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Nursing Teaching Awards

Karen Schumacher Nancy Tkacs Deborah Cross

Julie Fairman Sarah Kagan

Dr. Karen L. Schumacher, assistant professor of nursing, was wholeheartedly endorsed by nine students who signed the letter nominating her for the School of Nursing Teaching Award concluding, "Dr. Schumacher is a superb scholar and an excellent teacher."

"Dr. Schumacher engaged the class in discussion on the intricate health relationships between a community and its members, and revealed to us the complexities of delivering care outside of an acute care setting. She incorporated her research on family caregiving into the course, helping us to grasp firsthand some of the paths of inquiry currently being pursued in the field," the students wrote.

Dr. Nancy C. Tkacs, assistant professor of nursing, was nominated for the Undergraduate Advisor Award by her advisee of four years, Aileen Lin. "Her willingness to make herself available for advising me was invaluable. We knew exactly where we could find Dr. Tkacs in her office or down the hall in her lab. Through e-mail and personal contact, she was always available, even for a little chat. More recently, I have found Dr. Tkacs to be very helpful in guiding me professionally. Without her encouragement and support, I would have never sought out an incredible opportunity which led me to an interest in pediatric oncology."

Deborah Cross received the Academic Support Staff Teaching Award. She works with almost all the graduate students in the School of Nursing. She not only provides extremely high quality instruction to students, but also mentors the many faculty who teach in the Clinical Decision-Making in Advanced Nursing Practice course. "It is directly due to her leadership that this course is one of the highest quality courses in the School of Nursing," wrote Christine Bradway. Anna S. Beeber, a Hartford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Scholar said, "As her student, I felt that Ms. Cross was always available for assistance with difficult material especially for my classmates who were having difficulty with the course. Ms. Cross always grounded the course content in the "big picture" of patient care, and helped us understand why physical assessment and history-taking is so important to practice."

The Doctoral Student Organization renamed their award to the Barbara Lowery DSO Faculty Award, honoring the late Dr. Lowery who was instrumental in the lives of so many doctoral students at Penn. The award will be given, as is tradition, at the nursing commencement exercises.

The award this year goes to Dr. Julie A. Fairman, associate professor of nursing. The students wrote that she is recognized  "for her outstanding contributions to the development of future nursing scholars, through cultivation of intellectual discourse by challenging the student's initial thoughts and paradigms and assistance with developing roads of future inquiry by creating a sound and secure educational environment for exploration. Dr. Fairman was noted as being an invaluable mentor who demonstrated warmth, generosity, and respect for her students; and for her particular ability to ease the transition of first year doctoral students."

Dr. Sarah H. Kagan, associate professor of gerontological nursing, and Doris R. Schwartz Term Professor in Gerontological Nursing, is the first recipient of the Minorities in Nursing Organization Distinguished Faculty Award for Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity. The award was established this year to show appreciation to the faculty member who demonstrates within their course, true incorporation of cultural issues in an open and sensitive manner. It is within the mission of the Minorities in Nursing Organization to promote and recognize cultural diversity within the nursing profession.

Dr. Kagan has taught Nursing Care of the Older Adult  "with ease as she wholeheartedly allows the student to become a clinician in treating the patient, regardless of cultural background, with respect. It is with sincere admiration and respect that the executive board of MNO awards such a dedicated teacher this honor," wrote the students.

Ms. Salimah Meghani, the recipient of this year's Teaching Assistant Award, is "a scholar who is consistent in her thorough and excellent undertaking of all aspects of the teaching experience. She is unfailingly kind and considerate to students and to other teaching team members. She is fair, an excellent listener and a skilled teacher, dedicated to helping all of her students reach their optimal capabilities," according to Dr. Susan Gennaro, professor of nursing, director of Doctoral and Postdoctoral Studies, and Director of the International Center of Research for Women, Children, and Families.

"I'm sure our students had great difficulty choosing these wonderful teachers from among so many at the School. Great teaching is central to the core mission of any school, but most particularly to a great school of nursing which must develop culturally competent and academically stellar leaders for our future," said Dr. Afaf I. Meleis, Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing.

  Almanac, Vol. 49, No. 33, May 13, 2003