Redefining the Classroom

MaryAnne Shannon, Recipient 2007

Professor MaryAnne Shannon Lake Superior State University students, faculty and staff have chosen longtime nursing professor MaryAnne Shannon Ph.D. as the recipient of this year's Distinguished Teaching Award.

The award was announced during commencement ceremonies May 5 on campus. The program also included remarks from honorary doctorate recipients Louis B. Lukenda DDS, Sault, Ont., and Sen. Walter H. North, St. Ignace, as well as an address to the graduating class by student respondent Jeffrey Jakaitis, Rochester, Minn.

"A distinguished teacher is a member of the LSSU community who exemplifies the best of our faculty," said Bruce Harger Ph.D., LSSU vice president for academic affairs and provost. "She is caring, compassionate and available to students, as well as being challenging, demanding and fair. A distinguished teacher is respected, cooperative, works well as a team member and contributes to the advancement of her program at the university."

Students who nominated Shannon described her as a mentor, a leader, an inspirational role model and friend.

"This teacher’s constant support, encouragement and acceptance have enabled us to push ourselves further than we ever thought we were capable," said one student. "Her calming words of 'I know you can do this. You know this material,' before an exam, or a reassuring email to her students on the darkest of days, when they feel they cannot complete what they have started, are reasons why we have inspiration to succeed and realize our potential."

Another of her students said, “Her passion to instill pride and excitement in what she teaches is contagious. We will forever carry into our careers the countless daily lessons, values and ethical principles that she models. We can only hope to be as capable of inspiring others as she has inspired us."

Harger noted that Shannon is "always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to find creative, challenging and innovative ways to help students learn difficult concepts easily," and said she would give up Saturday mornings to help her sophomore students give foot massages in the community and would allow students use her arms to practice administering injections.

"I am proud to receive this award," said Shannon, who has been teaching at LSSU since 1979. "I do it on behalf of the faculty I work with at this university…As one who has been here for a while, I can tell you that we have a lot of common values that we share as faculty. We value our teaching and we have a passion for it."

Shannon thanked her students for allowing her to work with them.

"We value our students and our graduates. We're proud of all of your accomplishments."

Shannon, who received her doctoral degree in 2005 from Michigan State University, encouraged her students to keep learning throughout their careers.

Shannon holds an associate's degree in child development from LSSU and received a bachelor's degree in nursing from University of Michigan in 1975. She received a master's degree in nursing from Wayne State University in 1979 and completed a post-master's degree fellowship in geriatrics at the University of Michigan. Besides being a registered nurse, Shannon has held national board certification in gerontological nursing since 1991.

Her first permanent appointment to the LSSU faculty, after teaching adjunct, was in 1982. She took time off to raise her family, continue her education and practice in other areas, before accepting another fulltime appointment with the nursing faculty in 1991.

Shannon has worked as a nurse for the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians, the Algoma Health Unit in Sault, Ont., the Chippewa County Health Department, the Michigan Department of Social Services, and Eastern U.P. Intermediate School District.

She and her husband, Patrick, have two sons.