Novice Faculty Teaching Awards

The purpose of the AACN Novice Faculty Teaching Awards is to recognize excellence and innovation in the teaching of nursing by novice faculty at AACN member schools.

Two awards will be presented each year, with one award presented in each of the following categories:

  • The Novice Faculty Excellence in Didactic Teaching Award will be presented to faculty teaching in either classroom or online settings.
  • The Novice Faculty Excellence in Clinical Teaching Award will recognize outstanding faculty teaching in clinical settings.

Call for applications is now open. The deadline is May 15, 2024.

Submit an Application

The call for award applications will be announced during the Fall semester, with the nomination application packets due during the Spring semester.

  • Faculty at AACN member school
  • Novice faculty; defined as teaching full- or part-time in their first faculty teaching role for five years or fewer
  • Faculty that have taught full- or part-time for at least two semesters during the previous academic year
  • Faculty with a doctoral or master’s degree in nursing
  • Faculty teaching at the undergraduate and/or graduate level

  • Demonstrates innovation in teaching/learning approaches
  • Demonstrates empathy and respect for students and creates a culture that encourages student expression of ideas
  • Acts as an exemplary role model and exhibits professional values and standards
  • Demonstrates evidence-based teaching/learning and integration of theory and practice

Nomination Process

The eligible faculty member may be nominated by either a student or faculty member. The nomination application packet consists of five components:

  1. 2 letters of nomination – one from a peer faculty member and one from a student
  2. Statement of verification from nominee’s Program Chair – confirm that the nominee demonstrates overall effectiveness in the faculty role and teaching effectiveness (i.e., as reflected in student evaluations)
  3. Nominee personal statement (one page) – explain why your approaches to teaching and learning meet the criteria for this award
  4. Nominee curriculum vitae
  • The letter of nomination must explicitly state whether the faculty member is being nominated for the didactic or clinical award.
  • All components of the application packet will be utilized to judge the degree to which each nominee meets the award criteria.
  • All five components of the nomination application must be submitted as a single packet.
  • All letters and statements must be no longer than one page in length.
  • All letters and statements must be written within the last six months.
  • It is recommended that letters and statements address the stated award criteria and provide evidence or examples of meeting the criteria.

Call for applications for this award is now open. To apply, please fill out the online application. The deadline is May 15, 2024.

The Award recipient will:

  • Choose one from the following conferences to attend and receive your award during the following academic year: Faculty Development, Transform conferences, or Doctoral Education conferences. The registration fee for your chosen conference will be waived. If the award recipient is a team, only one member of the team will receive a waived registration conference fee.
  • Receive an engraved award.
  • Be spotlighted on AACN’s website and in the association’s electronic publications.

2022 Recipients

Clinical Teaching Award
Cynthia Chew, DNP
University of Pittsburgh

headshot of Cynthia ChewInnovation: Dr. Cynthia Chew bridges the gap between teacher and preceptor. She is an interactive and engaging structure who works to make sure her students feel supported, heard, and valued. Dr. Chew acts as an exemplary role model, exhibiting professional values and standards, and establishing herself as a leader. She is utilizing her leadership skills to become an advocate at local, regional, and state levels. These initiatives serve as a role model for her students, and she incorporates these experiences into her lesson plans and encourages and mentors students to take up leadership and political action roles.

Biography: Dr. Cynthia Chew is an Assistant Professor of Nursing in the Department of Health Promotion and Development. She has taught in both the undergraduate and graduate programs, where her teaching responsibilities include well child pediatric primary care; differential diagnosis; nursing care of mothers, newborns and families; and various clinical courses.

Dr. Chew maintains clinical practice as a primary care pediatric nurse practitioner and lactation consultant at Pediatric Associates of Westmoreland. She frequently precepts nurse practitioner and midwifery students in the Newborn and Lactation Suite at this clinical site.

Her scholarly interests include health promotion, particularly related to breast\chestfeeding and infant health, and utilizing teaching as research. She is currently developing a telehealth curriculum for the pediatric nurse practitioner program.

Dr. Chew is passionate about advancing the role of nurse practitioners and actively participates in several professional organizations. She is a member of the National Association or Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) and was recently elected to serve on its National Nominations Committee. She is the legislative chair and treasurer-elect for the local NAPNAP Chapter and has previously served as the chapter president. Dr. Chew is also a board member for the Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and member of the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties.

