AACN Faculty Scholar Grant Recipients Announced by the Foundation for Academic Nursing

WASHINGTON, DC, October 24, 2022 – The Foundation for Academic Nursing, the philanthropic arm of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), is pleased to announce the 2022-2023 recipients of the AACN Faculty Scholars Grant. The nurse educators to receive funding this year include Dr. Carol Kostovich from Loyola University Chicago for her project titled Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of a DEI Toolkit for Simulation; and the team of Drs. Kelly Small Casler and Kate Sustersic Gawlik from The Ohio State University for their project titled Virtual Reality Simulation to Aid in Competency-based Online Nurse Practitioner Curriculum.

“Accelerating innovation in nursing education and recognizing faculty excellence are top priorities for AACN,” said Dr. Deborah Trautman, AACN’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “I applaud the year’s Faculty Scholars for their work to leverage simulation to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion and the transition to competency-based education in their award-worthy projects.”

The AACN Board of Directors initiated the Faculty Scholars Grant Program in 2019 to spotlight the innovative work led by nurse educators to redesign teaching and learning at schools of nursing. Initial funding for this program – which the Foundation for Academic Nursing now administers – was provided by more than 150 member schools and colleague organizations that contributed to AACN’s 50th Anniversary Celebration program. 

Meet the 2022-2023 AACN Faculty Scholars

Following a competitive process involving 42 applications from faculty nationwide, the following researchers were selected to receive $25,000 to support their scholarly efforts:

Carol KostovichCarol Kostovich, PhD, RN, CHSE, is an Associate Professor and Assistant Dean of Innovative Educational Strategies and Simulation at the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Loyola University Chicago. In addition to teaching, she oversees nursing simulation and lab activities provided across campuses within the pre-licensure and graduate programs. Dr. Kostovich holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing and a post-graduate certificate in Educational Research Methodology. Her research focuses on the development of the phenomenon of nursing presence as an element of patient-centered care as well as designing and evaluating innovative approaches to teaching in the classroom, online, or in the simulation lab. She is a certified healthcare simulation educator. Dr. Kostovich is currently the principal investigator on a HRSA-funded Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention Simulation Education Training Program grant promoting undergraduate telehealth education with a focus on care for rural and underserved populations.

Kelly Small CaslerKelly Small Casler, DNP, APRN-CNP, CHSE, is Associate Clinical Professor at The Ohio State University College of Nursing where she teaches in the Family Nurse Practitioner program. She also teaches in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program and is a doctoral project advisor. Dr. Casler launched her nursing career at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (2001) and Master of Science (2006) degrees.  She earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice (2018) from the University of Kansas School of Nursing where her doctoral work focused on Primary Care of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. She is a certified healthcare simulation educator and holds a certificate of added qualification in evidence-based practice from the Fuld Institute for Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing and Healthcare. 
Kate Sustersic GawlikKate Sustersic Gawlik, DNP, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, serves as an Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing, the Director of Undergraduate Health and Wellness Academic Programming, the Co-Director of the Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness program, and project manager for the Million Hearts® initiatives at The Ohio State University College of Nursing. She is certified as a family nurse practitioner and has extensive clinical experience in a variety of settings with expertise in population health, education of interprofessional healthcare students, wellness, parental burnout, and cardiovascular disease prevention. She has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate nursing courses and is recognized nationally as a cardiovascular prevention expert. Dr. Gawlik was awarded the American Association of Nurse Practitioners State Award for Excellence in 2018. She is co-editor and author of four nursing textbooks.

For information on previous AACN Faculty Scholars Grant recipients and their award-winning projects, click here.


Contributing to the Foundation for Academic Nursing

The Foundation for Academic Nursing is currently seeking support from philanthropies, corporate donors, and individuals looking to advance AACN’s goals and priorities. Your support will help to expand our impact and usher in new innovations in nursing education and practice. Those wishing to contribute to support the AACN Faculty Scholars grant program and other initiatives are encouraged to donate online via the AACN Web site. Click here to see a list of current donors.

For more information, please contact AACN’s Foundation Director, Dr. Katie Fioravanti, at kfioravanti@aacnnursing.org.