Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Excellence Award

The purpose of the AACN Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Excellence Award is to recognize a faculty member who systematically investigates questions related to student learning and the conditions under which it occurs in order to improve outcomes.

Nominations are closed.

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

  • Faculty at AACN member school
  • Experienced faculty; defined as teaching full- or part-time for 5 years or more in the faculty role
  • Faculty with a doctoral degree in nursing or related discipline
  • Faculty teaching at the undergraduate and/or graduate level

  • Demonstrates a program of research focused on the science of teaching and learning
  • Disseminates scholarship of teaching and learning through national and/or international presentations and peer-reviewed publications
  • Provides leadership in the application of evidence-based teaching/learning practices to impact student learning outcomes

The eligible faculty member may be nominated by their Dean/Program Director, a peer faculty member, or a student. The nomination application packet consists of the components:

  1. Letter from Dean/Program Director – may be nominating letter or letter of support.
  2. Letter from a peer faculty member or a student – may be nominating letter or letter of support.
  3. Additional letters of support – not to exceed two additional letters of support from either students or peer faculty.
  4. Nominee curriculum vitae
  5. Nominee personal statement – describe your program of research and how it meets the Award Criteria
  • There must be at least one letter of nomination and one letter of support.
  • It is recommended that letters address the stated award criteria and provide evidence or examples of meeting the criteria.
  • All letters and statements must be no longer than two pages in length.
  • All letters must be written within the last six months.
  • All components of the application packet will be utilized to judge the degree to which each nominee meets the award criteria.
  • All components of the nomination application must be submitted as a single packet; either as a single document or multiple documents submitted attached to a single electronic mail message. PDF is the preferred format.

Call for applications for this award is now closed.

The Award recipient will:

  • Choose one from the following conferences to attend and receive your award during the following academic year: Doctoral Education Conference or Transform Conference. 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 Award

Kathleen Poindexter, PhDheadshot of Kathleen Poindexter
Michigan State University

Innovation: Dr. Poindexter has demonstrated substantial and enduring contributions in the area of evidence-based curriculum development in nursing. Dr. Poindexter has over three decades of academic experience and leadership in curricular and program development. Her scholarly efforts have provided many schools of nursing with the evidence, tools, and philosophical perspectives needed to enhance the science of teaching and learning. Her work serves to ensure that current and future generations of nurses are well-prepared for their role upon graduation. Her extraordinary contributions in nursing education make her an exceptional candidate for the AACN Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Excellence Award.

Biography: Dr. Poindexter is an Associate Professor and Interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Faculty Development at MSU College of Nursing (CON) and Chair of the National League for Nursing. In addition, she is the Director of the College Teaching in Nursing Certificate Program, CON Teaching Assistant program, faculty mentoring program. She provides faculty consultations on teaching to support student learning outcomes, including teaching in online environments, and scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) projects. She is also involved beyond the discipline of nursing as a member of the Interprofessional Education Strategic Planning and Development Committee in collaboration with the College of Osteopathic Medicine and multiple regional community colleges. Dr. Poindexter is board certified in nursing education and is a fellow in the Academy of Nurse Educators.

Dr. Poindexter has over 30 years of academic experience and leadership in curricular and program development. Prior to her current role, she was the Director and co-designer of an innovative MSN Adult-Gerontology CNS and Nurse Education Program to address the national faculty shortage and prepare teaching ready clinical experts. She served as a member and chair of the National League for Nursing Board of Commissioners and chair of the test development committee responsible for launching the nation’s first certification exam for clinical nurse educators. Most recently, in response to the mental health challenges facing nurses, Dr. Poindexter has lead efforts in the CON BSN program to infuse well-being behaviors as part of course delivery to provide future nurses with the lived experience and tools to provide self-care. She led the implementation of a BSN competency based clinical learning process and collaborated with faculty to re-design the BSN curriculum to thread academic and experiential activities on evidence-based practice, social determinants of health, advocacy, equity, diversity, person-centered care, transitions of care, and community. She has served as a PI on simulation and education studies on the integration of evidence-based practice across the curriculum, interprofessional communication and triage for maternal infant care using high fidelity in-situ simulation in collaboration with Sparrow Health System, interprofessional triage care using telehealth in collaboration with the College of Human Medicine, and an interprofessional simulation activity using TeamSTEPPS communication in collaboration with College of Osteopathic Medicine. She is a master TeamSTEPPS trainer and co-facilitates workshops on interprofessional communication across the Health Colleges and Partnering Health Systems. 

