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Friday, Jul 25, 2014

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Nicole Pennington

Nicole Pennington

Photo courtesy of: Ohio University Southern Campus

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Southern Campus nursing professor named RHE Outstanding Professor


Ohio University Southern Associate Professor of Nursing Nicole Pennington was chosen as a Regional Higher Education Outstanding Professor for the 2011-12 academic year. She joins Ohio University Eastern Associate Professor of Mathematics Zijian Diao as this year's recipients.

Pennington has continuously demonstrated excellence in the areas of teaching, scholarship and service. In spring 2011, Pennington completed a doctorate of nursing practice degree from Chatham University in Pittsburgh. She began teaching at Ohio University Southern in 2006 as an assistant professor of nursing. Since 2007, Nicole has served as associate director of nursing at Ohio University Southern.

Ohio University Southern Dean Bill Willan said he is very proud of Pennington's accomplishments.

"Nicole's commitment to excellence comes through in everything she does. This well-deserved recognition by her colleagues on Ohio University's five regional campuses just confirms what Southern Campus faculty and staff already know – she is truly an outstanding professor and a role model for the rest of us."

In May, she was instrumental in presenting a proposal for the traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program to the Ohio Board of Nursing, resulting in the expansion of the nursing program at the Southern campus.

In addition to scholarly contributions, peer-reviewed publications, and presentations in her area of expertise at the state, regional, and national level, she has incorporated innovative teaching practices such as YouTube video clips that relate to course content, podcasting which enables students to listen to lecture content through their iPod devices, computerized testing, and i>clicker technology which presents immediate feedback allowing her to focus instruction on areas of student weaknesses.

"I always make it a priority to create a positive culture for students to learn and one in that they feel supported," said Pennington. "The use of technology allows me to have more interaction between my students."

In addition to teaching in the University's Associate Degree in Nursing program, Pennington also teaches in the registered nurse to BSN program and the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program in Athens. She recently completed a book chapter on leadership in a school nursing administration textbook, which is scheduled for publication this fall. 

In preparation for the School of Nursing to move the MSN program to an online format, she rewrote the MSN Teaching Strategies course, which she will be teaching in both the online and blended format.

To better prepare students for the clinical setting, Pennington added birthing and pediatric simulators to teach basic maternity and newborn clinical skills and essential pediatric skills. She also implemented computerized testing on Blackboard so that students could take their exams the same way the state board exams are administered. Students gained valuable experience and national board scores increased by 7 percent the first year of testing, and 10 percent the second year.

Since she has served as associate director, the University's nursing program has expanded from one nursing lab with minimal high-fidelity simulation to two fully functional nursing labs with high fidelity simulation. The national board pass rate for our graduates has increased from 72 to 97 percent.

"My focus right now is on the implementation of the new BSN program and getting faculty prepared for the transition," said Pennington.

The Outstanding Professor in Regional Higher Education Award, which was first awarded in 2003, was created to formally recognize faculty members at the University's five regional campuses who have demonstrated excellence in teaching, scholarship and service.

Pennington and Ziao were selected by the award's selection committee, which comprises one faculty member from each of the five regional campuses. Each campus can nominate one faculty member for the award each year and recipients are not eligible to receive the award again for three years.