On the evening of Tuesday, December 4, the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS) held its annual Board Faculty Awards ceremony at the beautiful Hotel Colonnade in Coral Gables, Florida.
The awards honor faculty members who have made great achievements and commitments to the mission, vision and core values of the university. The Board selects amongst faculty that have been recommended by the university community.
CEO Vivian Sanchez made opening remarks expressing the pride and gratitude the university has for its unmatched faculty and amazing alumni. She set the tone for a celebratory evening while highlighting its importance to the university’s core values.
Board members Donna Dorsey, Rich Krygiel and Dr. Neetu Trivedi presented awards and Board member Bonnie Copeland emceed the event.
“It’s easy to present at events like this when you have such great things to talk about,” Dr. Trivedi said.
The first award for Excellence in Teaching went to the nursing program’s assistant professor Dr. Amy Herrington. Dr. Herrington is an engaged online educator whose discussion boards include hundreds of posts enriched with video comments and evidence-based blogging. Her priority is always student success whether in a face-to-face setting or in an online classroom.
Dr. Herrington started at USAHS as part of the development of the nursing program. She thanked her colleagues for their constant drive for improvement and unique perspectives. She also thanked the university for the opportunity to create a one of a kind approach to teaching and curriculum development.
From the get-go she said she’s taken her expertise, background and experience and went into teaching at USAHS with a mental mantra of, “let’s do it different.”
The next Excellence in Teaching award went to Dr. Yvonne Body. Dr. Body is part of the contributing faculty for the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the San Marcos campus.
Dr. Body engages students through her own passion for physical therapy and demonstrating that excitement in training the next generation of PTs. She encourages students to think deeper by asking them questions that direct their thought processes and discovery of knowledge.
She recognized the wonderful community on the San Marcos campus and commended the university faculty at all campuses as everyone is able and willing to work as one.
“Things are getting bigger and better at this school every day, but we are still able to uphold a personal atmosphere,” she said.
Dr. Stefanie Podlog took the stage next as the recipient of the Excellence of Innovation award. She is part of the contributing faculty for the Masters of Health Sciences program. Dr. Podlog is an innovative online educator who constantly adapts and improves her teaching approach to enhance student learning. She demonstrates creativity when delivering challenging course content through the incorporation of new technological.
Dr. Podlog acknowledged the trust and support she has received from the university to be able to be innovative in her work.
“This is truly amazing that his is my job,” she said. “I’m excited when it’s Monday.”
Lastly, Dr. Tobi Baldwin was awarded the Distinguished Alumni award. She is a two-time graduate of USAHS, having earned her Master of Physical Therapy in 2000 and her Doctor of Physical Therapy in 2004.
Her colleagues describe her as a servant leader who is willing to meet the needs of students, patients, the university and the profession alike. The feedback Dr. Baldwin receives from patients and students speaks to the respect she has attained as an experienced clinician and respected teacher.
“I am humbled to be here and grateful to be a part of USAHS for so long,” she said. “The thing that keeps drawing me back (to USAHS) is the relationships. These people have brought me to where I am and helped me grow as a professional, a teacher and a mom.”
President and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Divina Grossman provided closing remarks and surprised a special guest in attendance. She recognized alumnus Dr. Kathleen Bowers with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers and commended her for professional accomplishments.
USAHS leadership and Board members continue to express the pride and gratitude they have for the amazing faculty and alumni.