UJ Faculty Receive Prestigious Awards

May 18, 2023

Campus Clips

  • Awards

JAMESTOWN, N.D. — Three of University of Jamestown’s faculty members recently received high honors in their fields.  


Dr. Penny Briese, Ph.D., RN, simulation lab coordinator and associate professor of nursing, received the Sigma Excellence in Nursing Research Award, as well as the 2023 North Dakota State Nurse Educator of the Year (NEDY) award.

This award was developed by the Nursing Students’ Association of North Dakota (NSAND), a pre-professional student-run organization comprised of nursing students from institutions across the state, to recognize outstanding nursing educators.

Dr. Briese, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and minor in theater from University of Jamestown, said she received the NEDY award 20 years to the day after she was named the North Dakota Nursing Student of the Year in 2003.

“I would not be sitting here with all these awards and accolades without the education I got here at University of Jamestown,” she said. “I have the career I have because of being a Jimmie.”

Raegen Hartman is one of Dr. Briese’s nursing students who nominated her for the award.

“I think what truly shows how much Penny deserves the award was her reaction,” she said. “Right after receiving the award, Penny hugged the students there, including myself, and with joyful tears said it was ‘for us.’ Penny is fully dedicated to her students in and outside of school in all aspects of life.”

This dedication is evident in the work she does for the nursing profession as a whole. Dr. Briese advocates on behalf of nurses in North Dakota through her service as the North Dakota Nurses Association Director of Advocacy.

Ultimately, though, her favorite role is being nurse educator.

“I’m here for the students and to turn out the best possible nurses that I can,” she said.

Another UJ nursing professor recently honored is Teree Rittenbach, Ph.D, NP, who was selected to receive the Center for Rural Health’s Outstanding Rural Educator/Mentor Award. This award is presented to a professional who has made outstanding contributions to the education, development and placement of new health care professionals in rural North Dakota communities.

“It is an incredible honor to receive this award,” Dr. Rittenbach said. “To have influenced the lives and careers of 45 classes of JC/UJ nursing students has been an incredible career experience.  I know that these graduates have gone on to influence our health care system and provide quality care for countless patients!”


Fellow University of Jamestown faculty member Chris Mahoney, assistant professor and chair of the department of kinesiology, received the 2022 ND SHAPE (North Dakota Society for Health and Physical Educators) Honor Award, which recognizes meritorious service by members of the group.

“I was completely humbled by the recognition,” said Mahoney, who’s in his 26th year of teaching at the university and a two-time ND SHAPE University Professor of the Year.

Mahoney hopes the award will further aid his work with students.

“I hope to inspire them that teaching is a worthwhile profession and that it can be a very rewarding decision for them,” he said.

Christopher Redfearn, D.A., associate provost and dean of the undergraduate college, shared “We are so proud of Dr. Penny Briese, Dr. Teree Rittenbach and Professor Chris Mahoney, all of whom work tirelessly for the success of their students here at UJ. It is gratifying to see them recognized for their excellence by their peers. Penny, Teree and Chris help make the University of Jamestown the special place that our students and alumni know it to be.”

Established as Jamestown College in 1883 by members of the Presbyterian Church, University of Jamestown is a private, liberal arts university granting Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees as well as master’s degrees in Education, Leadership, and Clinical Counseling. Doctoral degrees are available in Physical Therapy and Clinical Research. UJ Accelerated, the newest division of the University, is based in Phoenix, Arizona, and delivers intensive upskilling opportunities to learners in a variety of settings. For more information, please visit UJ.edu.

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