By Jess Marvin
The Healing Presence Ceremony, an annual tradition in NSC’s School of Nursing, is an event many nursing students, faculty, and staff look forward to as a time to reflect and rededicate themselves to the art of caring. On October 26th, the School of Nursing gathered for the ceremony at the college’s Downtown Henderson campus to renew their commitment to nursing.
In her opening remarks, Dean Shirlee Snyder reminded the gathering of the ceremony’s purpose. We gather here to acknowledge the intensive study and personal reflection that is required in our nursing program, stated Dr. Snyder. This is a time for us to learn, reflect, and grow. Our annual Healing Presence Ceremony affords us the opportunity to celebrate what we have accomplished and move forward, being a healing presence in our own lives and the lives others, she continued.
The idea that one can serve as a healing presence was the focal point of the ceremony. Dr. Snyder emphasized that is it essential to be a healing presence in the lives of others, as well as in their own lives.
As one of the school’s central tenants, nursing faculty integrate the concept of caring throughout a student’s curriculum. Nurses are to demonstrate care to their patients through commitment, compassion and competence.
This year, the Healing Presence Ceremony focused on one specific aspect of caring – the energy of a healing presence. The nursing students and faculty brought this concept to life by forming a large circle divided into seven sections, with a centerpiece table adorned in lavender, which is a symbol of healing. Each section was then led by a student reader and faculty member, representing the seven steps for being a healing presence. As each student reader recited the steps for being a healing presence, students and faculty in each group walked around the centerpiece table, selecting a sprig, which symbolized their dedication to becoming a healing presence through their learning, reflection and growth.
Since its founding in 2003, the School of Nursing faculty has sought to establish traditions that would foster a culture of caring. Through the Healing Presence Ceremony, the philosophy of caring is shared each year, further cultivating a community of future nurses that will demonstrate the aspects of being a healing presence throughout southern Nevada.
By Jess Marvin
The recent Southwest Technology Showcase proved to be eventful in many ways for Instructor Roxanne Stansbury. Capturing top honors in the Best in Content category, Stansbury later went on to receive the Showcase’s Best in Show award for her project presentation, Overcoming Hurdles and Stress of Group Projects with Wimba.
Stansbury collaborated with fellow instructor Marilyn Berry in the NSC School of Education to introduce new forms of technology into the course, Teaching Literature EDRL 407. Stansbury’s Best in Content award highlighted her achievement as an educator who addresses a unique challenge in the classroom through the innovative use of technology. In the Best in Show category, Stansbury competed against a field of faculty and staff that had already won awards in the areas of assessment, design, and delivery. Said Stansbury, it was so validating for Marilyn and me to receive acknowledgement for our perseverance in improving the online delivery of how to teach literature.
Stansbury, who serves as the Assistant Dean in the School of Education, set out to develop a better way for her students to work collaboratively and communicate during group projects. Referring to the inspiration for her winning project, Stansbury explained, Group projects always seem to bring about negative feelings from students. I wanted to find a solution that would make group projects more positive and enjoyable for students as well as instructors, while holding the students more accountable for their contributions. Through the use of Wimba Voice and Wimba Classroom, two classroom media formats used to promote a more effective model for communication, Stansbury was able to solve the issues and change the negative perceptions often associated with group project assignments.
A strong believer in the power of well-developed pedagogy, Stansbury sees her recognition as a personal affirmation. Winning this award makes the time and effort that Marilyn and I put into honing this art of online pedagogy worthwhile, she said. And while Stansbury’s students benefited from the new online approach through her project, she believes their involvement in her project carries a deeper lesson. Said Stansbury, I think it is important to show our students that even as teachers, the learning and discovery process never ends. Marilyn Berry provided a similar perspective, offering that going outside our educational comfort zone is never easy but to understand the challenges that face our students today we must push ourselves to embrace new methods and expand our abilities. As teachers, we must demonstrate our own willingness to be positive and persistent in the face of new challenges which can be a more powerful lesson for our students than any content taught in the classroom.