Dr. Poindexter has a substantial record of contributions to the advancement of teaching and leadership in the profession. Her areas of focus include interprofessional education, team training, simulation, authentic learning and assessment, and nurse educator competency/certification. She was awarded a teaching fellowship in the Preparing Future Faculty, Council of Graduate Colleges, and a recipient of the National League for Nursing Promise of Nursing Faculty Award. She has served as Co-I on a HRSA grant to advance interprofessional education for nursing, pharmacy, and medicine. She was also a PI on a multi-year nursing workforce grant to prepare future nurse educators in the State of Michigan. She has published and presented her research on nurse educator entry level competencies to teach, value associated with nurse educator certification, reduction in patient care errors using interprofessional communication, interprofessional communication competencies integrated into the curriculum, and integration of genetics into undergraduate and graduate nursing education. Dr. Poindexter serves on the editorial board for Nurse Education Perspectives and the Journal of Nursing Education.

2021 Recipients

Angela McNelis, PhD, RNAngela McNelis
George Washington University

Innovation: Dr. Angela McNelis is an outstanding nursing professional, colleague, researcher and leader making a difference in the clinical nursing education across the spectrum through her evidence-based work in the scholarship of teaching and learning.  Her contributions are substantial and impactful to our nursing profession, and pivotal to nursing education. In addition to her own direct and sustained outputs, Dr. McNelis has inspired countless nursing students, clinicians and faculty to become nurse educators, influencing and improving outcomes for learners and healthcare consumers nationally and internationally.

Biography: Angela "Angie" McNelis, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF, CNE, is a tenured professor and Associate Dean for Scholarship, Innovation and Clinical Science at the George Washington University School of Nursing. She is a leader, scholar, and educator transforming nursing education through evidence-based research, landmark studies, pedagogical innovations and dissemination of results locally, nationally and internationally. Her leadership and work advance the science by developing evidence to direct transformative changes in education across pre-licensure, graduate and doctoral education.

She has made impressive contributions to the disciplinary understanding of the challenges of current clinical education models and how student-faculty interactions promote (or fail to promote) student learning. From her pivotal national study exploring the state of undergraduate clinical education to studies providing the evidence for transforming a Psychiatric CNS Program into an innovative Psychiatric-Mental Health Lifespan Nurse Practitioner Program, her work addresses today’s community and health care needs and serves as models for other programs across the country.

Her scholarship in interprofessional education furthers the mission of integrating mental (substance use) and physical health in the community by preparing nurses, social workers and medical residents to address psychiatric and mental health concerns in their care delivery. Along the continuum of higher education, her work exploring doctoral education is providing the necessary evidence to guide the revision of doctoral programs to prepare our next generation of faculty and nursing leaders. The evidence from several studies is already changing doctoral curricula.

Dr. McNelis is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN), an American Nurse Educator Fellow (ANEF), and a Certified Nurse Educator (CNE). Her leadership significantly impacts nursing education across the program spectrum through her evidence-based research that calls for a transformation in both the didactic and clinical arenas to prepare better nursing graduates to deliver safe, quality care in health care settings.

2020 Recipients

Mary Winton, PhD, RN
Tarleton State University, Stephenville, Texas

Dr. Winton excels in the classroom as both an educator and role model. Her passion for her students abounds. In addition to her full-time teaching as a tenured faculty she adds to the professionalism and credibility of our school and profession of nursing.

2019 Recipients

Ashley Franklin, PhD, RN
Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas

Dr. Franklin provides leadership in the application of evidence-based teaching practices in healthcare simulation. Under her leadership, our undergraduate nursing program has developed a sustainable curriculum that includes three independent simulation courses, trained facilitators and operations staff. Under her direction, TCU Nursing has been able to implement a high volume of simulation cases in our Health Professions Learning Center for on campus clinical.

