Nursing Division Chair Honored for Excellence in Teaching

Photo of Dr. Richelle Rennegarbe ’92Dr. Richelle Rennegarbe’s ’92 dedication to rural nursing and to the success of new nurses is well known and respected throughout southern Illinois. The chair of McKendree’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.” Richelle 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.

Richelle 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.

Other McKendree graduates or former students were among the 99 St. Louis area educators receiving Excellence in Teaching Awards in 2014:


Erika (Johnson) Schreffler ’04, teacher at Bayless Junior High School in St. Louis, Mo.

Brian Papa, MAED ’12, science teacher at Madison Junior-Senior High School in Madison, Ill.

Karen (Biver) Truran, MAED ’10, special education teacher at Dorris Intermediate School in Collinsville, Ill.

Beth Twenhafel, eighth grade social studies teacher at Mascoutah Middle School in Mascoutah, Ill.

Bethany (Vogt) Kazmierczak ’00, eighth grade language arts and English teacher at Wolf Branch School District 113 in Swansea, Ill.

Brad Gotshall, MAED ’13, response to intervention-school improvement coordinator at Pontiac Junior High School in Fairview Heights, Ill.

The awards, presented on Nov. 16, 2014 in Clayton, Mo., are sponsored annually by Emerson, a global manufacturing and technology company.