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School of Nursing Saves Thousands of Dollars Annually Through Sustainability Efforts

health science 2013-245Belmont Director of College Health Science Simulation and Assistant Nursing Professor Dr. Beth Hallmark is committed to the University’s sustainability ideals as she leads the School of Nursing’s (SON) efforts to reuse and recycle simulation equipment.

In a simulation lab, students are given the opportunity to practice nursing skills in a safe environment, complete with set-ups that mimic hospitals in the Nashville area and use the same equipment students will see in their clinical rotations. Although this opportunity is an invaluable educational experience, it can be very costly.

With the popularity of nursing on the rise and Belmont’s School becoming more and more successful, Hallmark said her interest in the School’s sustainability efforts began when she started to notice the increase of nursing students and the sheer volume of supplies needed.

Simply recycling the equipment used by students wouldn’t have been adequate, since a large part of the lab is learning sterile techniques when opening equipment. To reproduce this experience for each student but cut down on cost, Hallmark decided to start the SON’s reuse program. Since simulations utilize state of the art mannequins and no contamination of supplies occurs, the reuse of simulation equipment is sanitary and safe.health science 2013-113

Now, a number of student workers are trained to clean equipment once it has been used in a simulation. Using a detailed guide, workers re-package tools so they look the same for the next student who will open them.

Hallmark takes the SON’s program one step further by personally traveling to area hospitals and healthcare organizations to collect unused and expired supplies that would have been thrown away. Since the simulations work only on mannequins, expired equipment can provide training for nursing students. The equipment that the SON cannot use or does not need is donated to a local nonprofit, ProjectCure.

“The SON has been blessed with unbelievable facilities and thanks to Mr. Inman and grants from local organizations like the Memorial Foundation, we continue to have the best facilities; however, it is important that we are good stewards of what we have been given,” Hallmark said. “We truly believe that we are called to honor the verse in Luke that reminds us, ‘to whom much is given, much is required.’”

With the combination of the SON’s reuse program and the unused supplies collected from area organizations, Hallmark estimates than an average $40,000 is saved yearly. With this savings, Hallmark says the program is able to save budgeting for specialty items that might not have otherwise been purchased.

Mary Clark Leads Bridges to Belmont

Mary ClarkStudents begin college with Summer Academy, community service projects and leadership development

Belmont University has appointed Mary Clark as director of Bridges to Belmont. In her new position, Clark oversees the program designed to enroll students from Metro Nashville Public Schools who previously may have not considered Belmont as an option.

“We are delighted to welcome Mary Clark to the Belmont community and look forward to her leadership as the program continues to evolve, building on our strengths in delivering a high quality and robust education to all students enrolled at Belmont. Her personality, past experience in similar programs and commitment to student success will propel us to the next levels of excellence as we move forward,” said Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Beverly Schneller.

Bridges to Belmont reflects a deliberate stride on the part of Belmont’s administration to enhance the cultural and ethnic diversity within the campus community while also continuing efforts to provide higher education to students in Davidson County. Bridges to Belmont students, many of whom are first-generation college students, each are given a four-year scholarship to cover tuition, room, board, required fees and books from state and federal grants as well as Belmont scholarship funds.  Throughout their higher education experience, they also are given academic support and mentors. There are 52 students in the program from Maplewood, Stratford, Whites Creek and Pearl Cohn high schools. (more…)

Students, Faculty Honored at Annual ‘Scholarship and Awards Day’ Celebration

Navy, Army, National Guard veteran wins Heart of Belmont Award

scholarship awards 2014-105In a ceremony marked by numerous standing ovations, students and faculty were honored Wednesday during the annual Scholarship and Awards Day convocation in the the Massey Performing Arts Center. All of the awards given reflected Belmont’s mission and commitment to scholarship, service and leadership, with two new faculty awards, the Christian Scholarship Award and Leadership in Christian Service Award, being introduced for the first time this year. Dr. Ronnie Littlejohn, the 2013-14 Chaney Distinguished Professor, provided the morning’s Honors Address on “Knowing Whether,” encouraging attendees to pursue moral wisdom.

