Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2017

Faculty Award winner

Susan Quelly

 College of Nursing


There are many people who are experts in their specific profession or discipline. Some of these people impart knowledge and wisdom while facilitating others to critically think, learn, and achieve great intellectual, psychomotor, and/or emotional growth…we call these people “teachers.” It is no different in the nursing profession.

The role of a nurse educator is two-fold: to impart knowledge and to facilitate students to discover knowledge for themselves. Learning occurs when students grasp and understand information and apply it to gain new knowledge. It is the responsibility of the teacher to provide appropriate information, direction, and guidance to empower students to successfully seek and find answers.

As a nurse educator, my students are adult learners of different ages and with diverse life experiences. My teaching philosophy is partly based on Knowles’ theory of andragogy to provide these students with learning experiences that they deem as relevant and necessary to learn for nursing practice. By integrating case studies, role playing, simulation, and other interactive strategies in the classroom, lab, clinical, and online settings, I can facilitate students to be more self-directed in their learning.

Incorporating simulation into the lab and classroom is especially beneficial for learners who are self-directed and prefer to learn from their mistakes – and can do so without risking patient safety. Case studies also facilitate critical thinking and self-directed higher level learning.

Using a variety of teaching strategies is critical to meet the needs of learners. Different teaching strategies increase interest and stimulate students to engage in learning. Before developing an effective teaching plan, it is critical to assess and consider the students’ educational background along with their cultural, social, spiritual, gender, and generational influences. As nursing student cohorts become increasingly diverse, the most effective instructors will employ a variety of teaching strategies.

When developing a personal teaching philosophy, I gleaned valuable attributes and ideas from my most effective nursing instructors. My best instructors never allowed me to be intellectually lazy. They created varied and unique learning experiences that required me to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate. It should be remembered that the enthusiasm, attitude, and demeanor of an instructor can strongly influence and motivate students to learn and excel in a particular subject. If a teacher is approachable, sincere, caring and has a sense of humor, she will facilitate and motivate students to learn.

Teachers should be lifelong learners and continually strive to increase knowledge and growth. Undoubtedly, teachers learn from their students through the preparation, implementation, evaluation, and feedback process of teaching. It is always important to seek educational opportunities – both formal and informal – to gain new insights, ideas, and knowledge that will promote my professional and personal growth as a nurse educator.