December 16, 2022

Purdue Global honors faculty and staff for leadership, accomplished learning and organization building

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Hundreds of Purdue Global faculty and staff are committed to their work in teaching and supporting the university’s wide array of adult learners. On Thursday (Dec. 15), a select group received recognition for their impact, innovation, best practices and measurable outcomes with G.L.O.B.A.L. Distinction Awards.

Awards were presented in three areas: Great Leaders, Accomplished Learners and Organization Builders. A seven-member selection committee made up of university faculty and staff selected the recipients from a pool of nominations.

“The opportunity to recognize members of our faculty and staff who have been recommended by their peers is one of the highlights of the year,” Purdue Global Chancellor Frank Dooley said. “It is the efforts of individuals and teams like these, and so many more, that have helped Purdue Global continue to prosper. They are symbolic of the passion demonstrated by all our employees, and it is a pleasure to honor them.”

Here is a look at the honorees:

Great Leaders Award – for promoting a culture of excellence and expanding the vision of making Purdue Global a great place to work.

  • Individual Recipient: Patti Pelletier, executive director, academic administration. Pelletier is recognized for excellent leadership in her roles as co-chair of the Purdue Global Equity Task Force; director for the Center for Teaching and Learning; chair for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee; and director over student success, faculty operations and student life. Additionally, her commitment to promoting a culture of excellence can be seen behind the scenes as she ensures that town hall meetings and aspects of graduation ceremonies and conferences run seamlessly. Her collaborative and open nature fosters belonging and inclusion, which in turn creates a better place to work and learn for all with whom she interacts.
  • Group Recipient: Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) faculty team – Amy Daly (team lead), Elizabeth Chapman, Joan Taylor, Shirl Pelham-Bennett, Toni Loftus, Ami Bhatt, Rebecca Taulbee and David Campbell-O’Dell. The DNP faculty team creates a cohesive team environment that promotes communication, collaboration and engagement. This allows faculty to contribute to the overall success of the students, DNP program and university. The students served by this team are often working full time while juggling family obligations and schoolwork. The ongoing challenges from the pandemic that resulted for the nursing profession are evident in this student body. The DNP faculty team approaches each student as an individual and provides support in coaching them to find resolutions to keep them on track. Over the past year, the DNP faculty team has proposed and implemented changes to improve student success, including course revisions and resequencing. Additionally, a culture of caring by the DNP faculty team is evident through ongoing efforts to identify students at risk and provide support. DNP faculty encourage students to participate in self-care and to contact faculty or DNP leadership if they are struggling in the program. 

Accomplished Learners Award – for creating positive student momentum at Purdue Global via curricular enhancements, faculty initiatives or technological advancements.

  • Individual Recipient: Nancy Szwydek, assistant dean for accreditation and director of quality assurance, School of Health Sciences. Szwydek has contributed to the success of the School of Health Sciences in multiple ways related to student success. She successfully led accreditation efforts for the medical assisting program and health information management program. Additionally, Szwydek oversees the medical billing and coding program and health informatics and health information management program. For these programs, she developed the DegreeUp initiative, which involves graduates and senior students presenting to early program students to encourage them to persist in their studies and seek higher degrees. Szwydek also actively encourages the students in her program to become professional association members and connects them to these associations and external industry resources.
  • Group Recipient: Education and Communication First-Generation Persistence – Julia Nyberg (team lead), Elliot Cook and Dena AuCoin. One of the goals for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences during the 2020-21 academic year was to measure and improve student persistence (retention). A goal was set at 87.2%. This award is based on the success of education and communication students, whose persistence rate increased from nearly 87% to better than 94%. Through research-based strategies for first-generation students, AuCoin identified strategies that were practical to implement in the classroom: faculty connections, classroom practices, and department and administrative support. The team has begun sharing its work across the university and beyond, hoping to present at the Higher Learning Commission national conference and to publish in a diversity-focused publication. 

Organization Builders Award – for celebrating significant growth in Purdue Global from an innovative standpoint.

  • Individual Recipient: Jennifer Teague, graduate faculty member and program lead, Global Business program. Teague is regarded as a visionary who has demonstrated persistence, consistency and leadership in the development of the Education Abroad program. This program differentiates Purdue Global from other large online universities while fulfilling its land-grant mission by providing an avenue for global travel that some students may not be able to experience otherwise. What started as a concentration in two specific programs (MBA and Master of Science in Management and Leadership) has grown to a concentration, a stand-alone one-hour for-credit graduate course, a stand-alone one-hour for-credit undergraduate course, a four-hour capstone alternative course and an opportunity for students to earn the Global Certificate of Competency awarded by AFS, which is the premier foreign study body in the nation.
  • Group Recipient: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Curriculum Guide Committee – Julia Nyberg (team lead), Jahna Kahrhoff, Bea Bourne, Carol Edwards, Celine Hall, Dena AuCoin, Guilene Williams, Michele McMahon, Shandrea Williams and Tricia Berry. The DEI Curriculum Guide Committee was formed from an idea that emerged from the Multicultural/Diversity Inventory task force out of a need to build breadth and depth of multicultural, diversity and inclusion content in Purdue Global courses and programs above and beyond professional competencies. Out of this need, Nyberg suggested developing a curriculum guide. The purpose of the guide is to develop a community of practice and serve as a resource for Purdue Global to incorporate elements of diversity, equity and inclusion in curriculum and instruction. The expectation is that all stakeholder groups will understand the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion when designing, implementing and evaluating courses. The guide has been piloted in several courses with favorable feedback, and the next step is formal adoption across the university.

About Purdue Global

Purdue Global delivers personalized online education tailored to the unique needs of adults who have work or life experience beyond the classroom, enabling them to develop essential academic and professional skills with the support and flexibility they need to achieve their career goals. It offers personalized paths for students to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree, based on their work experience, desired pace, military service, previous college credits and other considerations – no matter where they are in their life journey. Purdue Global is a nonprofit, public university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It is affiliated with Purdue University’s flagship institution, a highly ranked public research university located in West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue University also operates regional campuses in Fort Wayne and Northwest Indiana, as well as serving science, engineering and technology students at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) campus. For more information, visit

Writer: Tom Schott,

Media Contact: Matthew Oates,

Sources: Frank Dooley

Amy Hawkinson

Jackie Ward

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