Alice Jensen wins Anna Moudy Award


For Alice Jensen, associate professor of nursing at Maryville University, teaching is a total body experience. “For me, it is an endeavor of the heart and mind,” said Jensen, recipient of the University’s 2007 Anna Moudy Award for Excellence in Education. “I take my teaching seriously and reflect upon it continually.”

Jensen, who has taught at Maryville since 1988, received the Moudy Award on Wednesday as part of the annual Faculty Development Day events. The award, which includes a $500 cash prize, is presented annually to a faculty member who demonstrates an interrelationship between research/original work and classroom teaching which results in an exceptional learning environment. The University’s Faculty Development Committee chooses the award recipient. The award bears the name of the late Dr. Anna Moudy, a Maryville science professor who died in 1997.

Jensen said she has reaped many rewards from her time at Maryville. She regards winning the Moudy Award, however, as a distinctive accomplishment. “To be recognized by my colleagues is a highlight in my career. You cannot imagine how much it means!”

Jensen believes that learning occurs best when teacher and students are engaged equally in the process. “The teaching/learning relationship between student and teacher is one in which both are co-learners,” she stated. “Teachers can promote interactive learning by creating a climate which is respectful and comfortable and by creating learning activities which students find meaningful.”

And sometimes it helps if the learning climate is relaxed. In her letter of nomination for Jensen, a nursing faculty colleague wrote that Jensen once began a graduate nursing class by having the students stand and practice a few Tai Chi exercises with her. Jensen even brought along music to accompany the exercise. “The atmosphere in the classroom perceptibly changed to one of relaxation, openness and readiness to learn,” the colleague wrote. “She completely engaged the students, teaching both intellectually and experientially during that session. She also taught me, through her example, how I might use non-traditional techniques to enhance my own classroom.”

Jensen also embodies the University’s mission of integrating liberal and professional learning, according to another colleague. “Alice possesses an insight to integrative learning that is thoughtful, elegant and frankly, enviable. She has a long reputation for using art, literature and music to teach mental health nursing.”

That integration is at the heart of research that Jensen conducted as a member of Maryville’s Center for Teaching Excellence. Jensen has presented her findings at one conference and will do so at another conference on Saturday (March 3) at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Also, she and Mary Curtis, Ph.D., director of Maryville’s nursing program, will present a paper at the International Conference on Human Caring, to be held in St. Louis in May. Their paper has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship.

Other nominees for the 2007 Anna Moudy Award were, in alphabetical order, Nadine Ball, Ed.D., associate professor of education; Ashlyn Cunningham, assistant professor of occupational therapy; Jesse Kavadlo, Ph.D., assistant professor of English; and Germaine Murray, Ph.D., associate professor of English.

Maryville University, founded in 1872, is a private, coeducational institution offering approximately 50 undergraduate, seven master’s and two doctoral degree programs to 3,300 students. Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges in the Midwest, Maryville University prepares its students for successful and meaningful careers by offering programs that integrate liberal arts with professional studies.

Among Maryville’s most recent graduates, 94 percent are employed or attending graduate school. Approximately 15,000 alumni work and live in the St. Louis region.

In the photo: Alice Jensen receives her award from Kent Bausman, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology.