Nancy Wagner: 1st to win Tressel Endowed Chair in Leadership

By Kayla Duley

Nancy Wagner, director of the Centofanti School of Nursing, is the first to win the Tressel Endowed Chair in Leadership. 

An endowed chair is recognized for outstanding work in their field. It’s awarded annually, with the recipients judged on the previous academic year. 

Jeffrey Allen, the dean of the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services, which Centofanti School of Nursing is within, wrote a nomination letter for Wagner. He said an example during the last academic year was her response to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“Nancy created a teachable moment by facilitating a mock COVID-19 drive-through testing experience for junior, senior and family nurse practitioner students,” Allen said.

Provost Brien Smith said the award was created because a number of interested donors wanted to recognize Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel with an endowed chair. The endowed chair is available to the faculty head of a YSU department and funded through the YSU Foundation.

Smith said he calls for letters of nomination from deans. Then, there is a process of polling with an anonymous ballet.

“After those letters are sent to me, I distribute all those letters back out to the deans and we discuss them openly,” Smith said.

The YSU Foundation gifted the $1.6 million to the university for the award. 

“Between 2-3% of the endowment is provided for our use. Most of it is designated for faculty professional development in our Centofanti School of Nursing,” Wagner said. “I also received a much-appreciated stipend.”

Wagner said the nursing school has been discussing how to use the funds.

“We are looking at workshops on active learning, workshops on NCLEX Next Gen, which is the state board test that we offer our students,” she said.

Wagner would like to have the workshops because the department is coming up with a new way of testing, so they are looking to educate faculty, and also looking at possibly having faculty attend some workshops on teaching evidence-based practice.

Allen said he was honored to nominate Wagner for the Tressel Endowed Chair in Leadership. During her 26 years at YSU, Wagner has had numerous accomplishments across all academic realms, including in teaching, research and scholarship, and university, community and national service.