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FSU Faculty Member Dr. Heather Gable Honored With USM Award for Teaching
04/08/2016

FSU Faculty Member Dr. Heather Gable Honored With USM Award for Teaching

Dr. Heather Gable, chair of Frostburg State University’s Department of Nursing and an associate professor, has been awarded the Regents’ Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, the highest honor that the University System of Maryland Board of Regents bestows to recognize exemplary faculty achievement. She will be honored at the April 15 meeting of the board.

Gable’s honor marks the eighth time since 2007 that an FSU faculty member has been honored by the regents.

Gable began her academic career at FSU in the fall of 2009 as an adjunct faculty member. Shortly thereafter, she stepped into the role of program coordinator of FSU’s online RN-BSN Nursing Program, which had been created in 2009 in response to the growing nursing shortage in the state of Maryland and the nation.

Gable developed and implemented all aspects of the program, including student recruiting, marketing, course design, curriculum development and the assessment plan to meet the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice in preparation for accreditation. Under her direction and leadership, in 2011, the RN-BSN program was awarded a five-year accreditation from AACN’s accrediting body, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

In the six years that Gable has been at FSU, enrollment has grown from five students in fall 2009 to more than 450 in fall 2015. Recently, new pathways have been developed to ensure enrollments and recruit unique student populations. The Associate to Bachelor’s option was developed with Community College of Baltimore County in 2015, and funding was awarded in 2015 to expand this initiative to include an additional five community colleges in Maryland.

In 2014, the team in the Department of Nursing, under Gable’s leadership, received approval to implement a new master of science in nursing program, scheduled for initial accreditation in spring 2016. Gable is now collaborating with her faculty to develop curricula and full proposals for Doctor of Nursing Practice and Nurse Practitioner programs. She serves as a critical member of FSU’s Health Sciences team that is planning further programs for development, including a Physician’s Assistant program.

Gable has worked to ensure the highest standards for the online nursing courses, achieving Quality Matters certification for all courses in the RN-BSN program. She works with the nursing faculty to ensure they are systematically building and evaluating the courses based on rigorous, research-based standards. In recognition of its reputation among online nursing programs, in 2013, the RN-BSN program was recognized and ranked fifth in the nation as a Best Buy in online nursing bachelor’s programs by GetEducated.com, and in 2015, Best Master of Science in Nursing listed the program 13th among the top 50 in the country.

In support of efforts to develop nursing curricula, the Nursing Department, under Gable’s leadership, has secured more than $3.5 million in funding from the Maryland Higher Education Commission. The most recent grants will be used to support the planning of the nurse practitioner program, develop Associate to Bachelor’s options with Maryland community colleges and develop a collaborative BSN model with Allegany College of Maryland.

“Under her leadership, FSU has seen unprecedented growth of transfer student enrollments and increases in grant funding,” Said Dr. Joseph Hoffman, dean of FSU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Dr. Gable’s creativity and willingness to consider, build and implement new programs are an instrumental part of the University’s achieving growth and distinction in the Health Sciences.”

Gable is also an outstanding teacher. Her goal is to provide students with as much engagement in the online environment as possible through the inclusion of various teaching/learning strategies. By incorporating various strategies, she reaches the adult learner audience of the RN-BSN and MSN student population through various learning modalities to provide clear, concise instructions. In addition, she works to ensure that her students are able to apply what they are learning to their work environments, allowing for “real-world” application. She challenges her students, treats each student with respect and most of all provides optimal levels of feedback.

In addition, Gable assumed the role of mentor to her faculty. She was and remains intimately involved within all of the nursing programs at FSU, even though the students in the combined programs number almost 500. She makes time to work individually with faculty on an ongoing basis to ensure they are meeting the high standards within the department.

Kelly Rock, an assistant professor in FSU’s Department of Nursing, refers to Gable as an “unequal leader.” “In my humble opinion,” she said, “transparency, honesty, integrity, genuine concern for those entrusted to their leadership, leading by example and commitment to the entirety of a position are some of the qualities that I take into consideration when defining a leader. Using my definition, Dr. Gable is a leader.”

Gable earned her Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing in 2002, her Master of Science in Nursing Administration in 2004 and her Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2014, all from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Nursing.

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit www.frostburg.edu or facebook.com/frostburgstateuniversity. Follow FSU on Twitter @frostburgstate.

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For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589
E-mail: news@frostburg.edu