Dean of the Year
November 27, 2007
Dr. Alma Dixon, dean of the School of Nursing at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida, has been named 2007 Dean of the Year by the Florida Nursing Students Association.
“This award means so much because the nomination came from my students,” Dr. Dixon said of the tribute.
The Florida Nursing Students Association (FNSA) is a state branch of the National Student Nurses Association. A congratulatory letter sent to Dr. Dixon by the (FNSA) reads: “Without a doubt, it is people like you that allow nursing students to pursue both professional and personal growth while achieving their nursing degrees that make the experience so worthwhile. Your dedication and sacrifice for your students has been a shining light to those around you. Your support helps nursing students become leaders for FNSA and the profession of nursing.”
Dr. Dixon was recognized in November at the 52nd Annual FNSA Convention Awards Banquet in Orlando. Special guest, Dr. Ana M. Viamonte Ros, M.D., M.Ph, and the first Surgeon General of the State of Florida, was on hand to present Dr. Dixon with the award.
Dixon plays an active role in the lives of her students. She has a unique ability to recognize potential in a student – even when other instructors may not see it. She advocates for her students and is a proactive voice for health care in the local community.
Her advocacy and a personal commitment to make certain every graduate the School of Nursing is the best nurse he or she can be are what Dixon used to convinced University President Trudie Reed that the School of Nursing required new headquarters.
“We have offices that have been converted into classrooms because we simply don’t have enough room,” Dixon said. “Obviously the best teaching and best learning is done in a place where everyone involved can be comfortable -- not on top of one another.“
President Reed agreed with Dr. Dixon. The University procured a former car dealership directly across the street from the present nursing school building and that effort has resulted in a new, state-of-the-art facility. The L. Gale Lemerand School of Nursing, the 35,000 square-foot facility features eight “smart” classrooms, a 250-seat lecture hall, two simulation laboratories, a skills laboratory and a 70-seat computer laboratory. There are seminar rooms, a library, 20 faculty offices, two administrative offices, two conference rooms and a student lounge. This state-of-the-art teaching school is complemented by the new Odessa Chambliss Wellness Center, an outreach medical facility aimed at those who “fall through the cracks” of the health care system.
Advocating for better healthcare and making healthcare system more user-friendly on a local level are just two ways Dr. Dixon teaches by example. Some of her outreach is less noticeable, but well-known. She makes sure her students pay their dues on time, loans out her car for use in University parades and is the source of constant positive feedback and constructive criticism.
Her work to secure a new School of Nursing ensures the most up-to-date teaching methods are available to those committed to a career in nursing. Her advocacy in securing healthcare for the disadvantaged in the community – teaching by example -- is the best instruction tool any educator can use to prove that one person can make a difference.
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About Bethune-Cookman University
Founded in 1904 by Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement. B-CU offers baccalaureate degrees in 37 majors through six academic schools – Arts & Humanities; Business; Education; Nursing; Science, Engineering and Mathematics; and Social Sciences – and maintains intercollegiate athletic programs and instrumental and choral groups that have achieved national recognition. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of more than 3,400.