Nahikian-Nelms to Receive 2007 PRIDE Award


Photo of Dr. Nahikian-Nelms.

Marcia Nahikian-Nelms, professor of nutrition and dietetics in the Department of Human Environmental Studies.


Nov. 26, 2007 – Dr. Marcia Nahikian-Nelms, professor of nutrition and dietetics in the Department of Human Environmental Studies and director of the didactic program in dietetics at Southeast Missouri State University, will receive the PRIDE Award during commencement exercises at 2 p.m. Dec. 15 in the Show Me Center. 

The PRIDE Award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence as a teacher, an extraordinary level of scholarship and service, and whose overall accomplishments are especially noteworthy. Nahikian-Nelms was selected for the award by the Council of Deans after nominations were solicited from each of the University’s colleges and schools. This is the 12th year Southeast has presented the PRIDE Award.

In addition to receiving the PRIDE Award, Nahikian-Nelms will serve as the grand marshal at commencement exercises Dec. 15 and will present the address at the Honors Convocation, scheduled for 10:30 a.m., also in the Show Me Center.

“I am so pleased and honored to receive the PRIDE award and proud to be a part of the Southeast faculty,” Nahikian-Nelms says. “In truth, this award goes to my colleagues and students who have been an integral part of my teaching career at Southeast. It is their constant support and challenge which have allowed me to grow as a teacher and researcher.” 

“I agree with the artist, Josef Albers, who said, ‘Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.’  I am grateful for the many opportunities that Southeast has given me to learn how to ask those questions,” Nahikian-Nelms says.

Nahikian-Nelms has taught at Southeast since 1991 and has established an exemplary record during her 16 years of service to the University.

“Her accomplished record of teaching, leadership, scholarship and service is outstanding,” said Dr. Loretta Prater, dean of the College of Health and Human Services. “Marcia is extremely dedicated to her profession. Her successful and tireless efforts have resulted in tremendously positive outcomes for students, faculty, the University and the community.”

Prater said the performance of Nahikian-Nelms in teaching undergraduate and graduate classes is outstanding by all measures, including student and peer evaluations.

“She has an in-depth knowledge of her subject matter and a manner of instructional delivery that excites students and invites their participation,” Prater said.

Nahikian-Nelms has been flexible in her teaching format, schedule and locations, Prater added. She has completed training in ITV and online class formats and because of her willingness to infuse technology into instruction, students in Kennett, Malden, Perryville and Sikeston have been able to enroll in her classes and receive instruction at various sites as well as students worldwide.  Programs within nutrition and dietetics have grown tremendously over the last 16 years.

Nahikian-Nelms has contributed significantly to curriculum development, including co-developing an interdisciplinary master’s degree program. This graduate program, co-authored with Dr. Joe Pujol, received approval from the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE). In preparing the document for CBHE, the process included completion of a needs assessment, development of all course syllabi, program admission requirements, a program assessment plan and recruitment materials. Nahikian-Nelms initiated the initial accreditation for the graduate dietetic internship and assumed the leadership role in completing the self-study resulting in the successful 10-year accreditation granted by the American Dietetics Association (ADA).

“This process required a significant amount of time, energy and expertise from Dr. Nahikian-Nelms,” Prater said. “The ADA accreditation process is known nationwide for its rigor.”

Nahikian-Nelms exemplifies the teacher-scholar model and encourages student research. She is the lead author of a textbook widely used in universities across the nation in undergraduate and graduate courses for nutrition therapy. Her textbook, Medical Nutrition Therapy: A Case Study Approach, is currently used in over 100 universities and colleges. Nahikian-Nelms is also the lead author on her most recent book, Nutrition Therapy Pathophysiology.

In addition to authoring textbooks, Nahikian-Nelms has amassed an outstanding record of achievement in scholarship. She has written book chapters, abstracts and has several publications in refereed journals in highly acclaimed publications in her field. These journals include the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, International Journal of Sports Nutrition, Journal of Nutrition Education, Nutrition and Cancer, and Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. She also has written and received competitive grants to continue her passion for research. Her research has been presented at numerous conferences, including those at the national level.

A strong commitment to service has been demonstrated by Nahikian-Nelms, as well. She has served on numerous committees at all levels, including providing leadership as chair for Faculty Professional Development, Graduate Studies, Tenure Advisory, and Faculty Search committees. Last year, she served as chairperson of the search committee for the S.H.O.W. Mobile. Her memberships on college and University committees have included the following: Teaching Enrichment, Tenure and Promotion, Academic Council, North Central Accreditation Task Force, and Grant Research Funding Committee College Representative.

Nahikian-Nelms also has provided service directly to students and other faculty. She is an advisor to the Student Dietetic Association and a mentor to new faculty. Nahikian-Nelms has offered nutrition services through the Web service “Ask a Dietitian.” She has supported campus-wide service projects including the “Canstruction” project and the Nutrition Olympics

While maintaining membership in professional organizations, Nahikian-Nelms has provided significant service. She served on the Commission for Accreditation for Dietetic Education and was the elected chair for the review panel for didactic program in dietetics. This is a tremendously responsible national position within the American Dietetic Association. Her work in the profession has recently been rewarded by being selected as the 2007 Outstanding Dietetic Educator for the state of Missouri and as the 2007 Outstanding Dietetic Educator in the region that includes the states of Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Minnesota.

“Marcia is an extremely hard worker and gives ‘her all’ to her students, the University and to the profession,” Prater says. “She has received awards to attest to her accomplishments.”

“She is very deserving of this recognition, and we are very proud of all of Marcia’s accomplishments,” Prater says.