Faculty recognized for excellence in teaching

Alabama League for Nursing presents faculty with Excellence in Teaching, Lamplighter awards

IMG 2659 RTUAB School of Nursing faculty Dr. Tedra Smith, Dr. Cathy Roche, Jeannie Alspach and Dr. Steadman McPeters at the Alabama League for Nursing's annual conference.The Alabama League for Nursing (ALN) has recognized three University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing faculty members as outstanding nurse educators.

At ALN’s annual conference on Feb. 28, Assistant Professor and outgoing ALN President Tedra Smith, DNP, CRNP, CPNP-PC, CNE, was one of seven educators to receive the ALN Lamplighter Award. Assistant Professor Cathy Roche, PhD, RN, and Instructor Jeannie Alspach, MSN, RN, received the ALN Excellence in Teaching Award.

IMG 2652 RTDr. Tedra Smith (right) received the Lamplighter Award from ALN.The organization’s Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes those who develop and implement innovative teaching strategies, with an emphasis on projects or strategies that utilize outcome measures and other therapeutic nursing interventions. Roche and Alspach were recognized for their innovative “Off to learn the nursing process” lesson for first semester Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students, during which they dressed as Wizard of Oz characters and explained the nursing process.

“It gave me overwhelming joy to present two of my colleagues with the Excellence in Teaching Award. Their teaching strategy was novel and produced high quality results. It’s not every day that your instructors come to class in costume and it’s not Halloween,” Smith said. “It simply speaks to their dedication. They went above and beyond to ensure that their students understood the nursing process. It was such a creative and engaging strategy that we all as nurse educators strive for when delivering content. That bold move in my opinion was deserving of this high honor and recognition.”

The Lamplighter Award acknowledges individuals who have made a substantial contribution to improve society through high professional and ethical standards in service to others; support of the development and improvement of teaching, research and service programs in nursing; and other factors.

“It was such a humbling moment to be recognized for my contributions to nursing,” Smith said. “I have been a nurse for over 17 years. When caring for patients the most important thing to me is providing quality care, and that’s the same way I see myself as an educator. The only difference is that my patient is now my student. I owe it to them to give my all. Not for any recognition but because I adhere to the UAB School of Nursing’s core values of caring, excellence, and integrity.”  

IMG 2658 RTDr. Cathy Roche (left) and Jeannie Alspach received the ALN Excellence in Teaching Award.Smith finished her term as ALN president on the night of the banquet. As president-elect from 2016-2017 and president from 2018-2019, Smith aimed to increase ALN membership and participation. Through an increased presence on social media and networking efforts, Smith accomplished this goal.

“This year, Wallace State Community College served as our host school, which increased the involvement of state community colleges. We had several faculty members from community colleges in attendance at the banquet and conference this year, and for the majority, this was their first time attending,” Smith said.

Along with ALN’s past president, Smith developed a new format for the conference, allowing nurse educators to submit abstracts and be awarded the opportunity to present at a state conference. This year’s conference included 18 podium presentations by nurse educators from around the state.

ALN’s members also approved a proposal by Smith to offer master’s level and doctoral level scholarships, with the first awarded this year. UAB School of Nursing PhD student Corey Lofton received the inaugural doctoral scholarship on March 1.

UAB School of Nursing faculty have consistently held leadership positions in ALN, and Assistant Professors Candace Knight, PhD, RN, and Steadman McPeters, DNP, CRNP, CPNP-AC, RNFA, currently serve as membership director and treasurer, respectively.

“ALN promotes nursing education standards and faculty development opportunities. Here at UAB, we have had several faculty members involved on the board and committees,” Smith said. “Faculty involvement allows them to promote their scholarship, network and collaborate with other educators and develop their leadership skills. It is a great opportunity to grow and learn as an educator.”

Last modified on July 14, 2021

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