McKendree Nursing Professor Awarded for Excellence in Teaching

(LEBANON, Ill., November 18, 2019) — Dr. Kelli Whittington, RN, CNE, of McKendree University is among 100 St. Louis area educators who have received the 2019 Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award for their outstanding contribution to the teaching profession and to their students. The awards were presented on Nov. 17 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in St. Louis. Recipients were chosen by their institutions’ top administrators.

The assistant professor of nursing and chairperson of the Division of Nursing has made a profound impact on nursing student success at McKendree University. “She is a dedicated instructor who leads students through the rigors of advanced learning with patience and understanding,” said Dr. Alan Alewine, associate provost.

Whittington uses a variety of delivery methods to ensure her online courses are engaging and innovative. Students have commented on their evaluations that she is caring, her courses are exceptional, and her enthusiasm for the learning experience is contagious.

“It's vital that every student I teach feel they have a connection with me,” she said. “I’m very passionate about developing the online learning environment to create a meaningful relationship with my students that fosters their growth in the profession of nursing.”

Whittington obtained nurse educator certification and gained mentor status for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Doctoral Advancement in Nursing program. Last fall she shared her enthusiasm for teaching at the Focus on Teaching and Technology conference by presenting “Improving On-line Classroom Engagement with Video Communication.” She has served on various committees at the university including the Institutional Review Board, the Technology Advisory Committee, and the Undergraduate and Graduate Councils.

A resident of Benton, Ill., she received her doctorate from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, a master’s degree in nursing from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and a bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University.

Other McKendree graduates who received 2019 Emerson Excellence in Teaching Awards are:

  • Carrie Friederich, M.A.Ed. ’10, a special education teacher at Union Elementary School in Belleville, Ill.

  • Robin Ibel, M.A.Ed. ’09, a Title I teacher at Pontiac-William Holliday School in Fairview Heights, Ill.

  • Jill Mathenia, M.A.Ed. ’15, a special education teacher at Harmony-Emge Ellis School in Belleville, Ill.

  • Tiffany Owens, M.A.Ed. ’13, a fifth and sixth grade special education co-teacher at Joseph Arthur Middle School in O’Fallon, Ill.

  • Kathy (Emke) Rohn ’98, an art teacher at Wolf Branch School in Swansea, Ill.


 Dr. Kelli Whittington, RN, CNE

Dr. Kelli Whittington, RN, CNE, McKendree University