Columbia, Mo. — The MU Sinclair School of Nursing (MUSSON) has named Sherri Ulbrich, assistant teaching professor, as its first Dr. Rosemary T. Porter Faculty Scholar. The position honors Dean Emerita Rosemary T. Porter who gave 29 years to the school as a faculty member, associate dean and then dean. After retiring from the school in 2008, she continued her service to the university as interim dean in the College of Education for two years.
The $100,000 endowment, which became fully-funded this spring after a five-year campaign, is the result of nearly 200 donations. “I believe the greatest honor the faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends gave me was funding the Dr. Rosemary T. Porter Faculty Scholar Fund,” Porter said. “I treasure them and feel very humble.” As dean, Porter focused on keeping faculty salaries competitive. Named faculty positions allow the school and university to attract and retain top-notch faculty in today's competitive job market through salary and research stipends. An annual stipend is generated from the interest earned by the corpus of the endowed fund, which is used to support an annual faculty stipend.
The award provides an annual stipend to a faculty member who manifests excellence in teaching, actively participates in scholarly activities such as research and publication, uses evidence-based practice, has positive student evaluations and is a contributing and encouraging citizen in the school. “Sherri is an excellent role model for clinical decision-making, has a vast knowledge base related to the theory and practice of nursing and teaches students to use evidence and know about best practices in caring for patients,” said Judith Fitzgerald Miller, MUSSON dean. “She brings expertise to the school, demanding much from her students in order to prepare them to be excellent nurses. Many of her students say she is the best teacher they have ever had.”
Students thrive in Ulbrich’s clinical groups and have shown their appreciation through multiple student-given awards. Ulbrich received the Student Nurses Association Outstanding Clinical Faculty Teaching Award four times in the past five years and received the Betty Crim Faculty Enhancement Award in 2011. “Sherri is not only a mentor but a source of inspiration for the unlimited potential within all of her students,” said Brittanye Daniels, a student in the accelerated bachelor of science in nursing program, a 15-month program for students with a degree in another field. “Sherri sets her expectations high, not because she wants you to fail but because she wants you to see how great you can be. I appreciate her for that.”
Ulbrich, who will receive the Porter award for the next three years, said she is “absolutely honored” to be the first recipient of the award, especially so because Porter was dean when Ulbrich became a faculty member in 2006. “I really respected her as a dean and a leader of the school,” Ulbrich said, noting that Porter focused on being a servant leader and encouraged faculty to do the same. “It really impacted me,” Ulbrich said. “Dr. Porter helped the school grow and succeed in so many ways. Knowing her and being a part of that experience helps me appreciate this honor even more.”
Ulbrich teaches students in N3670 Nursing of Adults I, a core course for sixth semester traditional nursing students and accelerated students. Ulbrich said she loves guiding students through their first experiences providing complete nursing care of hospitalized patients. “You see so much potential at the beginning of the semester – they’re excited, nervous and want to use their skills,” she said. “They come to the clinical setting and it’s a real pleasure to watch their development and growth in term of skills and confidence levels. You really feel like you make a difference in this earlier stage in their nursing development, you have potential to impact their careers in a meaningful way.” Ulbrich, who has a passion for critical care nursing, keeps her own nursing skills sharp while working as a staff nurse at Fitzgibbon Hospital in Marshall. Ulbrich also serves as program liaison for the school’s New Careers in Nursing program, a scholarship program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that aims to increase diversity in nursing by supporting students in the accelerated programs across the country.
Find out more about the MU Sinclair School of Nursing at nursing.missouri.edu.