Ashley Franklin, PhD, RN is an Assistant Professor at Texas Christian University, Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences.  She has over 10 years of teaching experience in pre-licensure nursing education.  Her program of research centers on simulation pedagogy to prepare novice providers for independent practice.  Dr. Franklin teaches a graduate Principles of Simulation course and coordinates the Clinical Reasoning in Simulation course series for undergraduate students.  She is a Certified Nurse Educator through the National League for Nursing and is certified in simulation by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.  Dr. Franklin has received research grants from the National League for Nursing and Sigma Theta Tau International.  Additionally, she directed a simulation faculty development program grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Nurse Innovation Grant Program.  Dr. Franklin is the chair of the Research Committee for the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning and also serves on the Certification Committee for the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.  

2018 Recipients

Jennie De Gagne, PhD, DNP
Duke University, Durham, NC

Dr. Jennie De Gagne is an Associate Professor at Duke University School of Nursing. Her program of scholarship seeks to advance the science of teaching and learning through the effective use of instructional technologies to create a student-centered environment that facilitates deeper and more constructive learning. Cybercivility is on the cutting edge of this very important topic, inciting her to develop and lead novel projects addressing cyberincivility among health professionals and students. She has been highly productive in disseminating her scholarly work through more than 100 publications and 80 presentations on technology use in the classroom, faculty development in online education, and cybercivility, as well as workforce training through distance/online instruction. Dr. De Gagne is a member of the National League for Nursing (NLN) Academy of Nursing Education and the American Academy of Nursing. She has been the recipient of scholarships and awards throughout her professional and academic career, being interviewed nationally and internationally for print and digital media.

Sherry Farra, PhD, RN
Wright State University, Dayton, OH

FarraDr. Sherry Farra is an Associate Professor at Wright State University, College of Nursing and Health. She has over 20 years of teaching experience in nursing education. Her areas of experience include medical-surgical nursing, leadership, community and disaster nursing. Currently, Dr. Farra teaches evidence-based practice and leadership courses and is the Director for the National Disaster Health Consortium. She is a Certified Nurse Educator through the National League for Nursing and is certified in simulation by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. Dr. Farra’s research interests are in disaster training and simulation strategies. Currently, she is federally funded to study virtual reality simulation as a method to train workers to evacuate the neonatal intensive care unit. In addition, she has grant funding from the Association of Community Health Nurse Educators to study learning outcomes following participation in disaster training through the National Disaster Health Consortium.

2016 Recipient

Marilyn Oermann, PhD, RN
Duke University, Durham, NC

Dr. Oermann is the Thelma M. Ingles Professor of Nursing and Director of Evaluation and Educational Research at Duke University School of Nursing. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Nurse Educator and the Journal of Nursing Care Quality. Dr. Oermann is the author/co-author of 18 books, more than 150 articles in peer reviewed journals, and many other types of publications. Her current books are (1) Evaluation and Testing in Nursing Education; (2) Writing for Publication in Nursing; (3) Clinical Teaching Strategies in Nursing; and (4) Teaching in Nursing and Role of the Educator: The Complete Guide to Best Practice in Teaching, Evaluation, and Curriculum Development. She is the editor of a new book, A Systematic Approach to Assessment and Evaluation of Nursing Programs, and she edited 6 volumes of the Annual Review of Nursing Education. Dr. Oermann is a member of the American Academy of Nursing and National League for Nursing (NLN) Academy of Nursing Education. She received the NLN Award for Excellence in Nursing Education Research and the Sigma Theta Tau International Elizabeth Russell Belford Award for Excellence in Education.

2015 Recipient

Marie T. Nolan, PhD, MPH RN
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Dr. Marie T. Nola is Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Chair of the Department of Acute and Chronic Care at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. She also has a joint appointment in the Johns Hopkins University Berman Institute of Bioethics. Dr. Nolan’s baccalaureate degree is from Niagara University in New York; her Master’s degree in nursing is from Boston College and her PhD is from the School of Nursing at Catholic University of America. Dr. Nolan is President of the International Network for Doctoral Education in Nursing (INDEN) and has had the pleasure of working with faculty and students from universities throughout the world in this organization. She is also the Johns Hopkins University Director of the School of Nursing China Doctoral Program Partnership with Peking Union Medical College School of Nursing in Beijing, China. She also has a joint appointment in the Johns Hopkins University Berman Institute of Bioethics. For the past 15 years Dr. Nolan and her interdisciplinary research team have conducted NIH-funded studies focused on patient and family decision making at the end of life for patients with cancer, heart failure and neurologic illness. She and her team are currently testing an intervention to promote shared patient-family decision making. The goal of this research is to prepare family caregivers for their possible role as proxy decision makers for a seriously ill loved one.

