MPCC instructors recognized for excellence in teaching

perry and schwartz
Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Two Mid-Plains Community College instructors are being honored for their commitment and contributions to higher education.

Jamie Perry, medical laboratory technician instructor, and Lindsay Schwartz, nurse educator, have been selected to receive the 2024 Excellence in Teaching Award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development.

“The college is proud to be able to recognize Jamie and Lindsay as the NISOD recipients for this year,” said Dr. Jody Tomanek, vice president of academic affairs and NPCC. “This recognition goes to those faculty who demonstrate excellence in teaching and learning both in the classroom and outside the classroom. Jamie and Lindsay both exemplify what it means to receive this award.”

Schwartz said she felt honored and grateful by the recognition.

“I have been a part of the nursing faculty team for nearly five years now, first part-time and currently full-time, and it feels very special to have been chosen by my colleagues for this award,” Schwartz said. “I would not be the instructor I have become without the support and experience of the rest of the team. I have put a lot of time, effort and thought into building up my small part of the nursing curriculum the past few years, so it feels validating that my coworkers decided I was worthy of being nominated for this award.”

Jamie Perry

Perry echoed those sentiments. She has served as the director of the college’s MLT program since 2019.

“Being chosen for the NISOD Excellence in Teaching Award is truly humbling and exhilarating,” Perry said. “I feel honored and am deeply grateful to those who nominated me.”

Perry is originally from Sidney. She graduated from Sidney High School in 2007 then spent four years at Chadron State College where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology.

Perry transferred on to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha where she received a medical laboratory science degree in 2012, after which she spent three years working as a med lab scientist at UNMC.

She moved to North Platte in 2015 and took a part-time adjunct teaching job in MPCC’s med lab tech department in 2016 while simultaneously pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree through Bellevue University.

Her position at the college became full-time in January of 2019. Perry officially became the program director in May of that year.

“My students are at the forefront of my teaching strategy, and I strive to provide them with an exceptional educational journey,” Perry said. “I aim to utilize innovative teaching techniques that foster true comprehension rather than mere memorization of concepts.”

She lists student success as the most gratifying part of her job.

“It's incredibly rewarding to observe students grappling with challenging concepts and then employing innovative methods to make learning enjoyable, which reinforces their understanding,” Perry said. “Seeing the tangible impact of education on students’ lives as they pass boards, embark on careers and eventually start families is truly gratifying. Additionally, it’s uniquely rewarding to encounter former students in professional settings, as many of them now staff the clinical sites utilized. Witnessing alumni contribute to the training and inspiration of future generations in our field adds another layer of fulfillment to my role as an educator.”

Lindsay Schwartz    

Schwartz has been a nurse educator for MPCC since 2021. She was an adjunct nursing clinical instructor for two years before that.

“What I enjoy most about teaching is watching the students grow and succeed throughout the nursing program,” said Schwartz. “Witnessing a student’s confidence and knowledge build over time is definitely the most rewarding part of the job for me. I also enjoy the relationships I get to build with my students. Our program is small so it’s easy to get to know each student on a personal level, which I feel really helps us as instructors help them to succeed.”

Originally from McCool Junction, Schwartz graduated from Bryan College of Health Sciences with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 2016 and a Master of Science in Nursing - Education degree in 2020.

She gained preceptor experience as a staff registered nurse in a medical-surgical unit at Great Plains Health and continues to work at the hospital on an “as needed” basis. Her primary focus, however, is turning out skilled nurses for the local workforce.

“My goal as a nursing instructor is to help create confident and compassionate critical thinkers,” said Schwartz. “In my opinion, those characteristics are what make a high-quality nurse, and there is a huge need for high quality nurses everywhere right now.”

Perry and Schwartz will receive their awards during NISOD’s International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence in Austin, Texas in May.