COLUMBUS, Miss. -- Dr. Sheila Adams, a highly regarded faculty member at Mississippi University for Women, was the recipient of both the Kossen Faculty Excellence Award and the 2018 Faculty Member of the Year Award. Adams is retiring after 46 years of service and dedication to The W.

 The announcement was made at the university’s commencement exercises Saturday.

The Kossen Faculty Excellence award, which includes a $5,000 stipend, recognizes the role of faculty as the heart of the university. It was established in 2004 by Connie Kossen, a 1964 alumna of MUW, and her husband Tom.

Based on three fundamentals, the award focuses on excellence in teaching, excellence in scholarly or artistic achievement and excellence in service, preferably both on campus and in communities throughout MUW’s service area.

Further, to be considered for this award, a faculty member must exhibit a commitment to student success in each of these three areas of responsibility.

Over her 46-year career, Dr. Adams has served in a variety of healthcare roles, including a pediatric and community health nurse, before entering higher education and making lasting contributions to the preparation of future nurses.

She came to The W in the earliest days of the nursing program and has been an integral part of growing it into one of the largest and most highly regarded programs in the region.

Dr. Adams has an impressive list of awards and honors recognizing her leadership and professional stature. In 2017, she was inducted into the 2017 Nightingale Hall of Fame. Adams was the 2007 Mississippi Nursing School Administrator of the Year, an award presented by the Mississippi Nurses Association. She also has been named Mississippi Nursing Dean of the Year and is listed in American Men and Women of Science and Who’s Who in American Nursing. At The W, she has received the university’s Medal of Excellence—the highest recognition the institution gives.

“While Dr. Adams has received many accolades and awards over her tenure at MUW, we believe the most important indicator of her success is the number of lives she has touched,” stated a nomination later from nursing faculty.

“Nursing is a profession where we literally touch patient and family lives every day. While a nurse can positively impact the patients he or she cares for each day, the number of patients a nurse can touch grows exponentially when they become a nurse educator.”

One of the students impacted by Dr. Adams was Meg Lambert, president of the Student Nurses Association. In her letter, Lambert stated, she had been under the direction of Dr. Adams for the past two years.

“As dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Dr. Adams has gone above and beyond to provide an excellent education for myself and fellow classmates. She has committed herself to see that our program leads to success by not only being an outstanding teacher and mentor, but by also dedicating her time and support to us, the students.”

The Faculty Member of the Year Award, which includes an award in the amount of $1,000, is an honor bestowed upon the faculty member who, above all, values quality teaching. The individual selected is a symbol of The W’s highly regarded faculty.

MUW’s Star and Scepter Chapter of Mortar Board and the MUW Alumni Association, which provides the generous award, jointly recognize the Faculty Member of the Year. A faculty portrait will be placed with other awardees' photographs on the walls of Whitfield Hall.

Active in professional and civic organizations, Dr. Adams also invests her time in giving back. Among her extensive service activities, she has been a member of the Mississippi Regional Action Coalition Committee, Robert Wood John Foundation/Institute of Medicine, Initiative on the Future of Nursing; the Mississippi Task Force on Nursing Retention and Graduation, created by the Governor’s Office; the Mississippi Council of Deans and Directors of Schools of Nursing, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (serving as chair in 1997-99, 2006-07, 2010-11 and 2017-18); and the Mississippi Office of Nursing Workforce Advisory Board. She serves as a peer reviewer for the Journal of Professional Nursing and is a member of the Southern Regional Education Board: Council on Collegiate Education for Nursing, currently serving as chair of the Finance Committee. She also serves as a national nursing accreditation visitor for the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and as a state accreditation visitor for Mississippi Nursing Programs.

She is an active supporter of a wide variety of health-related organizations, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, American Red Cross, Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, United Way and the Mississippi Nurses Foundation. Locally, she has participated in a community response to obesity, suicide prevention efforts and breast cancer awareness.

A part of the College of Nursing since 1973, Dr. Adams also has been called on to assume additional roles during her tenure at The W. Twice she has served as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, 1999-2000 and 2003-2004. It is during her tenure in the College of Nursing-Speech Language Pathology that she has quietly set the bar for excellence that contributes to continued quality healthcare for the region.

Under Dr. Adams’ tenure, the college has expanded its hybrid online-classroom RN to BSN program, which allows working nurses to earn an additional degree, and, in 2013, added the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. The W now offers nursing options from a two-year associate’s to the doctorate. Graduates regularly score among the highest in the state on national licensure exams.

May 10, 2018


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