Nursing Faculty Member Receives First Year Experience Program’s Teaching Innovation Award

Professor Thomas Long gives a lecture in the Widmer Wing of the School of Nursing on Feb. 4, 2019.
Professor Thomas Long giving a lecture in the Widmer Wing of the School of Nursing on Feb. 4, 2019. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

Working as a professor at a top-ranked research university means juggling a lot of different responsibilities. But at the center of it all is teaching — helping students learn and grow during their years at UConn.

School of Nursing Professor-in-Residence Thomas Long understands that well. So much so, that the First Year Experience program presented him with its Teaching Innovation Award this past spring.

“While I’m honored to have received this award for teaching the first-year students in Nursing House, credit is also due to the students and my graduate assistant,” Long says. “The course peer mentors, doctoral student Joey Fetta who shared the work, and Nursing House floor mentors all created an environment of trust and experimentation.”

The FYE Teaching Innovation Award honors instructors who have implemented outstanding innovative teaching approaches shown to increase student learning and success, according to the FYE website.

Long joined the Nursing House learning community as its Faculty Director in Fall 2019. The residential learning community, based in Russell Hall, serves as a support network for undergraduate Nursing majors. It offers an increased level of contact with faculty, staff, peer mentors, and professional organizations, and provides members with academic support and a close social network.

FYE classes are designed to support and challenge students as they transition to UConn, and Long’s classes are guided by two principles: “Presence is more important than programming” and “Students need character development more than resume development.”

To learn more about the awards, and the other 2019 recipients, visit To learn more about the Nursing House learning community, contact Long at

Long holds a Ph.D. in English from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and two master’s degrees — one in English from the University of Illinois, the other in Theology from the Catholic University of America. He serves on the affiliate faculty of UConn’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program, as well as being Professor-in-Residence for the School of Nursing.