(May 4, 2011) – This year, students of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Nursing made two choices for the John P. McGovern Outstanding Teacher Award – one for teaching undergraduates, the other for graduate-level teaching. “This is a first for the School of Nursing,” said Director of Student Affairs Laurie Rutherford. “And both faculty members are highly deserving of the honor.”
Students selected Amy O. Calvin, Ph.D., R.N., clinical associate professor of nursing, Department of Acute and Continuing Care, as the undergraduate teacher of the year. (She is pictured below.)
The graduate teacher of the year is Eileen R. Giardino, Ph.D., R.N., clinical associate professor of nursing in the Department of Family Health.
Joanna Rice, president of the Student Government Organization, announced the two recipients during last night’s Awards and Pinning Ceremony at the Bayou City Event Center.
Calvin’s students described her with words including “incredible,” “outstanding,” “fair,” “accessible,” as well as “enthusiastic and caring.” She was particularly lauded for her responsiveness and availability to her students.
“Dr. Calvin always provokes independent thought-driven problem solving,” one student wrote. “She is open to hearing our opinions and thoughts, but what sets her apart is taking those same opinions and thoughts into consideration moving forward.”
Calvin, who started at UTHealth in July 2001, received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and her master’s and Ph.D. in Nursing from The University of Texas at Austin. She was the first palliative care nurse researcher at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital and focuses her research interests on advance care planning and end-of-life issues.
Giardino, the faculty member chosen by graduate students, joined UTHealth in 2006 after teaching and practicing at La Salle University School of Nursing for 16 years. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education in1989 and her M.S.N. degree at Widener University in 1983. Her B.S.N. is from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Giardino was cited by her students as “credit to this institution” who is “everything any genuine student can ask of a teacher.”
One nominator wrote: “She is excited about our clinical experiences and opportunities for learning new skills and acquiring new knowledge. By still working in the clinics herself, I think she is able to relate more to the experiences and questions students encounter.”
Another student described Giardino simply as “an excellent educator and mentor.”
Students at each of the six UTHealth schools choose a John P. McGovern Outstanding Teacher on the criteria of stimulating curiosity, promoting professional development and contributing to students’ abilities to think creatively. Established in 1984, the awards traditionally are announced at commencement ceremonies and are made possible by an endowment from the John P. McGovern Foundation.
The other School of Nursing candidates for the 2012 McGovern Outstanding Teacher Award were: Myron H. Arnaud, M.S.N., CRNA; Penelope Benedik, Ph.D., CRNA; Francess Danquah, Ph.D., R.N.; Stacy Drake, M.S.N., M.P.H., R.N.; Melissa D. Ethington, Ph.D., R.N.; Robert Hanks, Ph.D., R.N.; Joanne V. Hickey, Ph.D., R.N.; Stephanie Meyers, Ph.D., M.Ed., R.N.; Patricia A. Obulaney, M.S.N., R.N.; Renae R. Schumann, Ph.D., R.N.; and Mary Joe White, Ph.D., R.N.
Calvin was nominated in 2011 and both of this year’s winners were candidates for the McGovern Outstanding Teacher Award in 2010.