On May 11, the faculty and staff of the GW School of Nursing met for a lunchtime event in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the Dean’s Excellence Awards. Interim Dean Pamela Slaven-Lee, D.N.P., FNP-C, FAANP, presided over the annual event that is held to recognize outstanding work in support of GW Nursing, its mission, vision, and values.
The first of the Dean’s Excellence Awards recognized the undergraduate and graduate educators who consistently demonstrate excellence in their work with GW Nursing students, both in teaching and mentoring.
The Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching was awarded to Nadine Marchi, D.N.P., RN, CNE, CRRN, a clinical assistant professor of nursing teaching in the Accelerated B.S.N. program. She is a certified nurse educator, healthcare simulation educator and rehabilitation nurse with experience in medical-surgical nursing, dialysis, pediatrics, rehabilitation and occupational health.
One of her nominators said, “Dr. Marchi is an exceptional teacher who really cares about her student's success. She is innovative and promotes active learning strategies in her classroom. She dresses up as the patient and uses creativity to bring the teaching to real life. She is a dedicated faculty member and always makes time for students and colleagues.”
The Excellence in Graduate Teaching was awarded to Sherrie Wallington, Ph.D., a tenure-track assistant professor and health disparities researcher specializing in oncology. Dr. Wallington teaches and conducts research on health communication, social determinants of health, and community-based participatory research strategies that focus on prevention, health disparities, and clinical trial recruitment and engagement.
“Dr. Wallington is an excellent scholar - teacher and an essential asset to the GWU SON,” said one nominator. “She continually tries to improve her teaching and seeks feedback often. She encourages her students, especially doctoral students, to think critically, ask questions, and apply a social determinants of health and health equity lens to their research and scholarship.” A student said of Dr. Wallington, "She is magnificent! She made an online distance-based learning experience feel not so far away. She was incredibly communicative and supportive to her students.”
The award for Excellence in Undergraduate Student Mentoring went to Olu Feyisetan, M.A., B.A., B.S.N., FNP-BC, a clinical nursing instructor with nine years of cardiovascular critical care experience and years serving as a clinical instructor. She also has a mental health clinical background and enjoys students' discovery of learning and their journey from amateur to expert.
“Olu never hesitates to talk to students and give words of advice…about how to transition from the life of a nursing student and become successful with academics,” said one nominator. “She is approachable, a good listener, non-judgmental, and makes you feel welcome.”
The award for Excellence in Teaching in a Part-Time Appointment went to Julia Clarke, M.S.N., RN, CNS, who has worked in nursing education since 2008 and specializes in maternal-child health. Ms. Clarke began teaching in the GW Nursing skills and simulation lab in 2012. She strongly believes in being an active partner with students to build their confidence and competence so they can meet their learning objectives.
In a nomination from one of her fellow faculty members, they wrote, “Julia has worked tirelessly for the ABSN program. As a lab coordinator, she has had to deal first hand with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic on nursing education. Skills lab instruction is not one that can easily pivot to online or hybrid delivery. Julia found ways to meet course objectives and program objectives for the Accelerated B.S.N. program during this challenging time.”
The award for Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring went to Rhonda Schwindt, D.N.P., RN, PMHNP-BC, PMHCNS-BC, an associate professor (tenured), who is focused on reducing the disproportionate impact of tobacco use among high-risk populations. She is a nationally certified psychiatric/mental health clinical nurse specialist and nurse practitioner with extensive experience teaching graduate nursing students.
Rhonda’s nomination received tremendous support from her students, one of whom noted, “Dr. Schwindt is not just a teacher, but a mentor and life saver…She has been a role model and a mentor who was vigilant in her efforts to help me succeed. She reached out to me, even though there was a time difference, to check in on me and decrease my stress level…She has been right there supporting me and mentoring me along the way.”
Each year, GW Nursing awards the Civility Award, which honors those employees who cultivate and nurture positive relations among and between faculty, staff and students, who promote an environment where individuals feel safe and supported, and where their words and actions reflect respect and responsibility for a humane workplace. This year, the Civility Award went to Billy Mullins, D.N.P., RN, NE-BC, a clinical assistant professor for the Accelerated B.S.N. program. Dr. Mullins began his healthcare career as a corpsman in the United States Navy. After his military service, he has primarily worked in teaching hospitals in the role of licensed practice
nurse, registered nurse, nurse manager, clinical specialist, nursing director, and education coordinator. He is also a GW Nursing alumnus.
