Sara Bills - Outstanding Teacher Award

April 16, 2019

Image with caption: Sara Bills

Sara Bills

Sara Bills, assistant professor, physical therapy education, UNMC College of Allied Health Professions, will receive the Outstanding Teacher Award at the annual Faculty Senate Awards ceremony, at 3 p.m., April 23 in the Durham Research Center Auditorium.

Dr. Gold to speak at meeting

UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., will give his annual address to the faculty, titled "Healthcare 2050," at the annual faculty meeting at 3 p.m., April 23, in the Durham Research Center Auditorium. A reception hosted by Chancellor Gold will follow the event.

The ceremony will be broadcast through ZOOM and can be accessed from desktop computers or at the following sites at UNMC's non-Omaha campuses:

  • College of Nursing-Lincoln, Room 336
  • College of Dentistry-Lincoln Dixon Auditorium, Room 1145
  • College of Nursing-Kearney, Health Science Education Complex, Room 102
  • College of Nursing-Norfolk, Room 189
  • Scottsbluff - College of Nursing, Regional West Medical Center, Room B132

  • Name: Sara Bills
  • Titles: Assistant professor
  • Joined UNMC: 2014
  • Hometown: Omaha

What are the greatest rewards of teaching?
At UNMC, I am able to collaborate with innovative colleagues and students who feed my inner creativity, all while shaping future physical therapists that will transform lives. I couldn't ask for a more rewarding career.

Describe a moment in your career when you realized you had picked the right occupation.
I married into Cubs fandom in 2005 and quickly realized the pain and suffering of Cubs fans across the country. However, the Cubbies broke their curse in 2016 while I was in the midst of my heaviest teaching load. The fall semester was spent teaching cardiopulmonary physical therapy, preparing for admissions and watching my beloved Cubs into the late night hours. The energy and excitement I felt for the Cubs spilled over into morning lectures. By the end of the World Series I was running off of pure adrenaline. The students celebrated with me (even Cardinals fans) with streamers and balloons at an exam after the National League Championship Series and cake pops at a clinical simulation after Game 7 of the World Series. It became evident to me by the end of the semester that teaching allowed me to channel my energy to spark student interest in the course content and build a community of learners.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a teacher?
We strive to recruit and admit students with diverse experiences and attributes. It is challenging, yet essential, that we work to shift our teaching methods away from lecture and toward activities that encourage the sharing of differing perspectives and beliefs. A talking head in the front of a diverse class is a wasted opportunity to develop our student's capacity for tolerance, respect and concern for others.

How do you know when you've been successful as a teacher?
In lectures and one-on-one meetings, I enjoy boiling complex physiological processes down to simple terms and metaphors. I am energized when I see that familiar "a-ha" pattern of movement when students finally understand.


Fill out the following and your comment will post once it has been approved.

Name (Required)

Email (Required)

Thank you, your comment will appear below once it has been approved.

Anne Lawlor
April 16, 2019 at 1:53 PM


Nikki Sleddens
April 16, 2019 at 10:12 AM

You are an amazing teacher and this honor is well deserved! Congrats!

Tessa Wells
April 16, 2019 at 9:57 AM

Congratulations, Sara! You do a fantastic job and are an inspiration - your energy is contagious to faculty as well!

Pat O'Neil
April 16, 2019 at 9:34 AM

Congratulations Sara! This is a well-deserved honor.

Janet Cuddigan
April 16, 2019 at 9:00 AM

Congratulations, Sara! A well-deserved honor! As a guest lecturer in one of your courses, it is always fun to see the enthusiasm and love of learning that you have evoked in your students. It is always fun to work with you.

Keely Cassidy
April 16, 2019 at 8:58 AM

Congratulations, Sara! Very well deserved recognition.

Sarah McBrien
April 16, 2019 at 8:47 AM

Congratulations, Sara!

Maggie Winnicki
April 16, 2019 at 7:48 AM

A well deserved honor! Sara works very hard on behalf of our current and future students, and we are so blessed to have her in our college. Congratulations, Sara!

Fran Higgins
April 16, 2019 at 7:41 AM

Congratulations, Sara! Sounds like your classes would be a lot of fun.

Kim Corum
April 16, 2019 at 7:18 AM

Congratulations Sara!