Barbara Zust, 2011 Carlson Award Winner, Nursing Department

Posted on October 24th, 2016 by

2011 Carlson Award Winner, Barbara Zust, Nursing Department

Barbara Zust

My colleagues are gifted educators, innovative thinkers, and simply great humans. I know, because they have taught me how to teach and how to be in the world. No matter what our field or what we do, what all of us at Gustavus have in common is a commitment to students.

In my 14 years of witness, Gustavus has done what it has done for almost 150 years-high quality,
Committed faculty have provided a superb liberal arts education that has prepared students to lead fulfilling lives of leadership and service. Whatever Gustavus has done or will ever do, the foundation of the institution is here, in rural Minnesota, on this hill, with immigrants, their children, their grandchildren, and their great, great, great grandchildren. That tradition is built on a sol id educational experience that requires two elements-high quality, committed faculty and outstanding students ready to embrace the challenge of a transformational educational experience.

Edgar Carlson recognized the importance of faculty and all the people who make Gustavus what it is. Eric Norelius, founder of the College, said, “Whatever we do, let us do it well;” Dr. Carlson lived that out in his time at Gustavus, and Gustavus faculty and staff continue to embrace that tradition. Gustavus’s highest teaching accolade is rightly named in Dr. Carlson’s honor. Every year, faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to nominate professors who reflect that spirit. The former Carlson Award winners meet and discuss the nominations, and the provost chooses the winner.

Students describe this year’s winner as “compassionate,” “caring,” “genuine,” “encouraging,” and “an advocate.” Fittingly, these descriptors perfectly embody her profession -as a nurse. The 2011 Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching goes to Barbara Zust, associate professor of nursing.

Barb is a Gustie. She graduated from Gustavus in 1976 with a degree in nursing and received her M .S. and Ph .D. in nursing from the University of Minnesota. In her professional career as a nurse, she has worked in a variety of contexts from hematology to pediatrics to ICU to obstetrics. I n 2000, Barb returned to the College and has taught a variety of courses and clinicals, with specialties in maternity nursing, mental health nursing, and human wellness. In addition, she has led January courses to Sweden, Tanzania, and Petatlán, Mexico.

Barb, like all Gusties, is always willing to help and support others on their journeys. Her students spoke of that in their nominations. They wrote about her passion and commitment to nursing and to their professional and personal growth. One student wrote, “When she teaches, not only are her students interested, they are inspired.” Another stated, “She challenges her students to think critically about their patients while maintaining a supportive and encouraging relationship with them.” Another student commented, “Barb provides a nurturing environment and prepares us to be compassionate nurses.” A student reported on her January experience in Mexico, “My nursing care skills exponentially improved by learning from Barb how to care for patients in an under-resourced environment.” Barb has also mentored students to conduct their own research, which they have presented at national and regional conferences. A student sum med up Barb’s influence with “She is very spiritual and wise.”

Finally, her students gave her the highest praise as a model of what they hope to embody in their lives in the nursing profession. One wrote, “She is an exemplary role model and she does it in a humble manner.”

Presented by Leila Brammer
Professor of Communication Studies
2010 Recipient of the Edgar M. Carlson Award


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