, Assistant Director of Nursing at Country Club Care Nursing Facility, instructor in the practical nursing program of Red River Technology Center, and for the past four years has served as an instructor for the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing at their Lawton/Duncan site. She was recently promoted to Assistant Professor at the OU College of Nursing and is currently teaching on both the Lawton and Duncan campus. Mrs. McElroy earned her Bachelor’s Degree in in 1991 and Master’s Degree in Nursing in 2006, both from the OU College of Nursing in 2006. She began her career as a collegiate nursing instructor at the OU College of Nursing in 2007. At the College, her primary role is lead didactic instructor of Pharmacology, and an assistant for Clinical I lab, Clinical II Course Coordinator and lead lab instructor, didactic assistant for Health Assessment and Clinical III instructor. Since beginning collegiate teaching, she has also obtained her certification in Nursing Education in 2008 through the National League for Nursing. As a collegiate didactic instructor, Lori McElroy brings a combination of versatility, computer technology, organization, innovation and experience in both traditional and online classrooms. She provides a variety of successful learning environments and experiences which impacted more than 400 past and present students.

2011 Recipients
Didactic Teaching Award
Loretta Krautscheid, MS, RN
University of Portland

Lorretta Krautscheid, MS, RN is a nursing instructor at the University of Portland. Previously, she was director of the University of Portland School of Nursing Learning Resource Center. In that position, Ms. Krautscheid designed and implemented both formative and summative simulations across the undergraduate and graduate curriculum, supporting the core competencies of the school of nursing. Ms. Krautscheid has presented nationally on these topics and co-authored the Clinical Faculty Development Simulation Scenarios DVD and teaching guide; a program that highlights simulation as a strategy for clinical faculty to learn and practice teaching strategies. She currently is enrolled in the PhD in Education program, with a nursing specialization, at Capella University. Ms. Krautscheid’s academic practice is guided by a personal nurse educator conceptual framework that integrates transformational, constructivist, and behavioral theory concepts. Key elements of her framework include student expression of ideas, role-modeling of professional nursing standards, incorporation of innovative active learning strategies, and integration of evidence and theory into teaching practices. The use of this framework is reflected in the teaching strategies and learning activities she employs to foster curiosity, enthusiasm, initiative, responsibility for learning, and mutual respect in her students. As an example, Ms. Krautscheid utilized her conceptual framework to address student concerns and improve course content for a senior level Evidence-Based Nursing course. Interactive lectures, interpretive learning exercises, and collaborative learning via online forum discussions challenged students to reconstruct knowledge by linking prior experiences with current professional standards. By applying her conceptual framework to her practice, Ms. Krautscheid is fostering curiosity, enthusiasm, initiative, responsibility for learning, and mutual respect.

Clinical Teaching Award
(Joint Recipients)
Niki Fogg, MS, RN, CPN, and Jennifer Wilson, MS, RN, CPN
Texas Woman's Univeristy

Niki Fogg, MS, RN, CPN and Jennifer Wilson, MS, RN, CPN (joint recipients) Texas Woman’s University Niki Foggg is a certified pediatric nurse. She holds a graduate degree in Nursing Education and is currently employed as an assistant clinical professor at Texas Woman's University (TWU). She is an active in the Society of Pediatric Nurses, serving on the national Public Policy committee and as Past Chapter President. She is also a member of Sigma Theta Tau. Ms. Fogg was honored as a "Great 100 Nurse" of North Central Texas and has published in the area of pediatric nursing. 

Jennifer Wilson is an assistant clinical professor at Texas Woman’s University. Her clinical background is in Pediatric Oncology and General Pediatrics. She earned a BSN from the University of Maryland and a MSN with a specialization in Oncology from George Mason University. Ms. Wilson was the recipient of the 2011 TWU Redbud Outstanding Undergraduate Nursing Faculty Award. She is a certified pediatric nurse and is an active member of the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses and the Society of Pediatric Nurses, serving on the National Education Committee. Her current area of clinical research is focused on promoting nursing as a “thinking profession,” and on children’s perceptions of nurses and the nursing profession. She has published in the areas of pediatric nursing and oncology. 

In Fall 2008, Ms. Fogg and Ms. Wilson joined a seasoned faculty team to develop a new Child Health Competencies course. Using simulation and laboratory activities, they implemented innovative, student-centered teaching strategies to integrate theory and clinical practice, thereby encouraging clinical reasoning. Examples of their innovations include: • Innovations in Simulation “A Season for Simulation” — a series of evolving themebased simulations focusing on assessment, prioritization, communication, and treatment using SBAR methods allowing for assessment of clinical reasoning. • Medication Safety Simulations — a medication administration simulation to replace the traditional pediatric medication calculation test, allowing faculty to reinforce quality and safety approaches in pediatric medication education. • Mobile Skills Stations — mobile simulation tools for “just-in-time” education and reinforcement of pediatric skills and concepts in the clinical setting by clinical faculty. • “Are You Smarter than a Fifth-Grader?” — initially developed as a clinical teaching project for nursing students. The activity shows 5th graders how math is incorporated into nursing through developmentally appropriate interactive stations. It has evolved into a collaborative project with the adult health course in which nursing students promote nursing as a “Thinking Profession” by teaching high school students critical thinking skills through high fidelity simulation. This project has assisted with recruitment efforts in the college of nursing by targeting students previously considering a career in science, technology, or math, who may now consider the field of nursing.