Dr. Chew earned a BS in Molecular Biology and Psychology with a minor in Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh in 2005. She went on to complete a BSN in the accelerated BSN program at the University of Pittsburgh in 2010, in addition to her DNP (area of concentration: pediatric primary care nurse practitioner) in 2016. She became an Internationally Board-Certified Lactation Consultant in 2018 and also has a certificate in telemedicine.

Didactic Teaching Award
Don Boyd, PhD
Columbia University

headshot of Don BoydInnovation: Dr. Don Boyd exemplifies innovation in teaching in the classroom, remotely via zoom, and in the clinical setting.  He strives to ensure that his students consider and address social injustices and health inequities as they learn to provide culturally sensitive anesthesia care to patients and their families.  He is an innovative teacher who uses advanced pedagogies and creative methodologies to optimize student experiences.  He is a mentor and role model to his students and his fellow faculty, and he always makes himself available to all of us. For these reasons, I urge you to consider him for this award.

Biography: Don Boyd is the newly appointed Associate Director of the Nurse Anesthesia Program. Dr. Boyd is a nurse of 23 years, with 12 years of them as a certified registered nurse anesthetist. Throughout his nursing career, Dr. Boyd has continuously utilized best evidence in providing care, advocated for patients, families, and the nursing profession, and provided high quality care to patients and families across the care continuum. Dr. Boyd has trained nursing students and student registered nurse anesthetists, and has advocated for nursing scope of practice with a focus on nurse anesthetist scope of practice. Dr. Boyd is passionate about leading within the nursing profession, leading within the nurse anesthesia specialty, and educating and mentoring the next generation of nurse leaders.

2021 Recipients

Clinical Teaching Award
James Alberding, DNP, CRNA
University of Tennessee Knoxville

Innovation:James Alberding
In 2 short years, Dr. Alberding has demonstrated noteworthy qualities as novice faculty member during challenging and unprecedented times. He began his first faculty job when our concentration just implemented the DNP and Covid followed soon after. His innovative ideas alongside his professional and personal attributes significantly contributed to student success when clinical rotations were cancelled and anxiety/uncertainty prevailed. As we move toward a new normal, we are finding his contributions to be not only sustainable, but also better in many ways. He has helped shape the way we  think about teaching, learning, and ways to improve.

Didactic Teaching Award
Tracy Vitale, DNP
Rutgers University

Innovation:Tracy Vitale
Dr. Vitale has created a tremendous impact on doctoral education at Rutgers University. Her commitment to teaching excellence is not only reflected in her course evaluations but is also evident in the evolution of navigating DNP Projects. She has systematically identified gaps, reported results, and developed and implemented strategies for improvement. Her unwavering commitment to teaching has been widely recognized by students, faculty, and nursing administration. She has been recognized as a Nurse of the Year on a state level for her excellence in teaching. Her work to support DNP students within the school and beyond is undeniable.

Drawing on her extensive experience in both academic and clinical practice related to nursing care of children and childbearing, Dr. Tracy Vitale joined the Rutgers School of Nursing faculty in 2017 as an assistant professor. She teaches DNP Project courses while also assisting students with DNP Project development and writing of proposals, submissions to IRB, implementation of their projects, and synthesis of findings and implications on nursing practice.

Her areas of expertise include maternal newborn nursing from conception and fetal development through all aspects of perinatal nursing including care of the laboring patient, fetal assessment during labor, assessment of fetal well-being, discomforts of labor, pain management, high-risk pregnancy complications, post-partum care, physical and psychological care of the post-partum patient, newborn assessment and care, common deviations of the newborn, deviations of normal childbearing, and women’s health and family planning.

Dr. Vitale also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Trinitas School of Nursing in Elizabeth, NJ, where she teaches evening courses related to childbearing.

Earlier, she was a volunteer faculty member at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences.  Dr. Vitale was a nurse manager specializing in maternal fetal medicine research, as well as the out-patient maternal fetal medicine and high-risk obstetrical practices at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ, and before that as clinical coordinator and assistant nurse manager at that hospital in the labor and delivery/perinatal evaluation and treatment units.  She also worked previously as a clinical instructor at the Rutgers School of Nursing, stressing the importance of evidence-based practice in order to improve patient safety and quality of care.

