Nora Fritz, Dennis Parker win EACPHS Excellence in Teaching Awards

The Wayne State University Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is proud to announce the winners of its 2020-21 Excellence in Teaching Awards: Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy Nora Fritz and Associate Clinical Professor of Pharmacy Practice Dennis Parker.

Dr. Nora Fritz Dr. Dennis Parker
Dr. Nora Fritz Dr. Dennis Parker

Nominees included Assistant Clinical Professor of Mortuary Science Lauren Budrow, Assistant Clinical Professor of Physical Therapy Jennifer Dickson, Assistant Clinical Professor of Physician Assistant Studies and Pharmaceutical Sciences Phil Pokorski, Clinical Professor of Pharmacy Practice Maureen Smythe and Assistant Clinical Professor of Clinical Laboratory Science MaryAnne Stewart.

The awards recognize outstanding faculty – one in Health Sciences and one in Pharmacy – who, to an exceptionally high degree, demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of their subject, superior classroom performance, and high educational standards; communicate their subject matter accurately, clearly, and effectively; generate enthusiasm and respect for learning; motivate their students to excel; and are accessible to students. Consideration is also given to innovative instructional practices, impact on teaching at Wayne State, and contributions to advancing teaching in their field. All full-time and part-time faculty members who have taught for at least three consecutive years at WSU Applebaum, and who have not received this award in the past three years, are eligible to be nominated.

Mentimeter collage for Dr. Fritz
Students celebrated Dr. Nora Fritz's strengths through a Mentimeter collage.

Dr. Nora Fritz holds appointments in the WSU Applebaum Doctor of Physical Therapy program, and in the Wayne State School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology and Translational Neuroscience Program. She also directs the Neuroimaging and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory. “Dr. Fritz embodies enthusiasm, respect for learning, motivation, and accessibility to students in her class. She is able to engage students for long periods of time, clearly articulates material, and was committed to developing innovative instructional practices to increase students’ learning and experiences during a pandemic,” wrote Assistant Clinical Professor of Occupational Therapy Christine Kivlen in her nomination letter, which was wholeheartedly supported by Health Care Sciences Chair Sara Maher. Kivlin and Fritz have co-taught an interprofessional PT and OT course. “I truly believe Dr. Fritz went above and beyond to be accessible for her students from both cohorts, OT and PT,” Kivlen wrote. In addition to classroom teaching, Dr. Fritz has a sustained record of mentoring undergraduate thesis students, DPT professional students, as well as doctoral students. Fritz was recently awarded tenure and promotion to associate professor, effective Aug. 18, 2021.

Mentimeter for Dr. Parker
Dr. Dennis Parker's Mentimeter collage, with submissions from students.

Dr. Dennis Parker joined the WSU Applebaum Doctor of Pharmacy program faculty in 1999 and also serves as a clinical specialist in neurointensive care at Detroit Receiving Hospital; he is extremely dedicated to the students that he teaches and mentors in this clinical setting. Parker’s innovations in teaching include the use of the human patient simulator and introducing gaming into content reinforcement, and he has been instrumental in the integration of team-based learning into the PharmD curriculum. He has received 13 teaching awards over the last 20 years. “The quality of Dr. Parker’s content development and delivery is unquestioned. He uses stories, humor and personal connection in a way that helps students understand and remember material,” wrote Pharmacy Practice Chair Lynette Moser in her nomination letter. She noted that Parker goes out of his way to engage and motivate students outside the classroom, leads constructive conversations with students who are struggling, and is able to help students identify their own barriers and solutions. “When I meet alumni of our program, they will comment on Dr. Parker’s memorable teaching," Moser wrote. "Our program is stronger because he is in our department.”

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