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Nursing Professor Receives 2015 Lindback Award

colbyDr. Normajean Colby, assistant professor and coordinator of pediatric nursing in the School of Nursing, received the 2015 Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching.

“Our winner is not new to Widener; she has been part of the Widener family since 1983,” Interim Provost Jerry Greiner said.  “Unlike many other faculty, she has seen Widener from many perspectives: student, alumna, preceptor, instructor, lecturer and now assistant professor. She has studied the benefits of interprofessional education and has shared this knowledge not only in the classroom with Widener students, but also with practicing professionals in other organizations.”

A three-time Widener alumna, receiving her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate from Widener, Colby attributes her success to her professors and coaches. “They were such great role models and provided me with characteristics and attributes to emulate,” she said. “Widener took my education personally and that is what I attempt to do for my students. I'm fortunate to be a part of the Widener family and to work with such dedicated individuals.  It really is an absolute honor to be recognized by them as well for doing what I love to do.”

The Lindback Award is given to a faculty member who has demonstrated a history of teaching at the highest level. It is endowed by the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation, a Philadelphia-based foundation that provides grants to institutions of higher education for the promotion of excellence in teaching. The honor is bestowed annually to a member of Widener’s faculty.

“There is little doubt that this woman will be remembered for many years to come for her dedication to students and to the nursing profession,” Greiner said.

Colby is honored to receive such an award. “This award is so meaningful to me,” she said. “It represents what I do and who I am as a teacher.”

At Widener, Colby has been a nurse educator for over 20 years. She teaches a variety of courses from freshmen to seniors at the ungraduated level and PhD courses, and is an adviser in the School of Nursing. She currently serves as the coordinator of the pediatric nurse program and an adjunct professor in the School of Human Service Professions.

Colby also teaches a service learning elective that focuses on nurses as teachers responsible for imparting healthcare education in practice. The course encompasses theory and compliance, while students work with a variety of populations in their placements. “Both the service site location and the student benefit from the immersion experience,” Colby said. She was named service learning faculty fellow for her work on the course.

This year Colby is looking forward to supporting the university sustainability initiative and plans to focus a part of her freshman seminar course around the topic. “I think the incoming class will be great ambassadors in moving the university forward on sustainability initiatives,” she said.

Prior to joining the staff at Widener, Colby worked as a pediatric nurse at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and as a pediatric nurse practitioner at the duPont Hospital for Children.

She is a member of International Association of Human Caring, American Assembly for Men in Nursing, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Associates and Practitioners, Inc., Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, Eta Beta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society, Society of Pediatric Nurses, Nursing of Children Network, Pennsylvania League for Nursing, National League for Nursing, and American Nurses Association.

Colby also serves as a reviewer for the Journal of Nursing Education, Journal of Pediatric Nursing, Journal of Men’s Studies, and Nursing Education Perspectives.

At Widener Colby is serving on the Presidential Search Committee. She previously served on the School of Nursing Dean’s Search Committee.

Colby is also joined on campus by her three children that are currently attending as undergraduate students. She even had the opportunity to move her son, who is a freshman, into the residence hall she lived in as a student.

Outside of the classroom, Colby supports the university on the field, and court, by attending a number of athletic events. As an undergraduate she worked for several athletic teams and still attends games with her father. She couldn’t wait to tell him about the award. “He was the first person I told about my valedictorian status as a student, and this.”

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener comprises eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate’s, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university’s campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve some 6,000 students. Widener is proud to be a tobacco-free university. Visit the university website,