Press Release Joyce Educator Honored by AACN
Joyce university faculty standing in front of the Standard Bearer wall holding AACN award

Joyce Educator Honored by AACN

Mar 13, 2024

Joyce University Educator Honored by The American Association of Colleges of Nursing at 2024 Diversity Symposium

Salt Lake City, UTAH, March 13, 2024 – The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recognized Joyce University of Nursing and Health Sciences’ Assistant Director of Simulation and Lab Skills, Leesha Simons, during its Diversity Symposium held in New Orleans this year.

Simons received the Novice Faculty Excellence in Clinical Teaching Award for her work teaching simulations, skills lab, and clinical courses at Joyce University. Since joining the university faculty in March 2022, she has excelled within the organization, taking on a leadership role for maternal newborn simulation courses and helping the university develop new curriculum across multiple nursing programs.

“Since the start of her tenure with Joyce University, Leesha has been a driving force for elevating the student learning experience, notably excelling in the areas of pediatrics and obstetrics.” said Joyce University’s Provost, Dr. Lynn Bilder.

Since assuming her role as Assistant Director of Simulation and Lab Skills, Simons has impacted her students and peers through her dedication to patient care and to preparing future nurses to do the same.

Simons’ students have expressed their admiration for her teaching abilities, for serving as an advocate for her students and for teaching them how to provide excellent patient care both through clinical knowledge and through the embodiment of empathy and compassion.

“Professor Simons makes a learning environment fun while also teaching us skills in effective ways that have been extremely helpful to me in clinical practice,” a Joyce University student said in a letter to the AACN. “Professor Simons has been an incredible role model for me during my time in nursing school. She is a wonderful example of empathy towards her students and her clients.”

The AACN recognizes only two novice instructors each year, instructors from across the country who hold higher degrees in nursing and are in their first five years of teaching. The organization, committed to promoting excellence in nursing education, selects instructors who serve as role models to their students and demonstrate innovative approaches to teaching methods.

“Professor Simons is exactly the kind of nursing instructor we look for at Joyce University,” said Dr. John Smith-Coppes, President and CEO of Joyce University. “She is passionate, caring, and wants every one of her students to succeed. We are so pleased the AACN has recognized her hard work and efforts to ensure Joyce students are well prepared to tackle any situation they will face in their careers.”

Joyce University has graduated thousands of nurses and is known for its holistic approach to healthcare and exemplary teaching models. To learn more about Joyce University programs, visit


    Founded in 1979, Joyce University of Nursing and Health Sciences’ mission is to prepare students to serve as competent professionals, to advance their careers, and to pursue lifelong learning. Located in Draper, Utah, Joyce University is proud to have helped thousands of students across the US graduate and launch lasting healthcare careers. With a recent expansion of its nursing programs to select regional locations, including Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, and New Mexico, Joyce University’s expansion enables aspiring and working nurses in these regions to access the same high-quality education and opportunities that have defined the institution for decades. Join them as they continue to shape the future of healthcare, one student at a time.

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