Compassion and Putting Students First Is Winning Strategy for Trumbull Nursing Professor

Empathy, warmth and kindness are things that Kathy Dwinnells, Ph.D., RN, CNS, CNE, associate professor in the College of Nursing at the Trumbull Campus, believes are important parts of a nursing education.

Dwinnells, a nurse of over 42 years, began teaching at Kent State 28 years ago and enjoys engaging students with interactive lessons and real-life situations from her many “medical stories” that she’s acquired over the years.

“I strive to make material understandable, and I find ways for students to understand and retain the material,” Dwinnells said.

Her favorite part about teaching is interacting with students. It’s also a learning experience for her, not just the students.

“I absolutely love interacting with such a diverse group of students. I always say, I learn as much about them as they learn from me,” Dwinnells said. “Being at a Regional Campus has enabled me to interact with students of various ages, backgrounds and life experiences.”

By imparting fundamental health science knowledge to her nursing students and serving as a role model for important nursing functions, Dwinnells has won the Outstanding Teaching Award (OTA).

“Winning the OTA was both exciting and humbling,” Dwinnells said. “It was such a surprise and I, for once, was speechless.”

The award honors full-time, nontenure-track and part-time faculty members who are nominated by their students for being among the most dedicated, highly effective and motivated professors at Kent State.

All 2022 Distinguished Teaching Award (DTA) and OTA honorees were acknowledged at the UTC’s Fall Celebration of Teaching Conference on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022.

Being mindful of the feedback she receives from students is important to Dwinnells. She enjoys helping students through their struggles and acts as a supportive role model for them.

“I really do take into consideration the feedback I receive from students — both good and bad,” Dwinnells said. “I find over the years I am better able to get a sense when my students are struggling or needing alternative ways to learn material.”

For more information about Kent State’s nursing program, please visit

POSTED: Wednesday, January 18, 2023 10:32 PM
Updated: Wednesday, January 18, 2023 01:05 PM
Jordan Bryski, Flash Communications