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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Nursing associate professor awarded for doing what she loves

Georgia+Phillips%2FThe+Collegian++TR+Campus+associate+professor+of+nursing+Nancy+Kupper+was+awarded+the+Chancellor%E2%80%99s+Exemplary+Teaching+Award.+Kupper+had+been+teaching+at+TCC+for+30+years+before+receiving+the+award+and+said+she+was+humbled+by+the+experience.+
Georgia Phillips/The Collegian TR Campus associate professor of nursing Nancy Kupper was awarded the Chancellor’s Exemplary Teaching Award. Kupper had been teaching at TCC for 30 years before receiving the award and said she was humbled by the experience.

By Erin Ratigan/tr news editor

Georgia Phillips/The Collegian  TR Campus associate professor of nursing Nancy Kupper was awarded the Chancellor’s Exemplary Teaching Award. Kupper had been teaching at TCC for 30 years before receiving the award and said she was humbled by the experience.
Georgia Phillips/The Collegian TR Campus associate professor of nursing Nancy Kupper was awarded the Chancellor’s Exemplary Teaching Award. Kupper had been teaching at TCC for 30 years before receiving the award and said she was humbled by the experience.

Part one in a five-part series on winners of the Chancellor’s Award for Exemplary Teaching, an annual recognition of faculty who impress and inspire their students.

Growing up, associate professor of nursing Nancy Kupper knew she wanted to work with people. During high school, she volunteered as a candy striper, and from a young age, she said she wanted to work in medicine.

“I just always enjoyed caring for people and interacting with people,” she said. “I think that was kind of what led me into nursing.”

Not surprisingly, her hobbies are also health-oriented. She volunteers with the Wounded Warrior Project, practices yoga and exercises.

“I probably walk three to five miles every day,” she said.

After 30 years of teaching nursing at TCC, Kupper was awarded the Chancellor’s Exemplary Teaching Award for TR Campus.

Kupper said what made receiving the reward exciting was that it went to someone in the medical field.

“The best part is that it was nursing,” she said. “[It was] kind of a neat thing, not only for me but for the department.”

Annette Jacobs, a TR nursing student, has been taking Kupper’s classes for two years.

Kupper is “more than deserving” of the award, Jacobs said. Her favorite thing about working with Kupper was the partnership they developed.

“I always felt comfortable asking her questions and presenting my ideas,” she said. “She never made me feel as if I had to wait for graduation to have good ideas.”

Kupper is no stranger to winning awards. In 2000, Kupper was named one of the Great 100 Nurses of Dallas and Fort Worth.

This year, she is one of 15 TCC district faculty and staff members to receive the 2014 Excellence Award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development. She has also been given the John and Suanne Roueche Excellence Award from the League for Innovation in the Community College.

Bryan Stewart, TR vice president of academic affairs, said Kupper is an effective teacher students are fond of.

“She is, first of all, just a wonderful person,” he said. “Students really think the world of her.”

Stewart interviewed Kupper when the nursing program moved to TR from South Campus. He liked the way she was concerned about how the move to TR would affect students.

“You could tell she had a really big heart for the students,” he said. “I just remember her asking some really good questions about nursing and how students would fit into our campus.”

Kupper’s big heart is something Jacobs has come to appreciate. She said Kupper was always there for her and never ignored her concerns.

“As a nursing student, there are so many stressful situations we encounter and it is almost a 24/7 rigorous schooling system,” she said. “There was never a weekend or late evening when I emailed her that she didn’t respond.”

Running a classroom is not only about teaching, Kupper said. To teach, she said one must be prepared to learn as well.

“Once you’re a teacher, it’s kind of that continued love of learning,” she said. “To promote and teach critical thinking, and to stay energetic, you’ve got to constantly be learning yourself.”

That experience of constantly learning is one that she described as “addicting.”

Stewart said Kupper is also a positive role model for nursing students because of her many years of experience.

“She’s been with us for a while and worked in different hospital settings,” he said. “There’s nothing better for a nursing student than to have someone like her who’s been where they want to be one day.”

Kupper said teaching has given her more opportunities to have her writing published and expand her audience in the nursing community. She co-authored a chapter on cardiovascular health in Medical-Surgical Nursing, the best-selling nursing textbook in the United States and Canada and the textbook used in the TCC nursing program. She said it is fun to teach from that chapter.

Dean of nursing Joseph Cameron said Kupper goes out of her way to help students.

“She’s constantly involved with making sure that they have all the necessary requisites filled,” he said. “She takes it beyond what I consider a normal work week.”

Both Cameron and Stewart agree her professionalism sets Kupper apart.

“To work with Nancy has been a pure joy,” Cameron said. “She’s a professional all the time. She continually reminds you that you are in good hands.”

This is important because of the sheer number of tasks Kupper undertakes, Cameron said. On top of teaching, she arranges clinical visits, advises students and works as a medical counsel for court cases.

“She’s really a leader,” Stewart said. “I think that’s my favorite thing about her.”

Despite the awards and recognition, Kupper said her greatest achievement has been maintaining her principles and stick-to-itiveness. She is a cancer survivor, and she said the experience made her strong.

“Slow and steady wins the race,” she said of her strength.

The best part of her job, she said, is working with students, who have taught her humility.

“Teaching is always a humbling experience because students are constantly teaching you,” she said. “To be both in the classroom instructing and at the bedside with students is really a privilege.”

For Jacobs, however, the privilege is hers.

“The impact she is making on our lives, as nursing students, will be exponentially realized throughout many years,” Jacobs said. “The lessons I have learned from her go far beyond anything in a textbook.”

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