Three Millikin School of Nursing Faculty Receive 2024 IBHE Nurse Educator Fellowships

The honor rewards well-qualified nursing faculty preparing students for a career as a registered nurse.

Leighty-Tabor Science Center

DECATUR, Ill. – Three faculty members from Millikin University’s School of Nursing were recently awarded 2024 Nurse Educator Fellowships from the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE)

The IBHE fellowships, which ensure the retention of well-qualified nursing faculty at institutions of higher learning that award degrees in nursing, were given to Assistant Professor Dr. Audra Trump, Instructor Angie Lafrenz, and Instructor Kelly Slade. 

“The IBHE Nurse Educator Fellowship is a competitive program designed to reward nursing faculty preparing students for a career as a registered nurse,” Millikin Interim Director of the School of Nursing Dr. Teresa Gulley said. “Dr. Audra Trump, Angie Lafrenz, and Kelly Slade are excellent nurse educators and make a significant positive impact in developing our future nurses.”

Millikin Nursing students train in the Nursing Simulation Lab.

Faculty members are nominated based on their significant contribution to their nursing program.  The fellowship provides awardees with $10,000 as a salary supplement for expenses related to professional development, conference expenses, continued education, and travel to the recognition ceremony. 

Dr. Trump plans on using part of the fellowship to participate in a contemporary teaching course and a faculty development program. 

“Coming to Millikin as a faculty member was one of my best career decisions. I enjoy working with the nursing students at all levels,” she said. “Having small class sizes makes it possible to learn about each student as an individual. I love being able to help the students grow into amazing nurses, nurse educators, nurse practitioners, and nurse anesthetists.”

The School of Nursing plans to open the new Campbell Family Nursing Simulation Lab located in the Health Sciences Building during the Spring 2024 semester, and Lafrenz will use some of the fellowship award to attend simulation training. 

Millikin Nursing Students
Millikin Nursing students train in the Simulation Lab.

“Nurse educators help mold and shape the future of nursing through the students who enter their classrooms. It's truly a joy to teach in the Millikin School of Nursing,” she said. “One of the best parts of the experience is watching students' faces as the pieces come together, and all the information suddenly makes sense. That lightbulb comes on, and it's magic. I feel fortunate to be a part of that.”

Slade plans to use the funds to attend a continuing education course and to cover any costs incurred from her upcoming Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) project.

“I am grateful and honored to receive the IBHE Fellowship award this year. Although I love my role as a nurse practitioner, I am so happy that I took the jump and pursued a new career path in education. Since being at Millikin, my nursing ‘spirit’ has been revitalized,” she said. “I have seen students grow in both their classes and clinical sites. I love to see this and am so grateful for the opportunity to help guide our students. 

“Millikin University's School of Nursing faculty is a fabulous group of people to work closely with. I am so fortunate, as I get to do what I love every day.”

About the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) 

The Illinois Board of Higher Education is responsible for analyzing the needs and requirements of Illinois' higher education system and modifying policies that guide the state's system of public and private colleges and universities. The IBHE recommends budgetary needs for operations, grants, and capital improvements for higher education institutions and agencies to the Governor and the General Assembly. It also approves or denies proposals by public university governing boards and the Illinois Community College Board for new instruction, research, or public service units.