Dawn Venema, Ph.D. - Outstanding Teacher

April 13, 2017

Image with caption: Dawn Venema, Ph.D.

Dawn Venema, Ph.D.

Dawn Venema, Ph.D., assistant professor, physical therapy education, will receive the Outstanding Teacher Award at the April 20 annual faculty meeting.

Faculty awards

The Faculty Senate recognizes faculty for meritorious teaching, service or mentoring at its annual meeting, which this year will be at 4 p.m. on April 20 in the Durham Research Center Auditorium.

Awardees are:

Outstanding Teacher Award

  • Justin Mott, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor & medical assistant director, biochemistry and molecular biology, College of Medicine;
  • Diego Torres-Russotto, M.D., associate professor, neurological sciences, College of Medicine;
  • Catherine Binstock, instructor, College of Nursing-Omaha Division; and
  • Dawn Venema, Ph.D., assistant professor, physical therapy education, College of Allied Health Professions.

Outstanding Faculty Mentor of Graduate Students Award

  • Corri Hanson, Ph.D., associate professor, medical nutrition education, College of Allied Health Professions

Outstanding Faculty Mentor of Junior Faculty Award

  • Iraklis Pipinos, M.D., professor, surgery-general surgery, College of Medicine
  • Bernice Yates, Ph.D., professor, College of Nursing-Omaha Division

  • Name: Dawn Venema, Ph.D.
  • Title: Assistant professor
  • Joined UNMC: 2008
  • Hometown: Clarkson, Neb. I grew up on a farm just south of town, and my parents still live there.

What are the greatest rewards of teaching?
In clinical practice, I feel I have the ability to positively influence the lives of patients, one patient at a time. In academia, I recognize I have the potential to touch the lives of patients exponentially through my influence on students. I find it rewarding to have this indirect effect on patient care in my role to shape our students into excellent physical therapists.

Describe a moment in your career when you realized you had picked the right occupation.
Every day I feel blessed to work with a great group of faculty who support each other and share a common goal of doing the absolute best that we can to mentor the next generation of physical therapists. I also enjoy the interactions that I have with students inside and outside of the classroom.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a teacher?
Keeping up with changes in the delivery of education is a challenge. There are so many different methods that a faculty member can use to teach. It is sometimes daunting to sort through what instructional methods will truly help students learn more effectively and are worth the time to implement, versus which methods are simply a trend.

How do you know when you've been successful as a teacher?
One of the courses I teach in our program to first-year students is Critical Inquiry -- a course in which students begin learning to interpret and apply research to patient care. I fully recognize that Critical Inquiry is not every student's favorite course, particularly when first-year students are hungry to learn clinical content. Therefore, when I get comments on my course evaluations that state something along the lines of "Dr. Venema made this course way more interesting and enjoyable than I expected it to be," I consider that a success. It's a bit of a running joke in our division that I get these kinds of comments on my course evaluations.

I also know that I've been successful when graduates of the program say they felt well prepared in the specific content areas that I teach upon their entry into the clinical education phase of our program, as well as when they take the National Physical Therapy Exam. This gives me gratification, albeit delayed.


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Nisar ali
May 27, 2017 at 12:30 AM

you r very great woman and great teacher.

Drake Venema
April 13, 2017 at 9:02 PM

Congratulations Mom!!!!

michael Huckabee
April 13, 2017 at 9:16 AM

Grateful for your excellence in the classroom serving students, so well-deserved, Dawn.

Jane Potter
April 13, 2017 at 8:54 AM

Applause to Dawn for this well deserved recognition. We is geriatrics are some of her biggest fans!

Fran Higgins
April 13, 2017 at 6:02 AM

I know you work hard to deliver the best courses possible. Congratulations, Dawn!