Altogether, NSC put forward a strong showing at the Southwest Technology Showcase with six award-eligible presentations and four poster presentations coming from college faculty and staff. I’m so proud of the collective effort that led to NSC’s representation of a strong online pedagogy at the conference, said Stansbury. This strong showing, Stansbury believes, is attributed to NSC’s Technology Fellows Institute (TFI), an innovative program NSC President Lesley Di Mare instituted two years ago.
Stansbury cites her own positive experience of being a part of TFI as empowering her to implement new technologies in her classes. Sam McCool, NSC’s Manager of Instructional Technology and leader for the TFI program, spoke of his experiences working with Stansbury, who was a member of the institute’s inaugural class. I remember when Roxanne began with TFI, and she did not think she was capable of competing at a regional or national level. I’m so proud she’s been recognized for her achievements at this level, and I look forward to her taking this project to national conferences, said Mr. McCool.
Echoing Mr. McCool’s thoughts, Stansbury cites her experiences with the TFI as being a pivotal experience for her. Before TFI, I wouldn’t have thought I could be using tools such as Wimba in my classes so successfully. TFI really helps you become a leader amongst your peers and students.
It was Mr. McCool’s guidance in the TFI that Stansbury notes as being a driving force in NSC’s strong success at the Showcase, bolstering the institution’s outlook on providing cutting-edge approaches to technology usage in the classroom. Under Sam’s leadership, we have been able to provide a growing infrastructure for professional development as well as a strong support system in technology, said Stansbury.
Stansbury has indeed become a leader in new classroom technologies and has shared the skills she learned during the TFI to fellow instructors within the School of Education. Berry, who participated in Stansbury’s training, commends the college’s efforts to foster professional development opportunities cultivated through such programs. To be a quality online educator is a craft all its own, and the time and effort NSC has taken to help me develop that craft is truly commendable. Roxanne Stansbury and the School of Education staff have done a great job setting a standard of excellent online teaching and then giving us the tools and skills necessary to meet that standard, said Berry.
Stansbury’s recognition at the Southwest Technology Showcase is a testament to her dedication and innovative approach she fosters for her students as well as her peers. Referring to NSC’s cutting edge outlook to using technology to enhance the educational experience, Stansbury states, I see NSC making a path for other institutions to follow.
Nevada State College continues to grow during challenging economic times, with a fall 2010 preliminary enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, an increase of more than 18 percent from last fall and the largest percentage increase within in the Nevada System of Higher Education.
Nevada State College President Lesley Di Mare said that these latest enrollment numbers reinforce the critical role that the institution plays in the state’s higher education system.
Nevada State College is educating more students than ever before, Di Mare stated. Many of these students are the first in their family to go to college. Most are balancing work, family life and their studies. They realize the value of higher education and are choosing Nevada State College.
Founded just eight years ago, Nevada State College has continued to grow and succeed in offering varied schedules and online courses to meet the needs of its students. The college’s retention rate for first-time full-time freshmen also continues to increase, rising 13 percent in the past year from 54 percent to 67 percent.
In her State of the Campus address last month, Di Mare outlined her staunch support for the continued growth of the college, including the future build-out of the campus with a new Nursing and Sciences Building. She reiterated the importance of Nevada State College as an option for higher education in the state, now and in the future.
It is clear that Nevada State College serves a vital role in this state, Di Mare said. We offer thousands of students an opportunity to improve themselves and obtain a degree in professions like nursing, teaching or business. With a majority of our graduates remaining in Nevada to begin their careers, Nevada State College is succeeding in educating our state’s workforce.
Overall, Nevada State College’s headcount enrollment for fall 2010 rose by 18.2 percent, from 2,534 students enrolled in academic credit courses in fall 2009 to 2,994 such students this fall. Total student FTE (full-time equivalent) rose 15.1 percent to more than 1,866 students enrolled in courses that can be used to fulfill the requirements of a degree.
Sebring Frehner, NSSA President at NSC, is not surprised by the Nevada State’s rapid growth. Providing an exceptional educational experience has a way attracting large numbers of interested students. Said Frehner, “For years, NSC has been one of the best colleges in Nevada to offer a high-quality education. While NSC students have long known this, current enrollment increases are quantitative proof.”