Rosalie Coppola, assistant clinical professor for the physician assistant program within Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions, has been chosen by her students and peers as the winner of the 2011 Educator of the Year Award from the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants.
This award normally goes to “ a PA that is teaching in a PA program, who has for several years been a consistent example of excellence in teaching for the PA profession.”
“Usually, students and faculty nominated the PA Educator of the Year with supportive documents indicating how this PA is selfless in his/her work with students and faculty, etc,” Helen Hiserman, awards committee chair of PSPA, said.
The PA Educator of the Year is presented with a plaque or desktop award, and a verbal presentation is made highlighting the accomplishments of the award winner. The 2011 Educator of the Year award will be formally presented at the society’s membership luncheon, which will be held on Oct. 21 at the 36th Annual PSPA Conference in Erie, Pa., with about 400-500 PAs in attendance.
This was the second time Coppola was nominated. The first time she was nominated was in 2008.
“We revisited her nomination and were given additional supportive information for her accomplishments with students,” Hiserman said.
If a PA is nominated but does not win, the awards committee usually asks for a renomination the following year to see if the candidate is still a contender for the award.
“Ms. Coppola had one other contender this year that was from Drexel University. Some years we can have three or four nominations for each type of award,” Hiserman said.
“ Coppola said of her reaction to the award, “I was speechless, and that doesn’t happen very often. I feel blessed.”
“It’s just as important for us as educators to learn from our students as us teaching them. We’re training our students to be health care providers, and in a short period of time they’ll be out there taking care of people’s lives, and I might be one of those people, so I want to make sure they know what they’re doing,” Coppola said.
Coppola received a Bachelor of Science degree at Hahnemann University and a Master of Health Science degree at Drexel. She has been a member of the physician assistant program’s faculty since 1991.
“Drexel University has a really strong tradition in education and excellence and has huge diversity in the student body. I like that Drexel reaches out to the community. It’s an important aspect of a university that makes me proud to work here,” she said.
Coppola is currently serving as the course director for the Physical Diagnosis and Research Outcomes Assessment courses. She has previously directed Clinical Medicine, Research Design and co-directed Emergency Medicine and Principles of Medical Science. She is also a part of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Association of Physician Assistant Programs.
Coppola also served asclinical coordinator for the Pediatric Rotations and lectures in several courses from 1997 to 2005.
Coppola co-authored Problem-Based Learning cases in Principles of Medical Science. She has also published a monogram titled “Chronic Venous Insufficiency,” which was later adopted and published as a Recertification article in the Journal of Physician Assistants. She recently wrote a GI chapter for the Physician Assistant Review book and has authored several articles and presented at national conferences.
When asked about her future plans, Coppola said, “One day I would like to go back to school and take some political science or history classes that I didn’t take or pay attention to while I was in school because I was so focused on science courses, maybe even a cooking class.”
The Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants, established in 1976, is a nonprofit organization that strives to be representative of all physician assistants in Pennsylvania.
“To combine medicine and education, I don’t think there is anything else I would rather do,” Coppola said.