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Nursing Scholar is District of Columbia Professor of the Year


November 19, 2009 – The District of Columbia Professor of the Year – assistant professor Joan Burggraf Riley – has her Georgetown students create health promotion programs that often get implemented on campus.

“Students see that their work can effect change and improve the community,” says Riley, a human science and nursing professor at the School of Nursing and Health Studies (NHS). "We’re encouraging our students to have a responsibility to foster lifelong learning.”

Riley and other Georgetown faculty integrate student mental health and wellness topics into course curriculum across campus through a grant from the Englehard Foundation.

The District's Professor of the Year is chosen by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Selected from a pool of more than 300 top professors in the United States, Riley received her award along with national and state winners during a luncheon in Washington. 

Honored and Humbled 

The professor says she is honored and humbled by the recognition and continues to be “inspired by the intellectual curiosity and passion for the learning of Georgetown students.”

“I teach because I find fulfillment in being part of an academic community dedicated to students’ development in a climate marked by intellectual curiosity, openness, diversity, respect and support,” says Riley, who graduated from NHS in 1976 and received her Georgetown graduate degree in 1997.

Georgetown President John J. DeGioia lauds the professor for her work as a campus educator.

Exemplifying Ideals

“I have known Joan for many years, and her commitment to the development and well-being of our undergraduates is a model for all of us in the academy,” DeGioia says. “For more than 35 years, first as a student and now as a faculty member, Joan Riley has exemplified the ideals of Georgetown University.”

Riley says she is grateful for what her students give her as an educator.

“It’s just a remarkable experience to have students let you into their lives in such personal ways – into their joys, enlightenments, ‘ah-ha’ moments and sorrows,” she says. “I am proud and honored to be part of my students’ journeys.”

– Bill Cessato

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