“Billy is always willing to give of his time when asked and seems to genuinely enjoy being a part of the School of Nursing,” said a nominator. “Despite the stresses that come with the job, he is consistently kind and respectful. His presence and actions in the workplace and learning environment make it feel like a safe space for students, faculty, and staff.”
The Impact Award, which recognizes a faculty member who has made exceptional and sustained contributions to advance the School of Nursing, was awarded to Catherine Cox, Ph.D., RN, CEN, CNE, CCRN, FAAN. Dr. Cox came to GW Nursing in 2016 from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in Washington, D.C., where she was director of programs. She started her career as a Navy nurse in the intensive care unit at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and in 2014 retired as a Captain from the U.S. Navy Reserves.
One student supporter shared in their nomination that, “Dr. Cox is an outstanding professor. She goes above and beyond to ensure the success of all students that she has the opportunity to teach. The extra work and dedication she puts into developing the future nurses from George Washington University is unmatched. She is also a mentor, leader and guide to the veteran students that face unique challenges while attending the BSN program.”
The School of Nursing introduced two new faculty awards this year: Excellence in Faculty Mentorship and Excellence in Research & Scholarship.
The Excellence in Faculty Mentorship Award recognizes a senior faculty member (associate professor/professor) who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to faculty mentoring through their work with junior and mid-career faculty to foster their development and success. The inaugural recipient of this award was Angie McNelis, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, ANEF, CNE, a tenured professor and associate dean for scholarship, innovation and clinical science. 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.
Angie received several nominations that emphasized how she generously gives of her time to mentor GW Nursing faculty and Ph.D. students. They praised her for encouraging their development, especially in nursing education. “She is a great role model and is the definition of faculty excellence,” said one nominator. “She readily offers her time, talents, and expertise to facilitate the success of faculty in order to help them develop as scholars, researchers, and published authors,” said another.
The Excellence in Faculty Research & Scholarship recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding scholarship in a specific project or activity. The first ever recipient and first unanimous winner of a Dean’s Excellence Award was Tony Yang, ScD, LLM, MPH, the Endowed Professor (with tenure) in Health Policy at GW Nursing. He holds a joint appointment at the Milken Institute School of Public Health in the Department of Health Policy and Management.
Tony has raised the bar for research productivity at GW Nursing. His research on health care delivery and population health is not only important and impactful, it goes across disciplines and is timely given the pandemic. He has published more than 120 manuscripts and his publications have appeared in top-tiered national and international journals. He has received more than $3 million in federal research funding as a principal investigator in addition to funding from various private foundations and organizations. His research and scholarship, which has positioned him to make lasting contributions to his discipline, influences policy, practice, and education and aligns perfectly with the mission of GW Nursing.
The DAISY Foundation, as part of its service to the nursing profession’s role in patient care, established The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Faculty. The purpose of this program is to provide to colleges and schools of nursing a national recognition program they may use to demonstrate appreciation to faculty for their commitment and inspirational influence on their nursing students.
The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Preceptor was awarded to Tiffany Coullahan, M.S.N., RN.
One of her nominators wrote, “Tiffany is my current mentor in my M.S.N. program, and in my career. Tiffany inspires nurses by providing them with the knowledge of nursing leadership success… She builds young leaders around her. GW is lucky that she has assisted in shaping so many young leaders through clinical preceptorship. I cannot think of another person who is more deserving of such a meaningful award.”
The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Semester Hire was awarded to Latoya Spencer, D.N.P., RN, NE-BC.
Dr. Spencer’s nomination described her as “one of the best clinical instructors GW has to offer... She goes above and beyond for each student and makes them feel important and heard. Dr. Spencer goes out of her way each week at clinical to make sure you are getting the most out of this experience. She pushed us to be involved, critically think, and to step outside our comfort zone. She was always encouraging and there to check up on you constantly to make sure your day was full of experiences and new knowledge.”
And the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Faculty was given to Whitney Shanley, D.N.P., APRN, FNP-BC, who has taught in the Accelerated B.S.N. program for eleven years. Dr. Shanley teaches Health Assessment and holds high standards for all of the nursing students. She inspires both students who are doing well, and those who are struggling, to embody accountability and high ethics in their coursework. Dr. Shanley is constantly re-evaluating the Health Assessment course and outcomes, enabling it to become a better course with every cohort.