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2017 Faculty and Staff Awards

Posted on 8 Jan 2018 by Goldfarb Team

Ending 2017 with reflection and celebration, Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College announced the winners of the 2017 faculty and staff awards in December.

We would like to take this time and congratulate all of the recipients, and thank them for all of their hard work in and out of the classroom.

Dean’s Award for Exceptional Service

The Dean’s Award for Exceptional Service is presented to a faculty member for his or her participation in outstanding service to the College, the academic profession and the community. The faculty selected Kathleen Thimsen, DNP, MSN, WOCN, FNS, assistant professor at Goldfarb. (Dr. Thimsen is pictured (on the right) with Dr. Holly Diesel, academic program chair.)

Dr. Kathleen Thimsen

Dr. Thimsen’s research focuses on vulnerable populations and health care disparities. She is one of the founding members of the Human Trafficking Collaborative Network within the Washington University Institute of Public Health. She leads a work group to advance the evidence-based practice of victims of human trafficking. Dr. Thimsen serves on numerous boards in St. Louis and nationally. She has authored textbook chapters, numerous articles and lectured nationally and internationally. She also holds four US patents for medical devices and products. She is involved with Kindness in a Box, which is developing a community clinic on the Inca Trail in Peru. She has served as a faculty ombudsman for three years, serves on the faculty affairs committee, TEAM committee and leads the faculty development task force.

Ruth G. Franc Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching

The Ruth G. Franc Award for Excellence in Classroom teaching is presented to a faculty member who demonstrates innovative teaching and learning approaches; motivates supports and serves as a role model for students; and demonstrates evidence based integration of theory and practice in teaching. The faculty selected Sara Kimmel, MSN, RN, instructor at Goldfarb. (Sara is pictured (on the right) with Dr. Gretchen Drinkard, the Jack Taylor senior associate dean for academic affairs.)

Sara Kimmel

Sara makes learning fun for her students and incorporates novel ideas and concepts within the learning environment and readily shares this information with other faculty. She is always improving the way things are presented to students in order to enhance their cognitive and clinical skills. She uses evidence-based materials and approaches to transfer theoretical knowledge to nursing practice. She uses methods such as the “Why?-Train”, a potluck style snack bar and an artificial lung to help students better understand various concepts. Sara models professionalism and is respectful to every student. Student consistently comment that she is an exceptional instructor and that her methods of teaching have made a significant impact. Sara has a lasting impact on the people she works with and the students she teaches.

Cynthia Billman Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching

The Cynthia Billman award for excellence in clinical teaching is presented to a faculty member whose clinical teaching is innovative, supportive and respectful to students. The person motivates students to be knowledgeable and compassionate. The faculty selected Brian Torres, MSN, CRNA, assistant director of the certified registered nurse anesthetist program at Goldfarb. (Brian is pictured (on the right) with Dr. Gretchen Drinkard, the Jack Taylor senior associate dean for academic affairs.)

Brian Torres

Brian is an excellent role model for our students as they strive to become successful CRNAs. He has high standards and expects the students to work diligently. The support, compassion, respect and dedication he provides is instrumental in the success of our students and our nurse anesthesia program. Brian uses innovative teaching methods to help his students learn and retain information. He leads by example both in and out of the operating room and the classroom. He promotes and advocates for a well-rounded clinical experience which ensure the students’ preparedness for a career in anesthesia. Brian is an active member of the Missouri Association of Nurse Anesthetists and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.

Christner Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Nursing Science

The Christner Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Nursing Science is presented to a faculty member for his or her outstanding accomplishments and excellence in this area. The faculty selected Horng-Shiuann Wu, PhD, RN, associate professor at Goldfarb. (Dr. Wu is pictured (on the right) with Dr. Jean Davis, the Paul J. McKee, Jr. senior associate dean for research and doctoral studies.)

Dr. Horng-Shiuann Wu

Dr. Wu is involved in multiple research projects and excels at all of them. She has served as the PI on numerous studies over the past year, including pilot studies and a study funded by the ICTS. Dr. Wu has also received NIH R15 funding, making her the only NIH-funded researcher currently at Goldfarb. She is collaborating with researchers at WU to establish a cancer data bank, which is an essential step in collecting symptom information to benefit nurse scientists focused on caring for cancer patients. Dr. Wu includes undergraduate students in her research studies, affording them the opportunity to get first-hand experience working with research participants, entering data and developing an understanding of the research process. Dr. Wu has presented her work at local, national and international conferences. Her love of research is infectious!

Living Our Values Award for Staff Excellence

The Living Our Values Award for Staff Excellence is awarded to an outstanding staff member that consistently exceeds expectations and demonstrations the values of Goldfarb. The committee chose Wanda Cummings, administrative coordinator at Goldfarb. (Wanda is pictured (on the right) with Debbie Mettlach, director for administrative support.)

Wanda Cummings

Wanda is pleasant, kind, compassionate and helpful to everyone she encounters. She goes over and beyond to assist students and faculty. Wanda brings her best self to work and greets everyone with a big hello. Wanda builds genuine relationships with everyone and promotes positivity and respect. She is detailed oriented, accountable and is a great collaborator with her colleagues. She is resourceful, productive and efficient. She goes beyond her call of duty to assist others. Wanda is truly a role model for all employees at Goldfarb.

Staff Award for Community Service

The Staff Award for Community Service recognizes a staff member who volunteers their time or resources to the betterment of their community. The committee chose Margaret O’Connor, program officer, editor and writer at Goldfarb. (Margaret is pictured (on the right) with Dr. Jean Davis, the Paul J. McKee, Jr. senior associate dean for research and doctoral studies.)

Margaret O'Connor

Margaret volunteers her time and resources serving hospice patients and their families. She has spent countless hours visiting hospice patients reading to them, talking to them or cooking for them. She makes pillows and teddy bears from the hospice patients’ beloved shirts and blankets for the survivors, which adds so much comfort to the family. She also checks in with the family members after the patient has passed to see how they are doing. In addition, Margaret makes meals for chemo patients because she understands what they may be able to eat, as she has been through it herself. Margaret is also a certified yoga instructor and teaches yoga to rehab patients. Her energy and willingness to help others is a true gift and she serves as a role model who both encourages and inspires people through kindness and mutual respect.

Congratulations, again, to all of the winners!


* Faculty awards are chosen by the faculty affairs committee; Nominees submit a portfolio of accomplishments for the committee to review. Staff awards are chosen by a committee consisting of 1 faculty member, 2 internal non-faculty members, 2 external individuals and a HR representative as ex-officio. 

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