Earlier, she worked as a registered nurse at Saint Peter’s University Hospital and at St. Clare’s Hospital in Denville, NJ – in both cases, working with delivering mothers and newborns.

Dr. Vitale earned her doctorate in nursing practice at the Rutgers School of Nursing. Recognizing how quality and safety in patient care can be influenced by nursing leadership, the focus of her DNP project was to evaluate the impact of a statewide mentoring program for nurse leaders on leadership practices and job satisfaction. Dr. Vitale has also earned a mini-MBA program certificate. She also holds a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Phoenix and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from The College of New Jersey.

2020 Recipients

Clinical Teaching Award  
Brittany Christiansen, DNP, FNP
The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas

Dr. Christiansen was nominated based on outstanding performance as an educator during her first three years as faculty. She has embraced the faculty role with confidence and has brought innovative teaching strategies into several programs. She works tirelessly to ensure that educational strategies are grounded in research-based principles and are inclusive of evidence-based practice guidelines. Her diverse experience has allowed for meaningful contributions across programs in undergraduate prelicensure clinicals, graduate APN education, and DNP student scholarly work. She has been recognized by the Dean for her service to the School of Nursing and exhibits leadership among our new faculty.

Dr. Christiansen is a pediatric and family nurse practitioner in emergency and urgent care departments, and a Clinical Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing. She teaches courses in pediatric clinical, advanced health assessment, and DNP practicums. Her areas of interest include advance practice regulations, childhood chronic illness, and asthma education. She is a certified asthma educator and former board member of the Association of Asthma Educators. She currently serves as President of Texas DNP and President-Elect of TANC:  The Texas Austin NAPNAP Chapter. Dr. Christiansen has experience working in a variety of specialties including NICU, Surgical/Trauma ICU, emergency nursing, and asthma case management.

Didactic Teaching Award 
Michelle Palokas, DNP, RN
The University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Mississippi

To facilitate teaching EBP to her students, Dr. Palokas implemented systematic review methodology into the DNP curriculum.  This innovative teaching strategy has strengthened our students understanding of EBP and has enhanced scholarly projects..

Dr. Michelle Palokas is an associate professor at University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) School of Nursing, director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program, and deputy director of the Mississippi Centre of Evidence-Based Practice: A Joanna Briggs Institute Centre of Excellence and Cochrane Affiliate. She has 18 years’ experience as a nurse and leader in healthcare. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Mississippi University for Women in 2002 and both her Master of Science in Nursing Administration and Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees from the School of Nursing at UMMC in 2007 and 2014, respectively.

She's been a faculty member at the school of nursing since 2016. She also has several years of leadership experience in the hospital setting, as she served at Batson Children's Hospital as the nurse manager of the general pediatric unit from 2007 to 2012 and then director of inpatient services from 2012 to 2016. She was named the University of Mississippi Medical Center's Nursing Leader of the Year in 2009. She is an accredited trainer-certified reviewer for the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Comprehensive Systematic Review Training Program and The Evidenced Based Practice Clinical Fellowship Program of Adelaide, Australia. She also received certification as a TeamSTEPPS Master Trainer from Tulane University School of Medicine in 2015.

In addition to her work in academia, she is passionate about academic/practice partnerships, patient/family-centered care, improving interprofessional collaboration in healthcare, and implementing evidence-based practice to improve patient safety, outcomes and experiences. She is an active member of several professional organizations, including the Mississippi Nurses' Association, Society of Pediatric Nurses, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society, and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.  Palokas is a peer reviewer for the Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, Journal of Pediatric Nursing, and JBI Evidence Synthesis.

