By Leah Williams
Dr. Richelle A. Rennegarbe of Nashville received a special recognition during a teleconference earlier this month, announcing that she was the United Methodist Exemplary Teacher of the Year.
“I was very surprised and I’m truly honored,” Rennegarbe said. “It means a lot because it comes from the students, the faculty and the community.”
The award is given based on teaching, civility and consern for students and colleagues, commitment to value-centered education as well as service to students and the community.
Rennegarbe earned her undergraduate degree from McKendree in 1992 and began teaching at her alma mater in 1996. She left academia for a few years to serve as the chief nursing officer and chief executive officer of Salem Township Hospital. She then returned to McKendree in 2009 to chair the Division of Nursing.
McKendree nursing students know her as a kind, thoughtful and outstanding professor and mentor who prepares them for leadership positions. “She is well-respected in the broader community for her professionalism and ‘can-do’ attitude, establishing new partnerships with hospitals and maintaining healthy relationships with others,” said Dr. Christine Bahr, McKendree University provost. Highly respected for her work in teaching nurses and as a former rural hospital leader, she received the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network’s Service Award in 2013 for her role in the development and enhancement of rural nursing.
Rennegarbe said many of her students are working professionals. With the curriculum moved to online, the university is committed to assisting students complete their studies and their practicum requirements.
“We’re just doing the best we can to help them as best as we can,” she said. “We try to go above and beyond for them.”