Dr. Janet Levey with her Norma Lang Excellence in Nursing Research Award.Dr. Janet Levey with her Norma Lang Excellence in Nursing Research Award.

Concordia University Wisconsin’s Dr. Janet Levey demonstrates a true passion for her students in the classroom and online and it culminated with her being awarded the 2016 Norma Lang Excellence in Nursing Research Award earlier this semester. That prestigious award came on the heels of an Outstanding Dissertation Award by the Midwest Nursing Research Society earlier this year.

The Norma Lang Excellence in Nursing Research Award, like those awarded in categories including politics and community outreach, annually recognizes Wisconsin nurses who conduct original research of relevance to nursing practice and theory development, deliver invited research presentations at professional and scientific meetings, and communicate nursing research to the general public and the nursing community.

“I was surprised when I learned I was receiving this because I feel I just started my research trajectory,” noted Levey.  A 1982 graduate of De Paul University in Chicago, Levey earned her MSN degree from Concordia in 2008, and went on to receive her Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) from Marquette University in Milwaukee in 2015.

Dr. Janet Levey with Aussie, her Golden Retriever service dog.

Dr. Janet Levey with Aussie, her Golden Retriever service dog.Dr. Janet Levey with Aussie, her Golden Retriever service dog.
Dr. Janet Levey with Aussie, her Golden Retriever service dog.

“I enjoy the balance of teaching and research,” said Levey, who had her longtime, Golden Retriever service dog Aussie at her side because of her progressive hearing loss.  “I was pleased a year ago when Dean Sharon Chappy told us every faculty member has to publish at a peer-reviewed venue or present a paper every other year.”

For Levey, it is all about her students for whom she bases her teaching pedagogy in and research on universal design for instruction. “Today’s students are far more complex and some of them come to me with all kinds of learning issues and disabilities; some that they don’t even disclose,” Levey noted.  “As an educator I need to come together to that proverbial fork in the road and take their figurative pulse.”

Even though she currently teaches over 90 per cent of her classes online since a portion of the master’s program is strictly online, she values the feedback received during end-of-semester teaching evaluations and keeps detailed journals on all e-mail and text communication.  One student, whom she admitted she’s never met, has e-mailed and texted her dozens of times this semester for guidance.

Concordia University’s School of Nursing, one of six schools, prepares nurse leaders at every level of practice, from its BS in Nursing program to a Doctor of Nursing Practice.  A rigorous education develops and inspires highly-skilled professionals who serve by promoting health and healing with integrity, excellence, caring, mindful presence and compassion.  All programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, extending through 2024.

“My favorite course at Concordia and my passion is Cultural Diversity – at both the undergraduate and graduate level,” Levey commented.  “My job is to help students think critically and get out of their skin, so I’m constantly looking for ways to redefine teaching.  I see how God has picked me and I want them to know I care and want to connect at a deeper level,” Levey continued.  She believes it is critical for cultural diversity classes at the undergraduate level to be taught face-to-face, so that interactions can be assessed and addressed.

This Winterim, she’ll take that passion south of the border as she leads a group of 14 graduate and seven undergraduate nursing students to Costa Rica along with her colleague, Assistant Professor Brenda Ulmen.  Global experiences are a key component of the nursing curriculum, enhancing a nursing student’s cultural competency as they provide critical services to others in underprivileged countries.  The trips are a natural offshoot of a Christ-centered community committed to helping them develop in mind, body, and spirit for service to Christ in the Church and the world.

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at kali.thiel@cuw.edu or 262-243-2149.

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