In a break from the tradition of having one recipient, a pair of faculty members received the Stata Norton Distinguished Teaching Award as part of the Student Recognition Ceremony for the School of Health Professions on May 14 at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas.
The recipients are Judy Bielby, MBA, RHIA, FAHIMA, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Health Information Management and Sandra Billinger, PT, Ph.D., FAHA, an associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science.
The award honors Norton, who was dean of the school from 1980 to 1984, a member of the faculty of the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition and professor emeritus of pharmacology, toxicology and therapeutics in the School of Medicine. Faculty and students in the School of Health Professions vote on the award, which has been given for the past 30 years to recognize excellence in teaching as well as outstanding contributions by the recipient in his or her profession.
Bielby, who received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration from the University of Kansas, has more than 25 years of experience in the health care industry. Bielby is able to remain current in her field and can share relevant on-the-job knowledge with her students through her work as an independent contractor and health record coding consultant.
Bielby has served in a number of local, state and national professional organizations, including the Kansas and Missouri Health Information Management Associations as well as the American Health Information Management Association. She has worked on numerous projects involving hospitals and other entities at the local, state and national levels.
"I was deeply touched by what the students said in their nomination," Bielby said. Their comments confirm something I truly believe: the real objective of education is not about my ability to teach but rather it is about providing the structure in which students can learn as much as possible about a course topic."
Billinger, who is the director of the Research in Exercise and Cardiovascular Health Laboratory, received a Bachelor of Science from Fort Hays State University, and her Master of Science in physical therapy and doctorate in rehabilitation science from the University of Kansas. In addition to teaching coursework in the physical therapy department, Billinger has a joint appointment in the Department of Neurology and Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology in the KU School of Medicine.
Billinger is very active professionally at the local, state and national levels. Among her many activities, Billinger serves as the chair of the Stroke Rehabilitation and Recovery Committee for the American Heart Association and as a member of the organization of the organization's Stroke Council. In 2013, Billinger received the Early Career Achievement Alumna Award from the KU School of Health Professions Alumni Association.
"I am extremely humbled and honored to receive the Stata Norton Distinguished Teaching Award," Billinger said. "The nomination letter from the students was so meaningful. Keeping their words in my mind as I teach in future semesters will be valuable to my continued growth as a faculty instructor."
Another highlight of the ceremony was Kaitlyn Brown, a graduating senior from the Department of Health Information Management, receiving the James P. Cooney Leadership Award. Initiated in 1992 by the KU School of Health Professions Alumni Association, the award is given to a graduating student from the school who has displayed a high level of leadership and has had a significant effect on the programs, profession, community and school.