news-category: Faculty

Dr. Yvonne Smith Honored with Gardner-Webb’s Top Faculty Award

Dr. Yvonne Smith listens to two students in a roundtable discussion.
Dr. Yvonne Smith, center, listens to students during a Hunt School of Nursing Roundtable.

Associate Professor of Nursing Recognized for Service to the University and the Community

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—At the recent Fall Faculty Assembly, Gardner-Webb University administrators honored faculty members with various awards. Gardner-Webb President Dr. William M. Downs presented the 2022-2023 Excellence in Teaching award to Associate Professor of Nursing Dr. Yvonne Smith, who serves as coordinator of the Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing Practitioner Program.  

This honor also recognizes Smith’s service to the University and her community. Smith received a $1,000 cash prize and an invitation to speak at the next Fall Convocation.   

“Smith exemplifies the very nature of the mission and motto of the University in her teaching and in her life,” Downs noted. “She has been a devoted member of the faculty since 2016. During her tenure, she has been instrumental in cultivating a culture of caring among her colleagues and her students. Both her colleagues and students view her as a compassionate mentor, dedicated to a life of serving others.”  

This prestigious award also recognizes Smith’s academic rigor, effective course design, and dedication to students. Nominees for the award must have at least five years of full-time teaching service at GWU. Winners are nominated by one of their peers and receive a recommendation from their chair. Faculty and students are given the opportunity to score and leave comments and feedback to make the ultimate determination for the award.  

Smith has won many other awards, including the President’s Early Career Award, and the Faculty Mentor and Advising Award. She has served as an expert reviewer for the Journal of Psychiatric Nurses of America since 2016 and reviewed multiple articles this past year. She holds multiple nursing certifications, including certifications as a psychiatric mental health nurse, a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, a certified school nurse, and a certified nurse educator. She is also a member of seven professional nursing organizations.   

In service to her community, Smith has used her professional expertise to volunteer as Guardian ad litem for youth in Caldwell County.  

Praise from Students and Colleagues

Here are a few quotes from her students describing Smith’s personality and teaching methods:

  • “You can see her passion for this subject and it is contagious.”
  • “She is a very nurturing instructor. She made me feel valued and important.”
  • “She is kind, compassionate, caring, resourceful, and a true treasure. She has been able to take a small idea and help me turn it into something meaningful and life changing. I am so thankful for her help and support throughout the hardest program I have ever done.”

  Her colleagues commented: 

  • “She is the most eloquently spoken person. Even in the midst of a controversial topic, I can depend on her to focus on the true issues at hand. The support she gives to her students and faculty peers is unwavering.”
  • “It is obvious that she works each day with students as her top priority and always gives her very best. I know she meets with students all different hours of the day/night to help accommodate their busy work schedules.”
  • “I know that she has had to develop many courses as we build our program, and I’m sure they are of the highest quality!”

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at 

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