McKendree Nursing Division Chair Wins Excellence in Teaching Award

Richelle Rennegarbe Honored for Commitment to Nursing Students’ Success

(LEBANON, Ill., November 14, 2014) — Dr. Richelle Rennegarbe’s dedication to rural nursing and to the success of new nurses is well known and respected throughout southern Illinois. The chair of McKendree University’s Division of Nursing is a 2014 Emerson Excellence in Teaching honoree for her commitment to nursing students, health education and the university’s nursing program.

The award honors “faculty who make an outstanding contribution to the teaching profession and to the students they teach.” Rennegarbe advises a large number of McKendree nursing students and makes herself readily available whenever they have concerns or questions. Her strong communication skills assist in recruiting and retaining students to McKendree’s nursing program.

“Dr. Rennegarbe has an excellent understanding of theory and pedagogy in education, nursing education and online teaching,” said Dr. Christine Bahr, McKendree University provost. “As chair of the nursing division, she provides leadership and serves as a role model for colleagues. She maintains a high degree of interaction with students that is professional, supportive and motivational.”

She serves on the boards of Hospice of Southern Illinois, the Illinois Organization of Nurse Leaders and the emergency physician practice group of her local community. In 2013 she received the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network’s Service Award for her role in the development and enhancement of nursing in rural communities. She is the former chief nursing officer and chief executive officer of Salem Township Hospital.

The Nashville, Ill., resident has taught at the university for 13 years and is a graduate of the nursing degree program she now chairs. She received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from McKendree, a master’s in community health from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and a doctorate in health education from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

In addition to Rennegarbe, other McKendree graduates or former students are among the 99 St. Louis area educators receiving Excellence in Teaching Awardees in 2014:

    • Erika Schreffler, a grade 6-8 teacher at Bayless Junior High School in St. Louis, Mo.
    • Brian Papa, a grade 6-7 science teacher at Madison (Ill.) Junior-Senior High School
    • Karen Truran, a special education teacher at Dorris Intermediate School in Collinsville, Ill.
    • Beth Twenhafel, an eighth grade social studies teacher at Mascoutah (Ill.) Middle School
    • Bethany Kazmierczak, Wolf Branch School District 113 in Swansea, Ill.
    • Brad Gotshall, response to intervention-school improvement coordinator at Pontiac Junior High School in Fairview Heights, Ill.

The awards, presented on Nov. 16 in Clayton, Mo., are sponsored annually by Emerson, a global manufacturing and technology company.


Photo of Richelle Rennegarbe

Richelle Rennegarbe, Ph.D., Division of Nursing Chair at McKendree University, is a 2014 Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award winner.