School of Nursing Teaching Awards

Dean’s Award for Exemplary Teaching

caption: Lisa LewisLisa M. Lewis is an associate professor in the department of family and community health, a Calvin Bland Fellow and the assistant dean for Diversity and Inclusivity. She teaches Psychological and Social Diversity in Health and Wellness to undergraduate Nursing students and co-teaches Health Equity: Conceptual, Linguistic, Methodological, and Ethical Issues to T32 trainees and other doctoral students. She has had a holistic impact on the growth and success of our teaching mission across all curricula. Her students note the clarity of her insights and the creativity of her lesson planning in addition to her compassion and empathy. As one pre-doctoral fellow states, “She makes not only the academic success of her students a priority but also the overall well-being of the student….She believes that her success is exemplified in the success of her students.” A teaching collaborator notes, “I felt my own teaching was enriched by her collegiality and feedback.” Dr. Lewis demonstrates an ability to break down barriers and foster meaningful experiences for all at Penn Nursing.

Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence

caption: Loretta SernekosLoretta A. Sernekos, a senior lecturer in the department of biobehavioral health sciences, teaches physiology, pathophysiology, therapeutics, cell biology and microbiology to undergraduate and master’s students. Her knowledge and innovative teaching style enables them to think critically and compassionately. One student noted, “She encourages deep critical thinking and problem-solving through her engaging classes. Most important, she promotes and enhances the image of nursing as the cross-section of compassionate inquiry and creative science.” In addition to providing mentorship to former students, she also seeks input from them about their clinical experiences to inform her teaching and invites them to tutor current students. And from a peer: “Dr. Sernekos goes above and beyond in developing and enhancing the learning experience for her students….She exemplifies the encouragement and steadfastness of a committed teacher—the gift that Dr. Sernekos provides for her students that is unconditionally necessary for excellence in teaching.”

Dean’s Award for MS/MSN/DNP Scholarly Mentorship

caption: Patricia GriffithPatricia Griffith is an advanced senior lecturer in the biobehavioral health sciences department teaching in the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program (AGACNP) master’s program. Ms. Griffith’s students express a deep appreciation for her patience, attention to detail, follow-through and kindness. She demonstrates a commitment that cuts across all stages of academic development. Writes one student: “[She] is genuinely one of the main reasons why I chose Penn for my graduate education. Her dedication to prospective and current students is evident in the amount of time she spends communicating with her students.” Ms. Griffith models an accessibility and command of subject, and has left an indelible mark on her students.

Student Nurses at Penn Undergraduate Award for Teaching

caption: Marlene EtkowiczMarlene Etkowicz is a clinical instructor in the Nursing Lab for Integrated Human Anatomy, Physiology and Physical Assessment, and a clinical simulation instructor in the Simulation Lab for Integrated Pathophysiology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics and Nursing of Young, Middle Aged and Older Adults. Throughout all of the labs and simulations that she teaches, she shows that she is a vital part of Penn Nursing’s education mission. Many students who have had her as a lab instructor have praised Ms. Etkowicz for being incredibly knowledgeable, warm and understanding. As one student writes, “Marlene has shown students how much potential we can have and taught students to be confident when tackling simulation test outs.” She has inspired many of her students through sharing about her many years of nursing experience, and always encourages students to ask questions and challenge themselves in her clinical course.

Graduate Student Organization Graduate Nurse Educator Award

caption: Joseph LibonatiJoseph R. Libonati is an associate professor in the School of Nursing and director of Penn Nursing’s Laboratory of Innovative and Translational Nursing Research. Dr. Libonati has helped thousands of nursing graduate students excel in the clinical setting through his teaching of advanced physiology and pathophysiology over the past 10 years. His dedication to students and passion for teaching are palpable. Dr. Libonati’s teaching style make his courses some of the most challenging, valuable and rewarding academic experiences offered at Penn Nursing. As stated in one nomination, “Dr. Libonati creates an atmosphere in the classroom that is conducive to didactic, professional and clinical growth. He encourages collaboration and collegiality. His multimodal approach to our education is enlightening, strengthening and inspirational. We are undoubtedly stronger clinicians today and in the future because we have been taught by him.”

Barbara J. Lowery Doctoral Student Organization Faculty Award

caption: Sarah KaganSarah Hope Kagan is the Lucy Walker Honorary Term Professor of Gerontological Nursing. Dr. Kagan has offered thoughtful mentorship and support to countless doctoral students over her years as a professor at Penn Nursing. Dr. Kagan’s advisement is not limited to individual mentees. In addition to her formal advising and teaching responsibilities, she oversees the Advanced Qualitative Collective, a group of pre- and post-doctoral trainees, faculty and alumni who are interested in qualitative research traditions. She has served on a number of doctoral dissertation committees. This year, Dr. Kagan has reached out in particularly unique and useful ways to help all doctoral students across the program by offering workshops on writing, public speaking and finding a scholarly voice. These opportunities are invaluable and contribute to the renown of the Penn Nursing PhD program and the success and impact of its graduates. Dr. Kagan has shown an unwavering support of doctoral education and commitment to fostering student growth and development.