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Northland Community & Technical College nursing instructor wins Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty Award


Northland Community & Technical College nursing instructor wins Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty Award

Karen Znajda brings decades of real-world experience to the classroom, delivering well-rounded healthcare professionals to the region.

EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn, March. 7, 2024 — Northland Community and Technical College recently achieved national recognition for excellence in higher education. In February, Karen Znajda, a nursing instructor at Northland, was informed that she would receive the Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty Award from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) for her outstanding teaching contributions. The award will be presented at the upcoming AACC annual conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

The annual award is named after former AACC President and CEO Dale P. Parnell. It was established in 2018 as a way to recognize teaching professionals who make a significant impact on student success through the skills and innovations they bring to the classroom. Specifically, award winners demonstrate a passion for the students in the classroom and a willingness to support their students both inside and outside the classroom. 

For two decades, Znajda has gone beyond her job description to ensure her students succeed in academics and are well-prepared for the demanding healthcare field.

“Karen is most deserving of the Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty Award,” said Dr. Sandy Kiddoo, president of Northland Community & Technical College. “She has shown dedication to her students, the college, and her profession. The entire region has benefited from her excellent teaching skills, as her students have successfully filled highly in-demand nursing positions throughout the area. As a community college, it is our mission to support our local economies, and Karen has played a central role in helping Northland fulfill that mission for over two decades.”

Znajda has been teaching full-time for the Northland nursing program since 2004. She teaches classes both on campus and online, as well as in the skills lab for the Practical Nursing program and the Registered Nursing program. Her extensive experience in the nursing field allows her to make a significant impact in the classroom. 

“I am deeply honored and humbled by this national recognition,” said Znajda. “Teaching nursing students has been a rewarding experience, and I feel privileged to witness their growth and dedication as they pursue their educational goals in practical nursing, registered nursing, and beyond. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here at Northland, and I consider myself fortunate to be able to bring my passion for nursing into the classroom. My ultimate goal is to inspire and encourage my students to achieve their full potential in the nursing field. It is my pleasure to work with such wonderful students who have gone on to excel in their nursing careers. For me, teaching is not just a job, it is a passion, and the success of Northland nurses is my reward.”

Before her career in academia, Znajda worked in various healthcare settings, including long-term care, home health care, rural hospital settings, and a surgical nursing department for 15 years. She also has 14 years of experience as an EMT.