Faculty, alumna recognized by NLN

Photo of Jennifer Coleman and Penni Watts

By Pareasa Rahimi

The National League for Nursing is recognizing University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing Associate Professor and Interim Associate Dean for Technology and Innovation Penni Watts, PhD, RN, CHSE-A, FSSH, FAAN (PhD 2015), and alumna Jennifer Coleman, PhD, RN, CNE, COI (BSN 1976), as Fellows of the NLN Academy of Nursing Education for their contributions to nursing education.

Fellows serve as important role models and resources for new educators and for those who aspire to become nurse educators. Watts and Coleman will support the NLN vision to promote standards of excellence in nursing education to increase the number of graduates from all nursing programs.

With more than 25 years in critical care nursing, Watts has been instrumental in the integration of clinical and interprofessional simulation experiences across multiple programs on campus. She is currently assistant editor of Clinical Simulation in Nursing, the official journal of the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning. Watts also is a Fellow in the Society for Simulation in Healthcare Academy and the American Academy of Nursing. She currently serves as an SSH accreditation program reviewer and as a member of the SSH Certification Council. She previously chaired the Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator-Advanced, a subcommittee that supports development as advanced simulationists. Watts also chaired the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning Standards Committee, developing standards of best practice for implementing simulation experiences.

“When I was in nursing school, I had a great program and mentor and knew I wanted to impact nursing education,” Watts said. “Over the years, the journey has led me to simulation, and I think it’s a powerful tool to really develop nurses that are prepared for all levels of nursing practice. I am honored with this recognition and will continue my work in serving the community of nursing education.”

Coleman is a professor at Samford University’s Moffett and Sanders School of Nursing. She is an onsite accreditation evaluator for the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and an abstract reviewer for Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and the National Black Nurses Association. She also is co-editor of NBNA News, the quarterly newsletter of NBNA and currently chairs the NBNA Mini Nurse Academy, a national initiative focused on increasing nursing workforce diversity. Additionally, Coleman chairs the Birmingham Black Nurses Association mentorship program that provides nursing students with individual and group instruction, counseling and role modeling, as well as opportunities for professional growth and socialization into the nursing profession.

“I am honored and very appreciative of this amazing recognition of my work as a mentor and nurse educator. I know that nursing’s future is shaped by those who would be our future nurses. I want each nursing student to know that someone has confidence in them and is in their corner, cheering them on,” Coleman said. “I’m thankful for all the current programs focused on encouraging diverse population groups to consider nursing as a career option. I believe that supporting and encouraging a diverse group of future nurses is key to advancing our collective commitment to serve the community and our profession.”

Coleman was named one of UAB School of Nursing’s 70 Visionary Leaders in 2021.

Watts and Coleman will be inducted with the 17th class of fellows at the 2023 NLN Education Summit in September 2023.

Upcoming Events