Seven Northwestern State University faculty have been recognized with the 2021 Excellence in Teaching Award.
Here is a profile of one of this year’s honorees.
Name: Melissa Rennie, DNP, RN, CNE
Academic college/department: College of Nursing
Number of years at Northwestern State: 14
Why is teaching important to you? Because I am passionate about the need for nurses who are equipped to provide care for all people….and do this while caring for themselves in a very mentally, physically, and emotionally demanding profession.
Why do you believe you are an effective teacher? I strive to be approachable for all students so that they can feel comfortable asking questions or seeking help. I think the key to effectively teaching nursing content is to make it “real” to the student, and I try to do this using case scenarios, videos, and actual situations I’ve encountered throughout my career.
As a teacher, what brings you a feeling of accomplishment when working with students? I feel the most rewarded when I see my former students practicing with appreciation and respect for this profession. I love how social media allows me to watch them grow and develop professionally and academically. Many of my former students have gone to graduate school, and several are actually teaching with me.
How has the past year affected your teaching methods? Through the COVID 19 experience, I have gained greater patience, flexibility, and perseverance. I now focus on being more aware of the students as they listen and try to capture difficult concepts in a virtual format. My lecture style has become more about the importance of keeping students present and engaged in the discussion, rather than simply delivering content.
Have you learned anything during the last year that will make you a better teacher? I believe the experience of WebEx teaching has changed the way I interact with students. I have always been a strong student supporter, but now I find it second-nature to stop more often and assess their understanding. In addition, using more technology in teaching has made me aware of the resources available to enhance critical thinking and better clinical decision making.
To learn more about Dr. Rennie, go to https://vimeo.com/584677540