In one of the most moving presentations, graduating senior Matthew Thompson was awarded the John Williams Heart of Belmont Award, which is given to a student committed to Belmont’s values including innovation, persistence, advocacy for change, community development and service. Before coming to Belmont, Thompson served in the Navy on the USS George Washington for five years.  In 2005, he enlisted in the Army where he served an additional four years and afterwards completed one year of service in the Tennessee National Guard. After 10 years of service and three deployments, he was honorably discharged and began pursuing a degree in social work at Belmont.

An intern at Operation Stand Down, Thompson has been integral in the development of veterans services on campus and developed an intercollegiate student veteran coalition that spans six universities across Middle Tennessee. Thompson’s mission is to continue on to a career path that assists veterans who are transitioning from military service into civilian life. In his own words, his “biggest motivation has never been to be recognized but to instead encourage and inspire others to step forward and contribute.”

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Teaching Center Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Kim Daus reflects on her experience as Teaching Center director.

Kim Daus reflects on her experience as Teaching Center director.

Faculty gathered for lunch Wednesday to recognize the 20th anniversary of the Teaching Center and its impact on Belmont faculty.

“These are my heroes who helped make Belmont into what it is today. I will always be grateful for the leadership you have showed,” said Provost Thomas Burns. “You have helped us serve our students better. What the Teaching Center is about is making sure that we are excellent teachers and learning how we can continue to grow and develop. It is also a reality center and work-life center to develop the entire educator.”

During the luncheon, faculty were taken on a broad sweep over the center’s 20-year evolution through the words of its former directors.

Seeds for the center were planted in the early ‘90s when an academic committee of faculty, students and administrators discussed campus needs, said Teaching Center Founding Director Mike Awalt, who also taught philosophy. He and a group of faculty examined teaching centers across the country and applied for grants, eventually receiving $100,000 for the establishment of  Belmont’s Teaching Center.

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Newly Released AAUP Data Survey Reflects Belmont’s Strong Commitment to Faculty Salaries

facultyThis week the Chronicle of Higher Education released the results of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) 2013-14 Faculty Salary Survey, and Belmont again performed exceptionally well in comparison with its peer institutions in terms of category (Master’s level) and region of the country.

Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher, said, “Belmont has long been committed to attracting and retaining the highest quality faculty to serve our students, and that translates in part to offering competitive compensation. I’m pleased to see how far we’ve come and how our faculty salaries now rank in the 80th percentile or better among all of our peer institutions nationally.”

Provost Dr. Thomas Burns added, “As the AAUP salary survey data shows, Belmont’s faculty salaries have grown to among the best in Tennessee and in the southeast region.”

Of the 22 Tennessee institutions in the survey, Belmont ranked fourth in the average full professor salary ranking, behind three doctoral level institutions: Vanderbilt, University of Tennessee Knoxville and University of Memphis. In addition, Belmont offered the second highest average raise for continuing full professors. Associate professors at Belmont ranked third in the state for average salary, as did assistant professors. Belmont instructors are the highest paid in terms of average state salaries. In the East South Central region—which includes Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and Mississippi institutions—Belmont also came out well above the average salary in each category.

Looking nationally at peer Master’s level institutions, Belmont remains incredibly competitive in salary ranges for faculty. In fact, Belmont full professors rank in the 80th percentile in salary in comparison with peer institutions across the country. Associate professors, assistant professors and instructors are doing even better, ranked in the 86th, 93rd and 89th percentiles respectively.

These results reflect Belmont’s ongoing commitment, as reflected in Vision 2015, to provide for its employees: “Belmont people are fully engaged in challenging and demanding work and will share in the financial success of the university as salaries meet and exceed peers. Compensation will increasingly be tied to performance excellence.”

Each spring, the AAUP publishes its report on faculty compensation and the economics of higher education. AAUP members receive a print copy of the report (with complete data listings) as part of their membership. Data from the survey are also available for purchase in several formats, including institutional peer comparison reports, complete datasets and pre-publication report tables. Salary data are collected annually by the American Association of University Professors. Participation in the AAUP survey is optional; 1,157 institutions submitted data for the 2013-14 academic year.

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