2014 Recipient

Susan Stillwell, DNP, RN, CNE, ANEF, FAAN
University of Portland, Portland, OR

Dr. Susan Stillwell is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Graduate Programs at the School of Nursing at the University of Portland. Prior to joining the University of Portland, she was Associate Director of the Center for the Advancement of Evidence-based Practice at Arizona State University, College of Nursing and Health Innovation. Dr. Stillwell received her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama, her Masters of Science in Nursing from the University of Florida, Gainesville, and her Bachelors of Science from the College of Saint Teresa, Winona Minnesota. She is a Fellow in the National League for Nursing Academy of Nursing Education and in the American Academy of Nursing. Dr. Stillwell’s areas of inquiry include evidence-based practice and nursing education. She is an expert EBP Mentor and has published and presented on the topic of evidence-based practice nationally and internationally. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, the National League for Nursing and the American Nurses Association. Dr. Stillwell is a certified nurse educator and serves on the editorial board of Nurse Educator.

2013 Recipient

Pamela Jeffries, PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Dr. Pamela R. Jeffries received a BSN from Ball State University, and her MSN and PhD from Indiana University. She is a professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. Dr. Jeffries is nationally known for her research and work in developing simulations and online teaching and learning. At the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and throughout the academic community, she is well regarded for her expertise in experiential learning, innovative teaching strategies, new pedagogies, and the delivery of content using technology in nursing education. Dr. Jeffries has served as PI on grants with national organizations such as the National League for Nursing (NLN), has provided research leadership and mentorship on national projects with the National Council State Board of Nursing, and has served as a consultant for healthcare organizations, corporations, large healthcare organizations, and publishers providing expertise in clinical education, simulations, and other emerging technologies. Dr. Jeffries is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN), an American Nurse Educator Fellow (ANEF), and most recently, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow (ENF). She also serves as a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Global, Intraprofessional Education (IPE) forum and has just been appointed as President-elect to the interprofessional, international Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) by her health professional colleagues. She has numerous publications, is sought to deliver presentations nationally and internationally, and has just edited two books, “Simulations in Nursing Education: From Conceptualization to Evaluation (2nd edition) and “Developing Simulation Centers Using the Consortium Model.” She has received federal and state grant funding to support her research focus in nursing education and the science of innovation and learning. Jeffries was newly inducted in the prestigious Sigma Theta Tau Research Hall of Fame and is the recipient of several teaching and research awards from the Midwest Nursing Research Society, the International Nursing Association of Clinical Simulations and Learning (INACSL), and teaching awards from the National League of Nursing and Sigma Theta Tau, International.

2012 Recipient

Pamela Ironside, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF
Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Pamela Ironside received her baccalaureate degree from Luther College, master’s degree from the University of Minnesota, and PhD from University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is currently a Professor and Director of the Center for Research in Nursing Education at Indiana University. Committed to advancing the science of nursing education, Dr. Ironside is at the forefront of national efforts to bring research-based, discipline-specific pedagogies into nursing curricula and respond to challenges from contemporary practice environments. Her research includes numerous funded investigations of the ways new pedagogies influence the practices of thinking in nursing classrooms and clinical courses, the ways students’ interactions with faculty and preceptors during clinical experiences foster thinking and learning, and the ways in which nursing faculty undertake reform and innovation in their courses. Her research substantively contributes to evidence-based approaches to faculty development and teacher preparation thereby increasing the pedagogical literacy in nursing faculty. This work has been widely disseminated nationally and internationally in keynote addresses, paper presentations, workshops, and symposia. Her work is published in research and education journals, monographs, book chapters, and web-based modules. She is a member of the National Advisory Council for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiative on Evaluating Innovations in Nursing Education. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and the Academy of Nursing Education. She is the recipient of the Excellence in Nursing Education Research award from the National League for Nursing, the Advancing the Science of Nursing award for the Education Section of the Midwest Nursing Research Society, and the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.


If you have any questions, please email

Congratulations to the 2022 Award Recipient!

photo of Kathleen Poindexter

Kathleen Poindexter, PhD
Michigan State University