Didactic Teaching Award 
Tolu Oyesanya, PhD, RN
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina


Tolu has been an outstanding faculty member and instrumental in teaching the PhD students in the classroom. In a very short time, she has excelled as a thoughtful, evidence-based educator with a heart for the students. She provides innovative strategies for learning difficult content and consistently provides mentoring for the students. She is a role model for many and is also a team player within the faculty

Dr. Tolu Oyesanya is an Assistant Professor at Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON). Dr. Oyesanya’s research program centers on care of patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) in acute and post-acute treatment settings, as well as support of their family caregivers. Her current research focuses on developing and testing interventions to improve the transitional care process for patients with TBI discharged home from acute hospital care, as well as their family caregivers. Dr. Oyesanya teaches in the DUSON PhD program. Her passion and expertise in qualitative research drive her major teaching contributions, which are teaching doctoral-level qualitative research courses. Most notably, Dr. Oyesanya developed the first doctoral-level advanced qualitative data analysis course offered at DUSON. Dr. Oyesanya earned her BS, MS, and PhD in Nursing from University of Wisconsin-Madison. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Brain Injury Research at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA. Her research has been supported by several federal and intramural awards. Dr. Oyesanya is actively involved in various professional organizations, including as chair of the Mentoring Task Force of the Early Career Networking Group with the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and as a member of the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses and the International Brain Injury Association.

2019 Recipients

Clinical Teaching Award
Christine Mullins, DNP, APRN
East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee

As a member of the inaugural AACN Apple Innovation boot camp, Dr, Mullins worked with faculty and students to develop a digital student clinical application. 

Christine Mullins, DNP, APRN is an Assistant Professor teaching in the School of Nursing Graduate Program at East Tennessee State University (ETSU). Dr. Mullins earned an associate degree in applied science (nursing) from Mountain Empire Community College in 2002, a baccalaureate in science of nursing degree in 2006 from King College, and a doctor of nursing practice degree specializing in the family nurse practitioner (FNP) concentration from East Tennessee State University in 2014.  Dr. Mullins began her teaching career at ETSU in October of 2014 as a Clinical Training Director and Clinical Coordinator on an interprofessional education grant, later accepting a tenure-track Assistant Professor position with the College of Nursing in 2016. She has a passion for information technology, teaching, and coordinating clinical. Dr. Mullins’ scholarship endeavors have surrounded clinical practice, chairing DNP student projects, interprofessional education, preceptorship, digital clinical application development and implementation, and faculty-led clinical competency exam preparation. She was most recently funded by the ETSU College of Nursing Research for creation of a digital clinical application, an idea that sparked from attending the Inaugural American Association of Colleges of Nursing/Apple Digital Innovative Bootcamp in 2018. Dr. Mullins serves as a co-leader for a working group in the Tennessee Interprofessional Practice and Education Consortium exploring interprofessional classroom based educational endeavors.  

Didactic Teaching Award
Annie Rohan, PhD, RN
Stony Brook University, Brooklyn, New York

Dr. Rohan’s innovation and effectiveness, and commitment to assessment, evaluation and quality outcomes, has resulted in her recent appointment as Program Director for our Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program. During her short time as Program Director, she has continued to expand the use of open-access resources, including leading the way to meet our University “Green Classroom” initiative: She was our first Program Director to support faculty in reducing textbooks by over 80% by transitioning to open-access resources or e-textbooks.

Annie J. Rohan, PhD, RN, is an Assistant Professor in the Stony Brook University School of Nursing where she teaches across programs, but primarily concentrates on teaching-learning pedagogies and novel programming in the graduate department.  Dr. Rohan’s current educational research is focused on developing and testing novel writing interventions for DNP students to improve writing outcomes. These interventions have been presented at the 2017 AACN Doctoral Conference, and have been published in Clinical Education (Rohan & Fulllerton, 2018) and JAANP (Rohan & Fulllerton, 2019).  In her role as Project Director for one of HRSA’s largest 4-year Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students awards ($3.2 million), Dr. Rohan supports over 60 educationally or environmentally disadvantaged graduate students from underserved neighborhoods of New York to develop the future healthcare workforce for these regions. Beyond securing broad tuition support to students, Dr. Rohan has demonstrated an appreciation for student challenge by expanding the use of open-access resources to reduce book fees. She was the first Program Director in her school to achieve a reduction in textbook use by over 80% through transition to open-educational resources and e-textbooks, thereby earning the university’s “Green Classroom” designation for the program.

2018 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.


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Congratulations to the 2022 Award Recipients!

photo of cynthia chew

Clinical Teaching Award

Cynthia Chew, DNP
University of Pittsburgh

photo of Don Boyd

Didactic Teaching Award

Don Boyd, PhD
Columbia University

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