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December 15, 2010


18 nurse educators receive fellowships to reward them for staying in the teaching profession

SPRINGFIELD – The State of Illinois faces two nursing shortages. There is a shortage of well-trained nurses. There also is a shortage of highly qualified nursing faculty to ensure new nurses are well trained.

Nursing is a high-demand employment field throughout the State, and to meet the demand requires retention of well-qualified faculty. Faculty like Karen Barber at Black Hawk College, and Donna Jewel at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville are among 18 professors at Illinois colleges and universities who are recipients of $10,000 fellowship awarded by the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) at its December 7th meeting. The fellowships are a salary supplement aimed at rewarding well-qualified faculty to remain in the classroom rather than migrate to better paying jobs in the private sector. The fellowships also fund professional development activities.

These fellowships mark the fifth year of the Illinois Nurse Educator Fellowship program. In the last four years, 63 fellowships have been awarded, and a recent survey found that the program is a good investment. The Illinois Center for Nursing learned that 97 percent (61 of the 63) are still employed in Illinois as a nurse educator or as an educator/administrator. Because the demand for practicing nurses is so high, the frequency of outside offers for nurse educators to leave teaching and go into clinical practices has increased. The fellowship has helped teaching institutions to recognize their well-qualified nursing professors as well as retain them to continue to train much needed nurses.

“The Illinois Nurse Educator Fellowship program has helped Illinois institutions of higher education retain well-qualified nurse educators.” stated Carrie J. Hightman, IBHE Chairwoman. “The Illinois Public Agenda for College and Career Success, the state’s blueprint for education and economic policy matters, identifies the importance of increasing the number of high-quality postsecondary credentials, like nursing degrees, to meet the demands of Illinois’ economy. I congratulate this year’s Fellows for the excellent work they do preparing nurses for needed Illinois jobs in the health care field.”

The Fellows are nominated by Illinois institutions of higher learning with a nursing program approved by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC).

The 2011 Fellows (in alphabetical order) are:



Karen Baber, MS, RN
  Chair, Department of Nursing

Black Hawk College

Debra J. Jenkins, MSN, RN*

Millikin University

Donna Jewell, PhD, RN
  Assistant Professor

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Mary Teresa (Terry) Johnson, MSN, RN, FNP-BC
  Associate Professor

Elmhurst College

Patty Kershaw, DNP(c), RN
  Assistant Professor

Olivet Nazarene University

Teresa Kisch, MSN, RN
  Assistant Professor

Aurora University

Dawn Kuerschner, PhD(c), APN-BC, RNC, CNE
  Associate Professor

Oakton Community College

Patricia Pence, PhD, RN

Illinois Valley Community College

Ann Popkess, PhD, RN
  Assistant Professor

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Jeanette Rossetti, EdD, RN
  Associate Professor

Northern Illinois University

Tanisha Rufus, MSN, RN *

CCC - Richard J. Daley College

Tonya Rutherford-Hemming, MSN, RN *
  Assistant Professor

Loyola University of Chicago

Monica Ryan, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC
  Associate Professor

St. Xavier University

Carrol A. M. Smith, PhD, RN
  Assistant Professor

U of I at Chicago

Susan L. Swanlund, PhD, RN
  Assistant Professor

Illinois Wesleyan University

Denise Wilson, PhD, APN, CNP
  Associate Professor

Illinois State University

Tracy Wollin, MSN, RN

Lakeview College of Nursing

Polly Zimmermann, MSN, MBA, RN, CEN
  Associate Professor

CCC - Harry S Truman College

* Doctoral student



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