College Associate Vice President of Development Honored with Professional of the Year Award

By Jess Kusak
During his 48 years working in the profession of fundraising, Nevada State College’s Associate Vice President of Development, Dr. Russell Raker, has enjoyed many awards and accolades for his work. Recently named Professional of the Year by the Las Vegas Chapter Association of Fundraising Professionals, Raker is especially proud to be recognized for his work at NSC.
This award is meaningful, as NSC is also being recognized as a player in philanthropy within the community, said Raker.
The Professional of the Year award Raker received celebrated the work he has done in the community that not only strengthened the awareness of NSC, but also the collaborative relationships he has developed with other non-profits within the state.
Raker joined the NSC community in the fall of 2007. For the majority of his career, he had worked in the private sector, and notes the college’s mission and values as being a draw for him. What interested me most about NSC was the students we were serving, and providing opportunities for culturally diverse and first-generation students, said Raker.
Having a professional career many can only aspire to, Raker shares that his experiences of working alongside NSC’s leadership team to achieve the institution’s goals has been particularly rewarding. The mission of the college along with the leadership team has been exciting to be a part of, said Raker. To be able to market the mission to potential donors and make them aware of what NSC is trying to do, have really been a dream come true, he continued.
Founded in 1960, the Association of Fundraising Professionals has approximately 40,000 members worldwide. As a professional association for individuals and organizations, AFP’s members work within the fields of fundraising, grant development, and institutional advancement. Raker has been a member of AFP since 1968, when he began his master’s and doctoral work at Columbia University in New York City. In fact, one of his professors was one of the founders of AFP, who urged students to join the then fledgling organization. Decades later, Raker had never imagined he would still be actively involved in the fundraising profession.
Over his career, Raker has literally seen the profession of fundraising grow and change. As one who has never shied away from new frontiers, he speaks to the exciting possibilities that he would like to see happen for NSC’s fundraising program. In the years to come, it is my dream our institution is able to create a comprehensive fundraising program to address the growing needs of NSC as the college develops in the future.

School of Nursing Celebrates Accomplishments

By Jess Kusak
The School of Nursing at Nevada State College had much to celebrate this year: a promise-filled accreditation visit from the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and the accomplishments of Interim Dean Dr. Shirlee Snyder.
Earlier this past semester, it was announced the School of Nursing would receive a routine re-visit from the CCNE accreditation team, comprised of three experienced nursing educators.
The School of Nursing received national accreditation from the CCNE in 2005, around the same time the school celebrated its first graduating class. From November 16-18, the CCNE team met on campus with nursing students, faculty, staff, and administrators from NSC. Various aspects of the nursing program were evaluated, in addition to the college’s resources that support the nursing students, such as library and computer equipment.
Leading up to the site visit, an internal self-study was performed by NSC nursing faculty. During this process, they evaluated and compared the School of Nursing’s program to nursing education standards and practices from across the country. Professor, Assistant Dean, and Chair of the program’s self-study Dr. Sherri Coffman is proud of the strides the School of Nursing has made in such a short time. We are proud that the nursing program has held national accreditation for the past 4 ½ years. It speaks to the quality of the curriculum, faculty, and teaching-learning practices, she said.
After the three-day visit, the accreditation team held an open forum with faculty, staff and administrators to discuss the outcomes of the visit. The team expressed their appreciation to the School of Nursing during the visit, citing the openness and willingness on the part of the students, faculty and staff, in sharing their stories and experiences regarding the program. Though official notification will not come until May, all in attendance were ecstatic when the team announced the School of Nursing’s program was in full compliance with CCNE standards.
Just before the 09-school year began, School of Nursing Interim Dean Dr. Shirlee Snyder celebrated an exciting career accomplishment. As the co-author of a nursing textbook, Dr. Snyder was asked to be a speaker for a student nursing and nursing faculty conferences in the Philippines. The textbook, Fundamentals of Nursing, is published internationally and is used in all of the nursing schools throughout the Philippines.
During this experience, Snyder led four day-long seminars to a total of 5,000 nursing students as well as two day-long seminars for 200 nursing faculty. Some of the topics she taught for the nursing students included the role of the professional nurse, 2009 National Patient Safety Goals, the NCLEX-RN licensure exam, and application of fundamentals of nursing content through case studies. Nursing faculty topics included clinical teaching and evaluation, writing NCLEX-RN type test questions, and interactive critical thinking teaching strategies.
The conference, which took place in Manila and Cebu City, welcomed over 100 nursing schools from across the country. Snyder was astonished by the sheer magnitude of participants, noting the country graduates over 100,000 nursing students each year. This conference is very important to the students participating, as it is the only opportunity they have to see someone from another country speak with them about nursing practices in other areas of the world, said Snyder.
As part of Snyder’s contributions to the seminar, she was to receive an honorarium. She had discovered through her time in the Philippines that the last semester for nursing students is the most expensive.
Many students cannot afford the expense, and some are forced to drop-out of nursing school as a result. Upon discussing this with the conference planners, they agreed to use funds from the honorarium to provide six scholarships for last semester nursing students three in Manila and three in Cebu City.
Looking back on her time at the conference, Snyder shared, this was a once in a lifetime experience for me! The impact her scholarship had on the students and faculty attending the nursing conference in the Philippines was a once in a lifetime experience for them as well.